Moving towards Industry 4.0 with Rutronik and EnOcean
The intelligent networking of machines, processes, and products in industry using information and communication technologies, or Industry 4.0 for short, is one of the fastest-growing economic markets of the future. The opportunities and benefits are clear, thanks to increased efficiency, reduced costs, and resource-saving planning. Nevertheless, the implementation of Industry 4.0 is not easy and there are a number of challenges that also need to be mastered with regard to radio communication. Together with EnOcean, Rutronik offers a wide range of wireless and self-powered sensors for use in industrial environments.
One of the fundamental requirements for Industry 4.0 is the intelligent linking and networking of all components. The use of modern wireless solutions reduces the need for complex cabling, which in turn opens up new fields of application in which a conventional wired solution would not be feasible, such as drones, mobile tools, and robots. In addition to these kinds of new applications, more conventional examples of Industry 4.0 include process automation, remote control, remote diagnostics and maintenance, manufacturing, and logistics. Each of these application areas poses different technical challenges for wireless communication, including with regard to the transmission environment and range. Data often needs to be collected in areas that are difficult to access or even dangerous. Wireless communication facilitates flexible communication in these environments. Requirements in terms of latency, real-time capability, reliability, security, and fault tolerance are high for all applications related to Industry 4.0.
Energy harvesting makes wires and batteries redundant
Thanks to the EnOcean GmbH product portfolio, Rutronik can present reliable and flexible solutions, even for industrial applications in which energy efficiency plays a major role. EnOcean’s energy harvesting modules generate enough electrical energy from motion, light, and differences in temperature to transmit data over distances of up to several hundred meters. Repeaters are also available to increase the range. Batteries or a wired power supply are redundant, which is why the EnOcean solution is also maintenance-free and extremely flexible. The modules are available with the EnOcean protocol, which operates in the license-free sub-GHz range (868 MHz in Europe, 902 MHz in the U.S., and 928 MHz in Japan), as well as with the 2.4 GHz Bluetooth protocol and ZigBee. The EnOcean protocol is frequently used when the 2.4 GHz band is already at capacity in the application area or when a greater range is required.
Know-how in the industrial environment
Rutronik has been working successfully with EnOcean GmbH and the EnOcean Alliance as a distributor since the end of 2018. Thanks to regular product training courses and seminars, our product experts and engineers have extensive knowledge and a high level of expertise with regard to EnOcean technology and EnOcean module solutions. Sample quantities of EnOcean modules can be obtained from our logistics centers in Asia, Europe, and North America. Around 44 percent of Rutronik’s customers are active in the industrial environment, which is why Rutronik is very familiar with the challenges and issues in this field. In addition to the benefits of EnOcean, Rutronik is able to incorporate the latest innovations from sensor and display manufacturers into its product concepts with the assistance of application engineers.