INCOMING: smart Interface for COnnected MachinING operation
Even in highly automated factories, gathering data from the many machines in order to be able to analyze and optimize the production process is not straightforward. Also, automating individual processes is one thing, but making systems interact and play together like a well-tuned orchestra is another challenge. Processes and equipment are diverse, so integration must be highly individualized. Conventional programming approaches are often too time consuming. Legacy equipment may not even have digital networking capabilities.
The INCOMING system is a new solution to integrate industrial manufacturing equipment of all kinds and generations for data acquisition and high-level control. It is designed to be easily set-up, scaled and modified, thanks to its open architecture. INCOMING allows machine operators and production managers to monitor and control status and parameter data from machines and bridges islands of automation to make production more efficient. The platform does not require high investments up-front and can grow with the needs of the customer.
A device for integrating machines into the INCOMING system (DACB: Data Acquisition and Control Box) has been developed that is installed in or close to the machine, communicating with it and with retrofit sensors via industry-standard discrete signals or OPC UA.
Following open Internet of Things communication protocols, the DACBs exchange data with the INCOMING central server that hosts the operational data dashboards for the machines and provides a connection with other manufacturing IT systems
For validation, the system was deployed to three turning machines with three different generations of machine control technologies in Zannini’s Castelfidardo plant. Collecting status data and interlinking the machines with a smart material handling system, it has enabled a significant increase of their overall equipment efficiency (OEE).
The cost-efficient DACB design prototype is based on the STM32MP1 hardware platform and OpenSTLinux operating system, for which STMicroelectronics provided technical support. The DACB’s application logic is built on the IEC 61499 compliant Eclipse 4diac platform for distributed industrial automation and control software, which fortiss ported to the STMicroelectronics runtime target and extended to meet the scenario’s requirements. Blumorpho provided business innovation related coaching.
Following the successful first deployment, the rollout of the INCOMING system will be continued at Zannini’s domestic and international sites wherever it can improve the efficiency of manufacturing processes and help gather valuable data faster. In addition, it forms the basis for a potential future product to be offered to external customers and supported through Zannini’s spin-off Z4tec, enabling them to monitor and optimize their own manufacturing processes.