The topic of Industry 4.0 is creating high expectations. Companies are looking to use digitalization to increase throughput and reduce costs while ensuring quality and reliability. Smart sensors are what provide the foundation. In contrast to conventional technology, smart sensors can do more than just reliably monitor and send measurement values. More importantly, they also provide relevant data that can be used to set process optimization and efficiency gains in motion.
Author: Peter Dietrich, Head of central functions marketing and Product Marketing for Solutions and Digitalization and Analytical Measurement Technology
In order to be categorized as 4.0, a sensor must exhibit several characteristics:
- It needs the connectivity and communications capability to exchange information with other sensors and the network via a second channel, in addition to providing the measurement values. Wireless technologies are becoming increasingly important in this scenario.
- It offers smart maintenance and operations functions, such as self-diagnostics for verification and monitoring. The results generated by these functions have to be documented for the purposes of tracing and compliance.
- Digital documentation is important as well. Among other things, instrument documentation is now stored virtually, providing a fast and reliable way to locate it at any time.
Sensor 4.0 examples: the new Cerabar and Deltabar pressure transmitters
Industry 4.0-ready instruments from Endress+Hauser, such as the new Cerabar and Deltabar line of pressure sensors, possess all of the mentioned features.
With these new pressure transmitters, Endress+Hauser is making it possible to fully exploit the potential of Industry 4.0. The foundation is secure transmission of the data provided by these new lines of instruments, because this is the only way to keep plants operating reliably. The Bluetooth® connection between the transmitters and the Endress+Hauser SmartBlue app utilizes a special encryption protocol as a form of IT security, for instance.
Manipulation during the connection between the app and the instrument can be eliminated. Together with the new uniform Endress+Hauser operations concept, Bluetooth® connectivity offers major advantages, especially when it comes to difficult-to-access measurement points.
Digital assistants for more reliable instrument commissioning
Digital assistants give the new pressure transmitters an intuitive interface, making it easy for users to commission instruments on-site with a tablet or smartphone. Digital assistants were developed for the commissioning of SIL measurement points specifically to satisfy the strict safety requirements of industries such as chemical, petrochemical and oil & gas. This ensures that no step is overlooked and that all relevant parameters are set up, thus preventing incorrect configurations that can at worst lead to accidents or production outages.
Integrated instrument diagnostics support users
A crucial aspect of process optimization is not only reliable measurement of the process values, but also coupling the information together and forwarding it to higher levels of the system. As soon as the opportunity for diagnostics arises, plant operators want the ideal instrument condition, which means the device completely monitors itself without the operator having to give it any thought.
Endress+Hauser’s Heartbeat technology, which is integrated into the new pressure transmitters, ensures that this ideal condition moves closer to reality. Permanent diagnostics, including clear text notifications in line with NE 107, is only the first step. A revised display, which changes color from green to red in case of a malfunction, provides a clear and visible indication of a fault directly in the system.
Around-the-clock instrument verification at the push of a button
The app-based Heartbeat verification operations sequence leads the user step by step through the instrument verification, which is available around the clock. The verification results can be viewed in a corresponding protocol log and then documented. Instrument removal is not required, and the process does not have to be interrupted. A next step involves integrated Heartbeat monitoring functions that utilize additional information from the sensor to detect undervoltage, for example.
Signal noise an information source – statistical sensor diagnostics in the cloud
Another new integrated functionality is statistical sensor diagnostics, which analyze sensor noise to detect various process anomalies. This could include whether the valves are closed after instrument verification, thus indicating no instrument pressure, or the existence of clogged impulse lines. The analysis of sensor noise in particular harbors considerable potential.
The new generation of instruments offers the opportunity to make the signal noise available in digital form and send it to a network cloud where the information can be processed with other process data and the right algorithms. This creates an opportunity to detect pipe leakage, cavitation in the process or entrained air in the medium. The noise analysis can even supply information regarding rotating process instruments such as pumps or mixers.
A wide range of measurement instruments from Endress+Hauser already satisfy the sensor 4.0 criteria. The examples of the new generation of the Cerabar and Deltabar pressure transmitter lines clearly illustrate how the instruments create significant added value for users through enhanced connectivity, internal diagnostics, verification and monitoring functions and direct communication with the cloud.
The standard models come integrated with the diagnostics notifications and direct link to the documentation (data matrix code on the type plate). The optional Bluetooth® and Heartbeat technology functions cover the connectivity criteria and generation of warning notifications. And to implement the big data concept for data mining, Endress+Hauser is utilizing the cloud-based Netilion IIoT platform. The result is that the smart sensor 4.0 allows plant operators to leverage the security and productivity potential of their systems.