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Category "Industry 4.0"

21Aug

Why IoT Platforms

by Team Digireach

An IoT Platform enables direct provisioning, management, and automation of connected devices within the Internet of Things Universe. It’s basically a multi-layer technology that connects the hardware, irrespective of it type, to the cloud using flexible connectivity options, security mechanisms and data processing powers.

We’ve seen what an IoT Platform is (for more detailed information, click here), so now let us see why an organization should use an IoT Platform, and what factors to keep in mind before selecting a platform.

Because IoT is a system of systems i.e. it’s a network of devices and software applications, it has a lot of sub-domains of expertise, which is rarely accommodated by a single organization in itself. Since IoT depends on the correct synthesis of engineering fields as distinct as mechanical, electrical, software, etc, IoT Platforms are a great way to overcome technical difficulties arising from managing various teams of specialized engineers.

However, a single IoT platform cannot cater to all the various needs of the industry. Thus, there are a near infinite number of platforms for the various different breeds of applications, to cater to the needs of all industries and organizations.

Unlike other platforms (mobile platforms, desktop platforms, etc.), IoT Platforms have a lot more variety and customizability available to the businesses which employ them. This, in addition to the various benefits which IoT offers, is why IoT Platforms are in such demand in recent times.

There are some factors which need to be considered while deciding on the most compatible IoT platform-

  1. Scalability and Flexibility- whether the platform will scale with the changes in scale of the system. Also, it has to flexible for the various technological changes which will undoubtedly occur every few years, i.e. the network should be integrable with different networks.
  2. Stability- the platform provider should be trustworthy and be capable of providing the platform for a long term. If the provider folds, the business may crash.
  3. Model Pricing and Business type- whether the platform is suitable for the type of business it needs to be used for, and also whether the pricing is suitable for the services offered.
  4. Time to Market- i.e. the time it will take before the platform is up and running for use in public domain, and how the provider would help in getting there.
  5. Security- lastly, one of the most important factors, security. Security is absolutely critical to every IoT system. Each aspect of the platform should have security built into it. Device-to-cloud security, application authentication, data encryption, etc are some of the things to be on the lookout for.

IoT solutions are getting more and more complex and dynamic, involving larger ecosystems of devices. With all the new types of remote interactions between humans and devices, IoT platforms are spearheading a new model for the digital transformation.

21Jul

Automatic Power Factor Controller

by Team Digireach

Efficient generation of power at present is crucial, as in the present technological revolution, power is very precious and its wastage is a global concern. We need to find out the causes of power loss and remediate them to improve the power system. This is where the power factor comes into play. Power factor measures a system’s power efficiency and is an important aspect in improving the quality of supply. It is defined as the ratio between the KW (actual load power) and the KVA (apparent load power) drawn by an electrical load. It is simply a measure of how efficiently the load current is being converted into useful work output.

The actual amount of the power being used, or dissipated, in a circuit is called active power (P), and it is measured in watts. Active power is the product of the sinusoidal voltage and current wave form. Reactive power is the power consumed in the ac circuit because of the inductive and capacitive field. The unit used for measuring reactive power is KVAR. Apparent power is the combination of the active power and reactive power.

Hence, the lower the power factor is, the lower is the economic efficiency of the system. A low power factor can be the result of fluctuating current waveforms i.e. unstable input, or a significant phase difference between voltage and current at load terminals. Usually the presence of inductive loads reduces power factor by causing the current to lag behind the voltage and this can be corrected by power factor correction methods.

Power factor correction (PFC) is the process of compensating a lagging current by a leading current, through connecting capacitance to the supply. The capacitor draws current which leads the voltage, thereby offsetting the lag caused by the inductive elements. This Automatic Power Factor Controller (APFC) is designed such that they utilize the scope of the Internet of Things (IoT) to the fullest, to closely monitor the working of the system and make necessary changes to the capacitive components to ensure the power factor is made as close to unity as practically possible without causing unintended side-effects.

APFC devices find application in industries, power distribution system and commercial power lines to increase stability and efficiency of the system. They help in reducing charges on utility bills by pulling in high current drawn from the system. Lesser power consumed means lower greenhouse gas emissions and lesser fossil fuel consumption by the power stations, thereby benefitting the environment.

11Jul

Sensors and Data Streams in IoT

by Team Digireach

Internet of Things (IoT) brings a whole new world of data, real-time streaming requirements, operational difficulties, security, and a large stream of massive data that needs to be made available for use at scale. IoT devices find application in various settings- factories, industries, power plants, vehicles, etc. to name a few. These devices output massive amounts of data from the sensors they use. This data is streamed non-stop and is used for making future predictions, assess the current conditions, optimize the working, etc.

The data from the onboard sensors is based on things like humidity, temperature, air conditions, luminance, etc. The data from these sensors is used by billions of other devices, people, organizations and places. While the management of such a network has its own problems, the opportunities are abundant too.

First, let’s talk about the sensors. Sensors first appeared decades ago, as a means to detect changes in quantity and give the output as an electrical or optical signal. They have been used for many purposes and in various fields over the years, from utilities and energy, to manufacturing and industries. Now with the rise of IoT, the uses of sensors – and the data streaming from them – has diversified manifold and continues to do so. From the largest of aircrafts to the smallest of pacemakers, the data from the sensors flows from the devices to the network and back and this has made the IoT a major contributor to Big Data.

Today, organizations are investing heavily in capturing and store the data from the sensors, but it is extraction and analysis of that data which is the daunting task. To take full advantage of data streams in the IoT, organizations must understand the exploding number of ways “big” IoT data needs to be filtered, mashed up, compared, contrasted, interpolated and extrapolated. The 4 ‘V’s which need to be considered by the organization are-

  1. Volume- whether the massive amount of data being received can be accessed, stored, processed and analyzed.
  2. Variety- whether the various types of data and their formats can be managed on the fly.
  3. Velocity- whether the data can be captured and analyzed as fast as the rate at which it is being generated.
  4. Veracity- whether the data has been filtered, validated or cleansed and made trustworthy enough for use as basis of data-driven decisions.

If these conditions are suitably met by the organization, they can easily distinguish themselves from their competitors and be at the forefront of the IoT Industrial Revolution aka Industry 4.0.

13Jun

Automatic Under-Frequency Load Shedding

by Team Digireach

The maintenance of maximum service reliability has always been the primary concern of the electric utility industry. To ensure this, power systems are always designed and operated such that working is not affected in any system conditions and load requirements are always met. Usually the designing is such that it can hold up service continuity even under emergency situations, but sometimes, unpredictable conditions of faults, forced outages, etc. may occur. When this happens, it is important to ensure that steps are taken to ensure that a major system outage doesn’t occur.

Any part of a power system will begin to deteriorate if there is an excess of load over available generation. If there is an excess of load over generation ratio, the frequency decreases. It is generally recognised that a sudden drop in generating capacity results in a drop in frequency. This drop is not immediate, but rather, happens gradually.

One way to attain the balance between generation and load, before the decaying frequency affects performance, is to increase generation. However this isn’t always possible practically due to system limitations or due to time constraints. So, a more common method is to employ Automatic Under-Frequency Load Shedding (AUFLS). What this does is that it employs a quick and effective means of attaining a balance of generation and load. The application of AUFLS relays throughout the load area, preset to drop increments of load at specific values of low frequency, provides a simple and direct method of minimizing service interruption and alleviating system overloads.

The Load Shedding function provides under-frequency protection at the main distribution substation. As system frequency decreases, load is disconnected in discrete steps according to frequency thresholds. Protective relays are used for automatic gradually under-frequency load shedding. Under and over-frequency relays are specified by frequency settings and delays. And all this can be incorporated by using IoT Gateway which requires minimum system integration and is fully compatible with most of the applications.

7Jun

IoT in Utilities

by Team Digireach

 

IoT is considered as the next industrial revolution, Industry 4.0. The concept of IoT is to develop advanced solutions and services, enhance productivity & efficiency, solve critical problems, and improve real-time decisions. IoT is changing industry business models, and the utility industry is investing in IoT technology to transform its operations and enhance customer experience. IoT connected utilities can monitor and regulate operations in real-time to maximize efficiency and perform preventive maintenance. Moreover, IoT accelerates digital transformation in utilities.

Implementation of IoT can drastically change the direction the utility industry is headed towards. Many utility companies are on the verge if adopting IoT. Simply the investment in smart grid, smart meters, and home automation can allow utility companies to comprehensively recapture the energy industry and drive top-line growth.

When the utility industry adopts IoT, it connects with the consumer, with the grid, with the world, on a whole new scale. There’s a huge influx of data that can be harnessed to improve services. Companies can utilize smart meters and grids to optimize how the power is distributed. These systems enable greater forecasting capabilities, thereby driving down costs of generation through more efficient scheduling and reliability in the grid, as well as enabling customers to foresee spending patterns and better plan their energy usage over time.

A few applications and benefits of IoT in utilities:

  1. Smart meters are IoT-connected sensors on consumer utility lines. These report data back directly to the company, enabling real-time monitoring and analyzing of data. This can also alert company of maintenance issues and help resolve issues quicker.
  2. Condition-based maintenance routines can be improved by utilities using sensors which measure performance. Data is collected via communication networks to pinpoint problems and predict possible issues using analytics.
  3. Smart buildingscan control light and temperature in real time for maximum comfort and efficiency using interconnected sensors and building control systems.
  4. Precise water irrigation systemswith IoT sensors, including trickle and subsurface methods, greatly reduce water consumption and have the ability to integrate with utility demand response systems.
3Jun

IoT in Textile Industry

by Team Digireach

The textile industry has come a long way from the old handcrafting days, but it still has a huge potential for progress. As an industry which used to be highly labor intensive but has now achieved a high degree of automation, textile has been and will continue to be at the forefront of the adoption of new technologies.

Foremost among these new technologies is Internet of Things (IoT). Being an industry which relies heavily on fine details such as equipment monitoring, stock management for dyes and raw material, supply chain visibility, workforce management and coordination, and analysis, textile is the most suited industry for digital transformation.

Scope of IoT innovations in Textile Industry-

  1. Factory Operations Monitoring- Factory environment parameters such as humidity, temperature, etc., can seriously affect the quality of fabric and thereby the entire manufacturing process. Using sensors connected to the cloud, we can keep track of these conditions and regulate them, as necessary, using air conditioners, de humidifiers, etc.
  2. Equipment Maintenance- Machine properties and outputs can be synced to cloud data and monitored in real time. Necessary periodic and/or preventive maintenance can also be set to trigger when certain conditions are met.
  3. Energy/ Efficiency – The energy consumed in each of the machines can be monitored. Data can be collected and algorithm can be fad into the system to determine the efficiency of each of the unit. This would enable to do proper planning and lead to better efficiency.

While there is a huge scope for progress, there are also challenges which have to be overcome to make IoT in textile industry a reality-

  • Connection overhead and huge bandwidth consumption of multiple weaving machines connected over Ethernet
  • Administration and management of voluminous structured and unstructured data
  • Compatibility of ERP and Operations, Administration & Management System with IoT Service Management Platform
  • With huge amounts of data transferred online every second, the biggest challenge to IoT platforms is security and data protection.

If these challenges can be dealt with successfully textile industry can be optimized to its full potential with the incorporation of IoT.

30May

Deployment of IoT

by Team Digireach

The Internet of Things (IoT), also sometimes referred to as the Internet of Everything (IoE), consists of all the web-enabled devices that collect, send and act on data they acquire from their surrounding environments using embedded sensors, processors and communication hardware. These devices, often called “connected” or “smart” devices, can sometimes talk to other related devices, a process called machine-to-machine (M2M) communication. This technology allows for a level of real-time information that we’ve never had before. We can monitor our homes and offices remotely to keep them safe and efficient. Businesses can improve processes to increase productivity and reduce material waste and unforeseen downtime. Sensors in city infrastructure can help reduce road congestion and warn us when infrastructure is in danger of crumbling.

However while this may sound simple enough, its proper deployment is anything but that. An IoT deployment is a process. Unless a business undertakes and completes each part of the process, the deployment will be rich with problems as well as data. Around the world, businesses of many sizes are hitting roadblocks because their IoT deployment is delayed, stalled, refused to work as designed, failed to pass regulatory requirements or didn’t deliver the expected results–sometimes all the above.

  1. Planning- The first step to a good IoT deployment is its planning. This is more about the vision that the management team has in mind about the project than the actual technological aspect of IoT. The management team needs to have a clear grasp of what they and the project have to deliver or the project will be doomed to a premature and unfinished end.
  2. Designing- After setting business goals, designing a compliant network that will deliver them is the second stage. A thorough network design and specification needs to cover the schematic of the network, the choice of components, their locations and identify any issues that might crop up at any point.
  3. Certification- Cellular based IoT deployments also require certain certifications and clearances for the network as well as the devices on it.  Ensuring devices are approved is vital to get the regulatory and carrier sign-offs that mean your deployment can go live.
  4. Testing- No deployment can go live without a thorough period of testing. Testing should not just be about the technology. It is important also to check against the original business goals.

When this process is complete you get to the fifth and final stage where an IoT deployment begins a digital transformation, improves operational efficiency, cuts costs, drives revenues and unlocks profitability.

8May

Why IIoT?

by Team Digireach

IoT (Internet of Things) is the future. The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) is a subset of the Internet of Things (IoT). It is basically collecting data/ information from the field through sensors relying it to the cloud using an IoT gateway. The data is then stored in the cloud storages and analysed and used as per the requirement of the user.

A lot of industry sectors come under the gambit of IIoT. Energy, electricity, manufacturing, logistics etc. are in the nascent stage of deploying IIoT to garner the benefits. Financial benefits of fine-tuning the services by deploying IIoT can run into billions of dollars.

The advantages of IIoT:

  • Better Connectivity: The production personnel will always be aware of the flow of manufacturing at their plant. Individual efficiency of an equipment or a personnel can be tracked.
  • Better deployment: The bottlenecks and efficiency in a plant equipment can be readily read from the data collected. Efficient deployment of the resources can lead to increase to better productivity and less wastage of time.
  • Zero idle time: A constant track of resources and their usage. In a large factory it happens a lot of time that the resources remain idle which effectively is down-time for the production process.
  • Accuracy/ Quality: Automated tracking of the production process and removing manual intervention can lead to better quality of end-products.
  • Safety and repair: Limited manual intervention leads to better safety standards. Preventive detection of failure patterns can lead to timely intervention and service of the equipment. This leads to reduced downtime.
  • Logistics: The Industrial IoT (IIoT) can provide access to real-time supply chain information by deploying sensors at the different vital points in the value chain. A lot of the manufacturing plants have an ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) at their manufacturing plant. Effective reporting enables manufacturers to collect and feed delivery information into ERP. By connecting plants to suppliers, all the parties concerned with the supply chain can trace inter-dependencies, material flow and manufacturing cycle times. This data will help potentially reduces capital requirements, manufacturers predict issues, reduces inventory and
  • Cost savings: All the points mentioned above ultimately lead to reduction in the cost of manufacturing.

Another industry term which is interchangeably used with IIoT is Industry 4.0. Industry 4.0 is the current stage of the industrial revolution. It represents the use of Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), in manufacturing. Industry 4.0 focuses on the use of the cloud, gateways and communication networks to monitor factory processes and make data-based decisions.

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