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Active Monitoring of PROFINET Networks and Its Potential

At the start of the project, it was necessary to simplify the monitoring and maintenance of optical PoF PROFINET cables in the welding shop. Today we monitor the quality of about 6,000 optical cables through a single user-friendly system. The development and implementation of our own software tools and ThingWorx visualisations enabled us to produce a solution which not only provides information about the quality of signal in individual optical PoF PROFINET cables, but also about PROFINET stations, their firmware versions, data flows, damaged packets, current topology, etc. The solution also enables the monitoring of FESTO CPX valve terminal error reports. Besides that, we continue to think of additional functionalities.

  • Above all, the solution allowed quick location of the damaged PoF cable and its prompt repair.

Condition Monitoring of the Biggest Press Lines in the Czech Republic

The idea behind this project was to develop a brand-new condition monitoring system to monitor the Schuler PXL press lines, and thus help the maintenance department monitor key devices and values. Today the FIOT condition monitoring system monitors the two PXL press lines and their parameters, compressed air consumption, energy consumption, the flow rates and temperatures of cooling water, the temperatures of the main motors, pressing force values, vacuum, PROFINET networks, etc. The system, which is based on OPC communications and the ThingWorx IoT platform, can unlock many more opportunities – mobile phone visualisations, an alert subsystem, augmented reality and links to relevant documentation. Simply put, a user-friendly solution.

  • And the benefits? They’re obvious. Both PXL lines are continuously monitored by FIOT. It helps the maintenance department monitor the biggest and most modern press lines in Europe, on-site as well as remotely.

Replacement of Manual Data Collection With Wireless Technology

Třinecké železárny (Třinec Ironworks) needed to optimise and automate regular temperature measurements in many places on the shop floor. In the end, the customer and we agreed to use Monnit wireless sensors, which use a frequency of 868 MHz. The sensors were connected to an IoT gateway, and data started to be transmitted to the customer's own software platform.

  • The return on investment, thanks to the time saved by having switched from manual to automated temperature measurement, was calculated to be less than a year and a half.

Wireless Monitoring of 24 V Supply Voltage Quality

In ŠKODA AUTO, a.s. Mladá Boleslav, we implemented a solution for wireless 24 V voltage quality monitoring in control cabinets. For the project, our company developed its own solution for the continuous monitoring of supply voltage, called AB-Tester. AB-Tester measures voltage in individual wires. At set intervals, it takes the maximum, minimum and medium voltage value, and wirelessly transmits the data to an IoT gateway, using a frequency of 868 MHz. The data is then processed and visualised by the ThingWorx platform.

  • Already during the trial run, users got some important information that enabled them to take measures to improve 24 V supply voltage quality. Many shop floor departments also benefited from the solution as it helped them identify the causes of downtime. Finally, the solution enabled temperature monitoring in the control cabinets.

Active and Passive Monitoring of the PROFINET Network

In the case of a ŠKODA assembly line, we faced a great difficulty in developing a solution for continuous active and passive PROFINET network monitoring. The challenge lay in meeting the need for regular scanning of stations in the PROFINET network and providing the maintenance department with real-time information about potential alerts and PROFINET stations' failures. The solution we provided was based on our own software tools. The visualisation and business logic were created using the ThingWorx platform.

  • Even the slightest improvement in the responsiveness of the maintenance department is clearly beneficial. In the assembly process, virtually every minute counts – every single minute means a new vehicle.

Wireless Data Collection as the First Step Towards Condition Monitoring

The management of Česká zbrojovka (Czech Arms Factory) identified the need for condition monitoring, which led to project initiation. What followed was an effort to assess the real applicability of this data and set priorities for a comprehensive solution. That was the reason why we suggested the use of Monnit wireless sensors, an IoT gateway, and standard visualisation of real-time data as well as historical developments. The result met the customer's expectations. It enabled the optimum selection and installation of sensors and helped plan further project stages. Furthermore, it proved cost efficient in the monitoring of compressed air quality. It turned out that there was potential to be realized. We’re currently developing a robust FIOT solution that will be based on the ThingWorx platform and OPC communications.

  • We recommend a similar working procedure to other companies. Its main advantages include modularity, which enables the solution to be adapted, extended and moved, and self-sufficiency during the installation of components. Finally, the maintenance department was given the opportunity to learn how to work with technological data.

Data From Frequency Inverters as Motor Condition Indicator

A very important and common component in the ŠKODA AUTO, a.s. welding shop is SEW frequency inverters. The idea behind our solution was the fact that the worsening condition of the mechanical parts of the technology, which were driven by the SEW motor, would result in a sudden increase of immediate output current from the inverter. We decided to monitor the inverter's output current values and their developments (e.g. gradual increases and sudden changes) over a long period. This enabled us to infer unwelcome changes to the condition of the technology's components. To collect the necessary data, we developed our own OPC server for SEW frequency inverters. To further process and visualise data, we use the ThingWorx platform.

  • This continuous monitoring of motor load enabled us soon enough after its deployment to predict a potential mechanical fault in the technology behind the motor.

Continuous PROFIBUS DP Network Diagnostics

For the ŠKODA AUTO, a.s. Kvasiny paint shop, we developed a solution for the continuous monitoring of PROFIBUS DP network quality. To collect data about PROFIBUS stations and telegrams, we use COMbricks hardware modules from PROCENTEC. We used the ThingWorx platform to develop a visualisation that shows alive and disconnected stations, repeated and failed queries, diagnostic reports, and failed communication logs on the basis of pre-set triggers.

  • The adopted COMbricks solution is a modular system that can be modified, extended and moved at any time during its lifetime, which means there’s a great potential to be realized in the future.

Implementation of Innovative Data Visualisation in Maintenance

Bosch is a company which is very involved in the implementation of Industry 4.0 principles. This enabled Bosch employees to closely cooperate with our specialists and develop a brand-new hands-on solution. How does it work? You have a tablet or mobile phone. It displays a real object or 3D model with controls (icons) that provide a whole range of information about the object (almost 250 measured values), without the need to leave the site. In addition, the object can be manipulated. You can also peek inside without having to use sophisticated equipment and hours of dismantling work. Apart from technological data monitoring, you’re also provided with the monitoring of thresholds, batch visualisation and access to relevant documentation.

  • The biggest success in the project is positive reactions of first potential users to the solution, and their ideas for using it for everyday maintenance processes. We believe this stage will come soon.

Monitoring of Electric Power Consumption and Quality

The idea for the project came from ŠKODA's green factory scheme and the need for greater cost-efficiency. The aim of the project was to create a system that would enable the measuring, visualisation and comparison of electric power consumption values for given time periods in specific parts of the technology (machines, centres, and departments). During the first implementation stage, we installed almost 100 three-phase network analysers in 3 switch rooms. Data from the analysers (electric power consumption, electricity network quality – current, voltage, input, power factor, harmonic voltage distortion) is transferred to the KEPServerEX OPC server via the Modbus protocol, and then communicated to the unified FIOT smart maintenance platform.

  • We provided a user-friendly solution for the monitoring of electric power consumption in specific departments for given time periods. In addition, historical data collection can be deployed to enable better consumption prediction, and comparison of actual data with planned consumption.

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Full Case Studies

OTHER ARTICLES - 03/25/2019

On 21st March 2019, Prague saw the Award Ceremony for the IT Project of 2018, a contest run by the organisation CACIO (Czech IT Directors Association). First prize went to our FIOT Smart Maintenance project in ŠKODA AUTO a.s. We would like to express our warmest thanks to CACIO and above all to ŠKODA AUTO for being such an excellent partner. Read on to learn more about the project.

CASE STUDIES - 02/18/2019

FOXON has developed a wireless data collection solution for ŠKODA AUTO Mladá Boleslav. It's already been implemented in three of its plants. We're going to show you what problems in the plants our solution helped to solve and how. You're going see that it's suitable for small applications as well.

CASE STUDIES - 01/18/2018

Třinec Ironworks plc is the largest steel producer in the Czech Republic. Its main offerings include long rolled steel products. The ironworks exports over 60% of its production.

Our quality management system is certified to ISO 9001:2018 

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