Machines and Production Plants

Machines and Production Plants are Becoming Digital.

Machines and Production Plants

Machines and Production Plants are Becoming Digital.

Machines and Production Plants

Machines and Production Plants are Becoming Digital.

Machines and Production Plants

Machines and Production Plants are Becoming Digital.

It is true that terms like Industry 4.0 or the Industrial Internet of Things (IoT) are sometimes used in an almost inflationary manner, but they nevertheless summarise what we are dealing with at the moment. We ensure that machines and production can be monitored, analysed with the aid of a digital twin and big data analytics, and then optimised. We call this process “smartification”. For this purpose, we develop maintenance solutions such as predictive maintenance and can apply our experience when production plants need to become more flexible or be completely re-planned. In doing so, we also focus on the important requirements of IT security.

Mechanical and plant engineering is in a state of digital upheaval. The manufacturers and operators of machines and production plans need reliable data on the status of their machine and equipment parks. One of the key factors is ensuring maximum availability of the production facilities. However, it is also important to optimise their performance and to make production more flexible and more efficient. A precondition for this is digitisation, with monitoring and evaluation of plant data.

We plan and organise state-of-the-art monitoring systems for mechanical and plant engineering. We help to merge the data from the plants or retrofit older plants with an IoT device for machine data acquisition.

Depending on the customer’s requirements, the IoT device can be adapted or reconfigured to certain machine types. The entire raw data can be transferred or the data can be pre-processed. We also ensure data connectivity to a local server or data transfer to the cloud (cloud readiness).

For that reason, we have set up the Bertrandt Industry Cloud (BIC), our own modular solution with concepts for data fusing, data analysis, machine learning and algorithm development. The BIC provides a basic modular system that only needs to be adapted to the customer’s respective machine or plant.

Example of an IoT device: “Energy Harvesting”

In a customer project, drive machines were retrofitted with an IoT device for machine data collection (MDC). We adopted the design and construction of the housing as well as the hardware and the development of the embedded software. The device is designed in such a way that Energy Harvesting can be carried out as a self-sufficient system for 16 years.

The data are filtered in the box, pre-processed and then read out and evaluated. In this case, the recorded vibration data are analysed for pattern recognition on the basis of faults that have already occurred, in order to recognise and eliminate faults at an early stage in the future.

The objectives of MDC and smartification

The creation of transparent processes, e.g. for the evaluation of downtime and the analysis of production processes

Advanced data analytics:

  • to increase productivity, optimisation of warehouse logistics and intelligent replenishment control
  • for troubleshooting
  • for maintenance planning (preventive and predictive maintenance)

Enabling high-resolution management of production plants

Notification by email / text message if problems occur

Collection of machine data as input for a continuous improvement process (CIP)

Our services for machine data collection and predictive maintenance

  • In cooperation with our customers, we create a list of requirements
  • Short-term, medium-term, long-term objectives of smartification
  • The machines used and their interfaces, taking into account the short-term, medium-term and long-term planning of a plant
  • Availability of networks (LAN, WLAN, LTE, BT, etc.) and the production plants
  • Legal conditions / obligations towards end customers

Based on the requirements

  • suitable sensors for data collection are selected
  • sensors are added to existing machines
  • suitable data pre-processing or compression are selected for fast (machine) data   
  • the use of data loggers might also be a sensible alternative
  • machine interfaces are connected
  • central system interfaces, e.g. ERP systems, are connected
  • gateways to the central data storage are defined
  • an architecture for smartification is developed and a central data storage is defined.

A digital twin is a digital 1:1 replica of a machine or a complete production plant. The aim is to ensure the virtual availability of the machine for use in several areas:

  • The development model of the plant with the development, construction and production data. These form the basis for all evaluations and further developments.
  • The real data of the plant, which are collected by the customer and transferred to the digital twin.
  • The evaluation system. Real data from the operation of the plant can be compared with the theoretical plant data and evaluated, and target/performance comparisons can be made.

We have already gained extensive experience in collecting machine and plant data and operating evaluation systems and have set up the Bertrandt Industry Cloud (BIC).

The evaluation system determines and visualises performance data for the plant, detects faults at an early stage and visualises changes to the plant. What is more, the entire life cycle of the real plant with all software states can be recorded on the digital twin.

The digital twin can also be used to carry out simulations in order to recognise weaknesses in the machine parameters and to determine performance improvements. The more data are available from the plant itself, the more reliable predictions about the future behaviour of the machine will become.

Machine data collection also forms the basis for predictive maintenance in order to avoid faults and unplanned machine downtime. Bertrandt takes on responsibility for engineering, develops algorithms and uses methods such as machine learning to provide predictive maintenance solutions.

Having been collected, the machine data are systematically analysed to recognise deviations from normal behaviour or to detect particular anomalies. This ensures that failure probabilities can be determined and the causes of faults can be detected at an early stage.

Visualisation of the machine data on a dashboard with important key data and trend analyses is a further component of our services. This also includes the activation of acoustic, visual or data alarm options if preset threshold values are exceeded. We adapt the visualisation of the data to the individual customer, for example for a control centre for any stationary or mobile end devices.

Bertrandt supports the manufacturers and operators of components, machines and plants by developing innovative service concepts:

  • Collection and monitoring of machine data allow faults to be detected and remedied by remote maintenance.
  • If the use of a service technician is required, the machine data already provide information on the causes of the fault and the need for spare parts.
  • The technician on site can use smartglasses (e.g. Microsoft HoloLens) to be “shown” how to install even complex replacement parts on the machine, or additional information on individual components can be displayed. The specialist in the control centre sees the same image and can provide remote support for the service technician.

Project example: “b.guided” training and maintenance app

Bertrandt has developed its own training and maintenance app. Aircraft maintenance employees must prove that they have been trained to work on a particular aircraft model before they can carry out maintenance. The Bertrandt app now enables them to use smartglasses to train realistically and at any location on the virtual image of the model without having to wait for the real aircraft to become available (e-learning).

Bertrandt is an experienced partner when production plants need to be expanded, made more flexible or completely re-planned. We analyse the existing plant and create simulations for plant alternatives, for example to become more flexible for variants or faster retrofitting. The simulation of a digital factory shows where adaptations are required for plants, processes or intralogistics.

Bertrandt has highly experienced experts at several sites and develops, for example, 3D models of a factory that can be virtually examined using holographic smartglasses and then adapted.

Bertrandt has many years of experience with development-supporting and end-of-line test stands. Above all, ever tighter schedules for development projects increase the need for early development-supporting testing of samples and prototypes. We create individual testing concepts for components and machines, develop the software and hardware and implement these in ready-to-use test stands.

If required, we can also offer a build-operate-transfer (BOT) model. We take over an existing test stand or a new one that has been developed by us and operate it on behalf of the customer. We also take care of the entire logistics relating to the tests.

Keywords for our testing station services

  • Real-time systems and real-time HiLs
  • Condition-based, mechatronic and interconnected testing systems
  • Complete vehicle test benches, integrated test stands and testing centres
  • Testing systems for cooling fans, alternators, electric mobility and other vehicle components
  • Test set-ups in the field of navigation and infotainment
  • Robot-based testing systems
  • Camera-based/optical testing systems.

Project examples: test stands

  • Modular inverter/converter functional test benches (e.g. coolant temperature control, varying temperature conditions, HV battery simulation, engine emulation, measuring systems, test automation)
  • 48V belt starter-generator test bench (e.g. highly dynamic load machine, coolant temperature control, varying temperature conditions, battery simulation, measuring systems, test automation)
  • Component HiLs (such as active wireless charging, airbag, chassis, powertrain)
  • Interconnected test stands (keywords: bus topologies (CAN, LIN, FlexRay, BR-Ethernet), driver assistance systems, ADAS, infotainment, navigation).

The interconnection of production plants, machine data collection and data transfer to the cloud require a higher security level in order to protect the data. Bertrandt has gained extensive experience in providing security for its own Group, with global sites and the use of a cloud infrastructure.

We have integrated this experience into our solutions for collecting, storing and evaluating data. As a neutral solution provider, we can make use of this wealth of experience and the expertise of our cloud partners in order to implement the best possible concept for our customers.

This also includes concepts for machine safety and the protection of persons, for example for entering protected areas for service purposes with the approval of the solutions by the employers' liability insurance association.