Smart sensors offer advanced functions that make setup, maintenance, and troubleshooting machinery and equipment much more efficient writes Kevin Zomchek of Rockwell Automation for Machine Design
Sensors are essential in capturing basic diagnostics from industrial machines and equipment. As the people maintaining the machines are nearing retirement, a new, younger workforce is emerging that is comfortable with technology and the data that comes with it. As a result, manufacturers need to find ways to transfer that domain knowledge from the retiring generation into today’s smart machines to aid the upcoming generation of maintenance engineers. It will be key to manufacturer success to capture contextual data to provide more predictive diagnostics and leverage data across the manufacturing enterprise. A new wave of smart sensing technology is fulfilling this need–bringing deep insight into the health of industrial machines.
Sensors enabled with IO-Link technology can communicate more data, allowing machines to operate more effectively. In fact, standard sensors are limited to indicating the presence and/or absence of an object, while smart sensors can provide up to 32 bytes of cyclical data including diagnostics not only for the sensor but about the application environment. Some examples are sensor status, dirty lens indication (in the case of photoelectric sensors), and sensor internal temperature (for proximity sensors). Plus, these smart sensors offer other advanced functions that make setup, maintenance, and troubleshooting much more efficient, including the storage of multiple machine profiles to simplify parameter adjustments during line/shift changes as well as automatic device replacement, which feeds previous sensor configurations directly to new sensors as they are replaced.
| Continue to the full article & diagrams here | January 17, 2017 |