Automation is constantly developing. Complex processes within industrial environments can now be undertaken solely by machines specifically designed for a variety of tasks, replacing human workers in conditions which would otherwise prove dangerous or tedious.
One such technological advancement within industrial machinery has recently been developed by researchers within Saarland University in Germany. This new intelligent sensor system has the capability to alert workers of potential faults in machinery, and also remind them when particular components require replacing.
Components such as control cables and actuators within machinery can naturally wear over time due to constant motion, but this system gives the engineers plenty of time to resolve issues and replace parts before they eventually stop working completely.
The warning system can be implemented within industrial handling, assembly and packaging processes. The system works by constantly gathering data from the plant machinery and comparing it to a normal operating condition.
If there is an inconsistency with the data, the machine is then able to alert the human workers within the factory so they can deal with the issue efficiently. This helps engineers to fix problems promptly and reduces the amount of time they have to spend performing maintenance checks on the machinery, as it effectively monitors itself.
The system comprises of a variety of sensors which interact with each other to collect data from different areas of the machinery. Essentially, it is the equivalent of equipping a human with a blood pressure monitor and activity tracker in order to observe their health.
Although this detection system is still within its development phase, it is a promising advancement for automation machinery within industrial environments. Not only will the system save time, it can also reduce the amount of downtime a factory will have to deal with, as parts can be replaced before they completely fail.