Driving your Industry 4ward – SICK and Industry 4.0 at the Hannover Messe 2017

Industry 4.0 begins with sensors. They detect reality and convert it into a digital representation. So sensors are a fundamental component for the Internet of Things. Sensors for Industry 4.0 profit from progress in electronics that enables the integration of ever-increasing computing capacities, and thus intelligence, directly in the sensor itself. This trend is known as ‘edge computing’: the processing of information takes place directly at the site of activity. The more intelligent and robust the sensor, the more reliable the input into the process chain of Industry 4.0.

Under the motto “Driving your Industry 4ward”, SICK will be using its own smart factory at the Hannover Messe 2017 to demonstrate the extent to which Industry 4.0 is already possible using intelligent sensors. Cameras that are directly programmable via AppSpace automatically expand their range of functions via self-learning apps whose calculated results are also prepared for other sensors within a global network. Production programs are adapted on the basis of incoming orders and compared with warehouse stocks. Sensors document all relevant events whilst ensuring transparency and safety at all levels.

Very few companies, however, will completely overhaul their automation architecture and production plants immediately. Step-by-step progress will be made towards achieving the increased efficiencies promised by the industrial internet. This is why SICK considers backward compatibility so important. Even if the sensor is currently operated within a classic automation environment, for example via IO-Link, it is capable of providing additional information at a later date. This transmission path also functions backwards: customers can parameterize sensors, or even program completely new functions, from the cloud. SICK makes these individually programmed functions available via the SICK AppSpace, for example.

The basis of every optimized solution is a specific approach tailored for each individual industrial sector, taking into account the special aspects of the sector-specific technical challenges as well as their often very different automation environments. Just 4.0 live!

Christoph Müller is responsible for Product Management and Marketing for the Global Business Center Industrial Integration Space, and thus all SICK's activities involving vertical integration and data-based solutions for Industry 4.0.