As we migrate from pilot to giga manufacturing machine equipment suppliers are making crucial changes to their controls designs. These new gigaplants need to be efficient, connected, smart, agile and fast. The equipment suppliers for these plants need to consider all the above and more as they design their machine footprints in electrode manufacturing all the way through to formation, aging and testing.
Where does IO-Link fit on the road to Industry 4.0 and smart battery manufacturing?
IO-Link is a major enabling force for Industry 4.0 & smart battery manufacturing. Motivations for flexible manufacturing, efficient production and visibility require that we have more diagnostics and data available for analysis and monitoring. Lot-size-one flexible manufacturing requires that sensors and field devices be able to adapt to a rapidly changing set of requirements. With the parameterization feature of IO-Link slave devices, we can now send new parameters for production to the sensor on a part by part basis if required. For example, you could change a color sensor’s settings from red to green to orange to grey and back to red if necessary, allowing for significantly more flexible production. With efficient production, IO-Link slaves provide detailed diagnostics and condition monitoring information, allowing for trending of data, prediction of failure modes, and, thus, eliminating most downtime as we can act on the prediction data in a controlled & planned way. Trending of information like the current output of a power supply can give us new insights into changes in the machine over time or provide visibility into why a failure occurred. For example, if a power supply reported a two amp jump in output three weeks ago, we can now ask, “what changed in our equipment 3 weeks ago that caused that?” This level of visibility can help management make better decisions about equipment health and production requirements.
Has IO-Link been widely adopted in battery production ?
In the last 2 year IO-Link has become widely accepted and adopted by most giga plants.. Major automation players like Balluff,, and more than 100 other companies are engaged, promoting and, most importantly, building an installed base of functional IO-Link applications all the way from mixing to finishing. We have seen installations in almost every battery plant on the back of well versed equipment suppliers integrating all the technological and commercial benefits onboard their machines.
What is the latest trend in IO-Link technology?
One of the biggest trends we are seeing with IO-Link technology is the reduction of analog on the machine. With analog signals there are many “gotchas” that can ruin a good sensor application: electrical noise on the line, poor grounding design, more wiring, expensive analog input cards, and extra integration work. Analog signals cause a lot of extra math that we don’t need or want to do, for example: a linear position measurement sensor is 205mm long with a 4-20mA output tied into a 16bit input card. How many bits are there per mm? A controls engineer needs to do a lot of mental gymnastics to integrate this into their machine. With IO-Link and a standard sensor cable, the wiring and grounding issues are typically eliminated and since IO-Link sensors report their measurements in the engineering units of the device, the mathematic gymnastics are also eliminated
Short summary of benefits in Battery Manufacturing:
- MACHINE MODULARITY & SCALABILITY
- STANDARDIZED AND REDUCED WIRING
- INCREASED DATA AVAILABILITY
- REMOTE CONFIGURATION AND MONITORING
- SIMPLE DEVICE REPLACEMENT
- EXTENDED DIAGNOSTICS
- REDUCED CAPEX
- REDCUED OPEX
- IIOT READINESS
- MACHINE MODULARITY & SCALABILITY