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During the 5GSensPRO research project , representatives from the worlds of science and industry have been working on a modular, expandable sensor cloud system at Fraunhofer IPT to give aging machinery a digital boost. The retrofit solution combines intelligent, connected sensors, 5G wireless technology, analysis and controlling software, and cloud systems to transform traditional machinery into partially-automated production facilities.

The solution also provides tracking of individual components, along with automatic allocation of process and logistic data, and visualizes all the sensor values on a smart device. Cloud-based data processing and analysis lays the foundation for data transfers to other systems. Retrofit solutions are a particularly good option for SMEs, for which it is often the only financially viable option for tackling digitization. The costs of retrofitting existing installations are far lower than those of purchasing new machinery suitable for Industry 4.0.