HANNOVER MESSE 2019, 01 - 05 April
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Digital Factory

Virtual plugboard simplifies machine communication

Making system data available is an important step, but this has been taken a stage further in Stuttgart: automated responses and actions for defined sensor values.

22 Apr. 2018

The MIALinx web application from the Fraunhofer IPA connects machines – it’s as easy as that. And it can do much more: according to the Fraunhofer expert responsible for it, Prof. Dominik Lucke , the system can be “operated and configured intuitively – without any need for long familiarization periods or program knowledge” thanks to a graphical interface. But what lies behind it is not so simple; it’s extremely complex and includes, for example, the Manufacturing Service Bus (MSB) which has been developed at the Fraunhofer IPA. You can think of this as a “virtual plugboard” which links a wide variety of data sources and transforms them as necessary. The MIALinx is on show at this year’s Hanover Trade Fair in Hall 17 Stand C24 .

In Industry 4.0 production systems, an armada of sensors delivers countless data about the status of machines: power consumption, temperature, fill levels, quantities, running times. Using these quantities of data to optimize production, even with flexible production facilities that can be adapted quickly, is one of the objectives of Industry 4.0. This includes not only simple networking of machines and production equipment, but also fast and efficient evaluation of events with corresponding consequences for control and actions. The web-based MIALinx application from the Fraunhofer Institute for Production Engineering and Automation (IPA) is intended to achieve just that. It is able to respond to events and execute if-then rules to trigger SMS messages, for example, or complete actions such as setting up a maintenance order in an ERP system. This is known as “rule-based communication” in the Sense&Act project at the Fraunhofer IPA.

It should also be possible to integrate older machines that have been retrofitted with sensors easily into the system. The web-based application can be installed on a company’s own server. However, MIALinx runs even better, according to the experts, if it is integrated into the Virtual Fort Knox (VFK) open cloud platform. Cooperating companies can work together on this platform, but store their data separately and securely. In Hanover, the cloud safe can be found in Hall 2 at the main Fraunhofer stand (C22).