Bosch Rexroth helps bring IIoT to Tectra Automation clients
Representatives from the Bosch Rexroth Automation and Electrification business unit were recently in South Africa to provide Industry 4.0 and IIoT training to Tectra Automation and its system integrators. Held in late January, the week-long course targeted sales and technical engineers from these companies and provided both a sales orientated introduction and in-depth technical training on Rexroth products. The latter included those products designed specifically to connect production equipment to processing applications via an Internet of Things (IoT) gateway, which allows the processing application to determine productivity and predictive maintenance.
The sales training, in addition to covering the Rexroth products for these types of applications, included case studies from applications in some of the Bosch and Rexroth factories.
“These case studies enabled our sales personnel to identify possible applications for these products in the South African market,” points out Kevin Lombard, General Manager at Tectra Automation. “Of interest is the way Rexroth envisages applying Industry 4.0 in automation in the factory of the future, and the manner in which production lines will automatically reconfigure to suit incoming orders of different products.” He adds that, because of this, in the future factories will be modular and able to change layout automatically without the need for expensive alterations to machines.
Technical training included the manner in which the Rexroth PR21 IoT Gateway processes data – from input sensors using pre-processors to translate information for use by the final software application like SQL Database or the Bosch Production Performance Manager (PPM). Practical training included setting up various sensors and connecting them to the IoT Gateway, installing the gateway software, setting parameters and visualising the results of the data on a web-based interface.
Training on the use of the Bosch PPM software and SQL database formed part of the course, as well as the software functionality. This functionality provides real-time visualisation of the machines and incorporates functions like email alerts to maintenance personnel should an alarm be triggered, for example. Any event that triggers the alarm allows the user to set up actions, such as email or SMS alerts, that notify the appropriate personnel to take immediate action.
“The Rexroth offering has been extensively tested in their factories and, consequently, the inhouse experience gained has been used to develop a product offering that can be implemented at all levels of production,” Kevin points out. “This includes from simple condition monitoring to sophisticated analysis of productivity in fully automated production lines.”
He says that this approach has enabled Rexroth to develop a range of sensors that measure critical information on existing equipment without the need to change to newer products that have integrated sensors. “In addition, Rexroth is developing new products across the whole spectrum of their product range that will, in future, enable the integration of Industry 4.0 production performance systems without the need for external sensors.”
The training, according to Lombard, in addition to giving Tectra Automation the ability to implement the Rexroth IoT Gateway hardware and software locally, has also enabled Tectra Automation design engineers to include this offering when designing customised solutions for automation applications in Africa. “We are now in a position to provide clients with the full Bosch Nexeed Production Performance Monitoring system, a powerful secure cloud-based system developed by parent company, Bosch Connected Industry.”
“We are pleased that three of our system integrators – Kulula Technologies, MTP Engineering and BBK were able to join us,” Kevin concludes. “We are also pleased that sales and technical engineers from Hytec South Africa were able to join us for the sales training. It allows them to better attend to the various customer requests they receive pertaining to measuring the conditions of hydraulic equipment in industrial and mobile applications.”
Tectra Automation is now capable of providing training and support to companies that wish to implement their own Industry 4.0 projects using the Rexroth IoT hardware products. In these cases customers can use the hardware and software from Rexroth to provide data to other processing and analysis application software.