s-net® - Pioneering Radio Network Technology for Industry 4.0 Applications
The s-net® radio communication protocol is an ideal platform for durable systems for distributed data acquisition, tracking of people and objects and the decentralized data processing. Characterized by distributed data acquisition, decentralized application software and mesh communication, s-net® has become one of the best technologies to develop Wireless Sensor Networks and to enhance Asset Tracking, Internet of Things (IoT) and Cyber Physical Systems (CPS) with an extremely power-efficient, self-organizing multi-hop radio communication. By adaptive frequency hopping due to a fully decentralized channel selection scheme s-net® can deal with disruptions without any expensive measurement campaigns and frequency assignment in advance. Furthermore the sensors remain in their energy-efficient synchronous operation even when they are not within reach of an infrastructure network. This is the key to a robust sensor network covering wide geographic areas. Therefore s-net® is also a flexible technology platform for the Industry 4.0.
The „Internet of Things“ (IoT) already influences all the industries in the world. Wireless sensor networks as an enabling technology for IoT therefore becomes used in virtually all areas. Real time data from wireless sensor networks allows a more flexible and decentralized decision making. Furthermore the data can be used to adapt processes quickly to their environment and increase the effectivity and efficiency of corporate action. This makes the technology the vital element of the industries of the future. For example the application of the s-net® technology in the production industry combines wireless communication, tracking and sensing with application and process logic on a single platform. This allows for connected processes and the precise location of individual objects or components at factory sites.
Supporting assembly with s-net® based CPS
In order to accompany a product with all relevant data through a production process, a smart workpiece carrier with s-net® based communication and positioning functionality is being developed. The cyber-physical system (CPS) that will result makes the entire production cycle easy to see and monitor. To guarantee this, selective positioning of assembly objects in production will be developed to control processes (action point determination), as will process step-dependent interaction of the assembly object with the assembly environment in question and control of assembly by the assembly object. All information about the product is contained on the product itself (e.g. bill of materials). The assembly objects have a comprehensive memory with information, the relevant pieces of which can be made available to the worker and assembly environment if relevant to the process step in question, e.g. information about the components needed for the current step and the current status.
The combination of power-saving localization and networking technology gives the workpiece contextual awareness about the location, process step, and environment, allowing it to interact selectively with the assembly environment or worker in question.
Control of assembly by the assembly object and the linking of the real and the digital world thus improve both efficiency and quality assurance. Cyber-physical systems make the value creation across the entire value creation chain easy to see and monitor.
With s-net® the digitization of processes is possible in the Industry 4.0. s-net® leads to process optimization and generates added value for products and services. Outages, interrupted process are reduced, saving money and enhancing efficiency. The opportunities s-net® offers can help companies to develop their own ideas about how to design new and more efficient processes in a digitized world.