The network influence of Industry 4G
One of the biggest implications of Industry 4.0 is that the demands placed on industrial networks will increase significantly.
We are facing a potentially exponential increase in the amount of data manufacturing systems will handle as vision systems, batch control, regulatory compliance, quality management and more will mean that the amount of data those networks have to handle is going to rocket.
As a result, we require sufficient bandwidth to allow for this increased use. At present, CC-Link IE is the only industrial automation networking technology that can provide a gigabit (1 Gbit/s) of bandwidth, which makes it exceptionally well placed to deal with the demands of Industry 4.0.
To find an example of how data intensive these solutions can be one only has to look at the needs of the leading Korean flat panel display manufacturers. Their tolerance for so-called ‘dead pixels’ is almost zero. To put this into perspective, a modern HD screen has 1080 vertical pixels horizontally and 1920 vertically. That’s 2,073,600 pixels on each unit. The manufacturing processes have to check each of these pixels, hundreds of times a day to ensure quality and control yield. It’s easy to see how quickly solutions like this will generate vast volumes of data.
As another example, the global automotive industry produces countless different combinations of each vehicle model at an incredible rate. It’s typical for an assembly plant to produce a complete in-vehicle at a rate of more than one per minute.
Producing these countless different versions at such a pace demands a huge amount of flexibility and a great deal of bandwidth to cope with both the production instructions and the quality control. Most models today have literally thousands of different model configurations depending on customer option choice. To complicate things further, it’s not uncommon for one assembly plant to produce a variety of models. Again, it’s easy to see how this puts huge demands on the networks that deliver this information to the assembly line systems that ensure the correct parts are fitted on the correct vehicle.