Smart factory

Digitized, automated and efficient.

Shaping Industry 4.0 by empowering the smart factory

The IIoT becomes reality: the transformation to smart factories for environmental sustainability and operational competitiveness is on its way - powered by semiconductor solutions that are the key to smart, safe and sustainable manufacturing processes. It is expected that the smart factory market will grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 9.6 percent to reach around 244.8 billion U.S. dollars by 2024.*

Industry has seen a tectonic shift in both consumer and B2B customer demands and increasing manufacturing and production complexity. By using the power of big data and digital technologies companies can overcome these challenges to achieve greater productivity and growth, to meet their sustainability commitments, and to ultimately become more competitive. Therefore, it is essential to collect, understand and use these massive amount of data created in the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). For this new world of manufacturing processes in the context of Industry 4.0 it is a prerequisite to have a scalable industrial IoT stack that’s going to be able to handle that data – secured and efficient.

The goal is to create autonomous production in which people, machines, systems and products communicate with each other independently. This is intended to make manufacturing processes more flexible, scalable and efficient. The result are intelligent value chains and product life cycles that begin with development, continue through manufacturing, assembly, product delivery and maintenance, and finally end with recycling.

*Statista 2021: Industry 4.0: smart factory market size worldwide 2019/2024

Impressions of a smart factory in 60 seconds

The advantages are obvious but what makes a factory smart?

The benefits of a smart factory are obvious: maximizing performance, ensuring high quality, reducing the risk of human error, providing data for analysis and optimization purposes, minimizing downtime and disruptions through predictive maintenance.

For a factory to become smart, the following requirements must be met:

  1. Smart usage of data
    While production is running at full speed, huge amounts of data are collected. It is essential to collect, to analyse, to understand, and zu deploy this massive amount of data effectively and securely to leverage the full porential of the IIoT.
  2. Ubiquitous, reliable connections
    The reliable and secured connectivity of people, machines and "things" in physical and virtual domains via wired and wireless technologies is the heartbeat of every smart factory, allowing high-speed communication for complex automation.
  3. Autonomous production
    To create autonomous production, people, machines, systems and products need to communicate with each other independently and to react accordingly. Along artificial intelligence and machine learning, smartness helps to reduce human intervention e.g. once manufacturing conditions deviate.
  4. Transparent and flexible supply chains
    Real-time and end-to-end visibility, shared with all participants of the supply chain – customers and suppliers – enable smart and resilient supply chains. Issues can be anticipated at an early stage and therefore prevented before they occur.
  5. Sustainability
    Rising energy demand while optimizing energy efficiency and reducing CO2 emissions, can be achieved by reliable data, collected by sensors. Interpreted correctly they can lead to energy savings by uncovering inefficient production flow, optimizing production and logistics planning, and anticipating maintenance needs.
Sense - compute - actuate - connect - secure: This is how we make IIoT work

SENSE: Data transparency for Industry 4.0

The smart factory is based on data: data from the environment, but also operating data from machines and the production process. Infineon’s range of industrial sensors starts with a broad portfolio of XENSIV™ magnetic sensors. Infineon’s portfolio comprises XENSIV™ current sensors, high precision coreless sensors dedicated to any kind of industrial application, such as industrial inverters and drives or battery management.

The emergence of smart factories is also creating new opportunities for the deployment of 3D image sensors in industrial robots, in monitoring and vision systems and in automated guided vehicles. Infineon’s REAL3™ time-of-flight image sensors let electronic devices acquire a real 3D map of the scene in front of the machinery and equipment. Advanced software and hardware know-how give ToF systems the ability to work reliably in tough environments characterized by strong ambient light, harsh conditions and challenging objects.

COMPUTE: Signal processing and control

The XMC™ microcontroller family is based on ARM® Cortex®-M cores. It is dedicated to applications in the power conversion, factory and building automation segments, among others. The XMC4000 family is ideal for digital power conversion, motor control, sense & control and IO applications. The XMC4300 and XMC4800 devices are the first-ever highly integrated Arm® Cortex®-M based microcontrollers with integrated EtherCAT®, bringing real time ethernet communication to an unrivalled level for easy implementation and cost effectiveness. A typical target application of Infineon’s XMC1000 microcontrollers is for example the I/O modules used in automation, where CAN bus provides connectivity to PLCs sensors and actuators. XMC1000 microcontrollers improve system monitoring for predictive maintenance and safety implementation in Watchdogs and Companions. The DAVE™ development platform provides an extensive code repository for XMC™ industrial microcontrollers.

The 32-bit-Microcontroller TriCore™ family delivers the versatility required for the industrial sector, excelling in optimized motor control applications and signal processing. AURIX™ TriCore™ unites the elements of a RISC processor core, a microcontroller and a DSP in a single MCU.

We expect the intelligent machines and solutions in smart factories to work anytime, anywhere. At the same time, they should offer maximum safety and flexibility. Rely on our broad portfolio of secure and reliable solutions for embedded systems and check out our safe, secure, and reliable NOR Flash products.

To meet the challenges of next-generation factory automation systems, high-performance non-volatile memories must ensure that no data is at risk, must work reliably in harsh operating environments, and must support long-term and guaranteed back-up - all while operating at high speeds with minimal power consumption. Check out how Infineon's EXCELON™ F-RAM is the ideal data-logging memory for smart factories.

ACTUATE: Empowering industrial automation

Motor control solutions from Infineon drive industrial automation applications. Infineon provides a wide range of solutions for industrial automation power management as well as motor control and drives.

Benefit from our wide portfolio of smart switches for highly integrated and discrete I/O module solutions. We provide a comprehensive portfolio of isolated I/O devices (ISOFACE™), high-side (PROFET™) and low-side switches (HITFET™) matching requirements for lowest system heating up and a maximum of channel density.

Rely on our intelligent power modules (IPMs) and discretes for your designs in the low-power range of motors or drives. Our EasyPIM™, EasyPACK™ and EconoPIM™ modules are the perfect match for medium-power drives. EconoDUAL™ and PrimePACK™ are the solutions of choice in the high-power spectrum. CoolSiC™ MOSFETs are an attractive solution for high-speed drives and inverter integration, since they reduce switching and conduction losses, especially under partial load conditions. For battery-powered applications like automotive brushless DC motors, customers count on our wide range of silicon MOSFETs, including our OptiMOS™ family.

We also offer gate driver ICs for all silicon and silicon carbide (SiC) devices, complementing our power semiconductors. Our broad EiceDRIVER™ portfolio ranges from basic to enhanced functionality.

CONNECT: From IOs to high-speed-communication

In complex automation, each peripheral system component needs to communicate to a main control unit and to other peripherals via a reliable communication bus. CAN has emerged as the most adequate, reliable and cost-efficient communications standard in this kind of industrial application. Infineon’s industrial CAN transceivers provide proven quality, a reliable track record and high robustness with regards to EMI. ISO compliance is guaranteed.

Infineon’s industrial CAN transceiver portfolio complies with ISO11898 and addresses requirements such as a CAN FD data rate up to 8 Mbit/s, receive-only mode and bus wake up. The range includes solutions optimized for high-speed communication, providing the highest reliability, as well as transceivers that address microcontrollers with 3.3 V logic IOs. Advanced tiny packages are in the making.

Wireless technologies like Wi-Fi®, Bluetooth® technology for content streaming and Bluetooth Low Energy technology for ultra-low-power connectivity form the backbone of the IoT and are also shaping Industry 4.0. Infineon seamlessly integrates all these technologies to provide state-of-the-art, interoperable solutions for all kind of industrial applications.

SECURE: Scalable, easy-to-integrate security solutions

Infineon’s high-quality industrial security solutions let manufacturers monitor whether or not communication is restricted to authorized people and machines only. They also reliably reveal when a production system has been manipulated, helping avoid unnecessary downtime. They also make secured software updates to devices in the field possible.

The OPTIGA™ security solution family is designed for easy integration into embedded systems to protect the confidentiality, integrity and authenticity of information and devices. These hardware-based security solutions range from basic authentication chips to sophisticated implementations. The OPTIGA™ Trust family includes turnkey products for smaller platforms as well as programmable solutions, while OPTIGA™ TPM (Trusted Platform Module) products are ideal for embedded PC, mobile and computing applications. OPTIGA™ Connect IoT devices enables secured and dependable cellular connectivity, even in harsh environments.

Every day, manufacturing companies rely on systems that depend on NOR Flash technology to prevent accidents and secure sensitive data. The advanced, secured, and easy-to-use SEMPER™ Secure NOR Flash portfolio delivers security, safety, and reliability to smart factories at a low total cost-of-ownership. It is built on the proven SEMPER™ NOR Flash family, combines advanced security with industry-leading functional safety and reliability, and is engineered to last a lifetime.

Technologies for efficient, sustainable, flexible & secured smart factories

Industrial automation - Getting started with IIoT

The future of industrial automation is brimming with new opportunities to develop superior processes and deliver better products to customers.

Signal processing and control

In the last two years, we've seen everything from a rush on hygiene products and food due to lockdown announcements to a significant shortage of semiconductor chips. The chip shortage has led to a bottleneck in production - from automakers to consumer electronics developers, everyone is feeling the pinch. Rising demand, supply chain issues and raw material shortages have led more and more manufacturers to consider ways to optimize their manufacturing processes.

This hype in the field of industrial automation is being fueled by other trends mostly triggered by digitalization and increasing networking:

The orientation to the trends poses major challenges for many industrial companies.

  1. Manufacturing and process control
    Shortening the time for a manufacturing step to reduce lead time and achieve faster throughput.
  1. Robustness, safety and reliability
    Extended life cycle of equipment for reduced energy and raw material consumption.
  1. Real-time connectivity
    Interoperability of all devices and controls for seamless data flow and continuous data transparency.
  1. Advanced sensor technologies
    Optimization of production flow for early detection of defects

Infineon provides its customers with the right technologies and innovations to address current and future security, functionality, connectivity and performance demands for industrial automation in smart factories. When developing solutions, Infineon takes your challenges head-on. We offer high-quality industrial grade semiconductors along with a range of proven reference designs. All this makes your automation design as simple, efficient, and reliable as possible.

Discover more examples that show how industrial automation can be realized

Programmable logic controller (PLCs): Industry-leading semiconductor solutions for industrial control

The "brain" of a smart factory – a reliable, system stable, interoperable and secured programmable logic controller (PLC) - controls a wide range of functions. It receives and processes data from sensors and machines and then uses this data to control and operate external devices. PLCs are often goals of attackers because even slight modifications can affect the process in significant ways. Therefore, PLCs should use an OPTIGA™ TPM to authenticate all data, commands, and programs received or sent.

Explore more of Infineon’s high-quality semiconconductor solutions for PLCs

Security solutions for industrial automation

Industrial security is critical in the smart factory. Connected, automated factories contain virtual doors that, of not properly protected, can potentially be unlocked by attackers. That is why it is important to implement high-quality, reliable security technologies for IIoT applications.

Discover our portolfio of robust industrial security solutions

Enabling more while using less: Smart semiconductors for energy-efficient industrial automation

Energy saving is a mission for the world. To improve the world’s climate balance and our future quality of life, we have to find solutions that handle energy more intelligently and efficiently. Industrial automation helps companies use all resources for manufacturing and other value-generating processes as efficiently as possible – from base materials to energy. Smart semiconductor solutions are the essential gatekeepers for these developments and innovations. At many automation touchpoints they ensure efficient and secure data flow, control the speed of industrial motors and facilitate unexpected gains in overall flexibility.

Explore how to achieve energy efficiency in industrial automation

Welcome to the era of robotics

Robotics and Industry 4.0 - Improve productivity

Disruptive technologies have significantly changed our lifestyle in the past few decades. Robots are joining the ranks of innovative and disruptive technologies by revolutionizing traditional habits and processes. Today’s robots can identify and navigate through surroundings, work alongside and even interact with humans. Moreover, they teach themselves the skills required to complete a new task.

According to ABI Research, shipments are expected to grow at a CAGR of 4.5% in 2030 compared to 2020 - for cobots, the expectations are as high as 43%! All this would not be possible without semiconductor solutions. Whether in an industrial robot, a collaborative robot (cobot), a mobile robot for warehouses, last-mile delivery (AGV & AMR) or a domestic robot, intelligent semiconductors are the key enablers for all major robotic functions.

   

Infineon provides a huge range of components and system solutions for industrial robots, cobots, service robots and more - everything from one single source:

Power electronic components, such as IGBTs and CoolSIC™ MOSFETs, including fitting EiceDRIVER™ gate driver solutions across various power ranges, support a wide range of robotic payloads. CoolMOS™ and CoolSIC™ MOSFETs as well as auxiliary power supply solutions such as CoolSET™ enable efficient power management. PSoC microcontrollers are applicable for system control and are also equipped with peripherals to enable connectivity via CAN, USB, or Wi-Fi based on the AIROC™ Wi-Fi & Combos offering. They are also well suited to interface with XENSIV™ sensors to sense the robot’s surroundings. Our range of external memory solutions for code storage and data logging enables the highest reliability, performance, and safety standards. Finally, the OPTIGA™ Trust hardware security solutions provide highly flexible, high-performance, secured access to the cloud.

Explore more robotics system solutions for the smart factory

A little more background knowledge first? Discover technology changing the world: The fundamentals of robotics

Would you like to learn even more about the topic of robots in general? About where do robotics and robots have their roots? What were the milestones in the past and what will the future bring? What are the most important components and how do these machines work? What are cobots and nanobots? How intelligent are robots really? Can they develop feelings and learn social behavior?

We will explain the most important facets of a technology that will fundamentally change the future of humankind in our discovery about the fundamentals of robotics.

Collaborative robots - in safe collaboration with humans

Image source: Franka Emika

Franka Emika’s “Panda” is a seven-axis robotic gripper arm is distinguished by its ease of handling, high agility, and sensitivity. A combination of numerous sensors, cutting-edge drive technology, and connectivity lends this collaborative robot high sensitivity, adaptability, and cost-effectiveness. Panda has a sense of touch, which enables it to perform complex assembly tasks alongside human colleagues without any safety barriers. The system is operated using apps - just like a smartphone - enabling it to quickly master new tasks. Meanwhile, the design and user interface allow for intuitive programming and flexible application scenarios. As an example, this makes it possible to integrate it into automated processes at a fraction of the cost that would typically be incurred for a robotics application of this kind.

Learn more about Infineon’s solutions for safe and secure collaboration robots

Accelerating the pace of innovation in industrial robotics

KEWAZO and Infineon Infineon worked together to develop the world’s first on-site construction robot. The KEWAZO scaffolding robot eliminates personal safety risks, realizes significant savings on labor costs and accelerates assembly by 40% or more. Infineon ready-to-use microelectronic components spanning sensors, controllers, power stitches, gate drivers, connectivity technologies and security solutions realize todays robot functions. Due to the Infineon ready-to-use building blocks the KEWAZO robot was electronically functional in less than 6 weeks. Together we make the IIoT work. 

Learn more about Infineon’s range of products and solutions for industrial robots

Discover Infineon’s superior solutions for industrial and service robots

Follow us and gain extensive insights into the world of robots with all its facets: With a comprehensive offering of power products and sensors, we provide reliable system solutions that address the latest trends in robotics. Whether it is AI, IoT, smart home, HMI, or any robotics-related field, we have value to add to nearly all robot designs.

Click here to download the brochure

Mobile robots: Automated Guided Vehicles (AGV) and Autonomous Mobile Robots (AMR)

Infineon has a comprehensive portfolio of products and solutions for robotics applications that can easily be tailored to your very specific AGV / AMR requirements - regardless of the design of your mobile robot. Our offering ranges from power supply and charging systems to drive systems and sensors to equip your AGV for navigation within your factory facility. Our innovative sensor applications, including radar and time-of-flight techniques, give you the ability to equip your AGV fleet with intelligent 3D environment monitoring systems. This allows the systems to avoid collisions and detect obstacles in time.

Learn more

Experience effectiveness: EXCELON™ F-RAM Memory Robotic Arm Demo

When failure is not an option, count on Infineon's EXCELON™ F-RAM memory to store and protect your mission-critical data.

Learn more about the EXCELON™ F-RAM

Making data available quickly and securely in the connected factory

Edge computing

Machines and systems generate huge amounts of data in today's factories. To make this data usable in a way that enables automated processes in manufacturing, it must be processed with a very short delay time. This is made possible by edge computing. At the same time, the greatest possible data sovereignty must be ensured so that sensitive customer or production data does not leave the company's own cloud.

Cloud computing has established itself as an integral part of Industry 4.0 in production companies. However, computing power outsourced in the cloud sometimes results in long transfer times. Industrial plants equipped with sensors for realtime requirements, for example, would have to send the current status data to the cloud again and again, which would slow down the required responses accordingly.

This is where edge computing helps

With this technology, data processing takes place close to where it is needed, at the "edge" of the network. In other words, data is not stored and processed in a remote cloud, but where it is generated: in the device itself or from a local computer, server or mini-data center. Collection, analysis and further processing can then take place at the local nodes. The acceleration of data streams data processing can take place in near real time. Ideally, edge and cloud computing go hand in hand for best results.

A strong connection: Edge Artificial Intelligence

Edge AI is an emerging field and growing fast. Edge AI can combine the power of the cloud with the benefits of local operation to improve the performance of AI algorithms over time. The original paradigm of simply moving all of the data generated on the edge to the cloud for analysis and machine learning has run into three fundamental barriers, namely privacy, reliability and latency. Running these algorithms efficiently on edge eliminates these barriers and allows AIoT products to scale much more rapidly. Powerful semiconductor solutions from Infineon create the framework for IIoT at the edge:

  • Smart sensors detect and pre-process signals through AI capabilities to recognize potential abnormal operation of equipment
  • Edge AI enabled MCUs help to identify at-risk equipment, repair urgency and control adaption
  • Smart actuators receive and implement instructions to reduce potential impacts in production
  • Security solutions ensure secured communication and protection of critical information
  • Connectivity technologies enable dependable communication across devices, factory levels, cloud and secure device management.
Use cases, examples and further information

A little more background knowledge first? Discover technology changing the world: Edge computing: Everything you need to know

As edge-computing is still less well-known, we have compiled the most important information for you. Learn everything you need to know about edge computing in our discovery: 

  • What is edge computing?
  • How does edge computing work?
  • New applications through Artificial Intelligence (AI)
  • Security for edge devices
  • Infineon and edge computing

Click here for the whole story.

Edge computing and AIoT

The original paradigm of simply moving all of the data generated on the edge to the cloud for analysis and machine learning has run into three fundamental barriers, namely privacy, reliability and latency. Running these algorithms efficiently on edge eliminates these barriers and allows AIoT products to scale much more rapidly.

Listen to the #MakeIoTwork podcast and learn how Infineon’s ModusToolbox™ Machine Learning supports to make the AIoT work

IoT security at the Edge

Data security is a key aspect of edge computing. Only certain data may leave the system, while other data must remain in the edge device. To ensure this, the integrity of the edge devices is checked continuously.

Learn more about our security solution for IIoT at the edge

Effective decision making considering highest levels of safety, reliability, and security

To meet the increasing complexities of next-generation industrial systems, high-performance and low-latency memories are needed for reliable data storage – be it sensor telemetry or operational parameters. Intelligent systems use memories with diverse performance requirements across several heterogenous applications such as boot code and application program storage, instant data-logging and high-speed computational scratch pad. Reliable storage is critical for informed decision making. Infineon NOR Flash products are architected and designed to deliver the highest levels of safety, reliability, and security. It is the ideal memory for code storage in embedded systems due to its fast- random read performance. Non-volatile RAM products, such as F-RAM and nvSRAM instantly capture and preserve system and sensor data on power loss, making them well-suited for mission-critical data-logging. Asynchronous SRAMs with on-chip ECC are volatile memories that are designed for industrial systems requiring the highest standards of reliability and performance, without compromising on power consumption. For applications that must work all the time, every time, depend on our broad portfolio of solutions to give you a competitive advantage.

Learn more about Infineon’s high performance memory solutions for the IoT

IoT solutions prevent failures before they occur – to maximize asset availability

Predictive maintenance

Predictive maintenance offers the potential to optimize maintenance tasks in real time over system lifetime, maximizing the useful life of equipment while still avoiding disruption to operations.

At present, many companies are already using solutions for predictive maintenance, whereby data from machinery is continuously evaluated and compared with past samples. This enables impending malfunctions to be detected before they actually occur. Thanks to the availability of modular IoT sensors and ready-to-use software solutions provided e.g. at ModusToolbox™ for essentials such as machine learning and cloud connectivity, quick implementation without requiring significant up-skilling in data science and AI, a modular condition-monitoring solution is possible and can deliver powerful results that demonstrate the value of IIoT applications.

Leveraging the power of the smart factory

Infineon’s broad range of XENSIV™ sensors can be deployed to monitor everything from single components of production machinery to an entire smart building ecosystem. Typical use cases include HVAC equipment where XENSIV sensors monitor current, vibration, and airflow in motors, compressors, and fans. These sensors can be combined with FreeRTOS-certified XMC™ microcontrollers and OPTIGA™ security solutions so the data collected can be processed and analyzed to enable advanced IoT features such as predictive maintenance.

Using our differentiated memory solutions including  Semper™ NOR Flash Memory Family and EXCELONTM F-RAM to reliably and safely store collected data for such analysis, overall system health and safety can be monitored.

Application examples that show how predictive maintenance can work in an industrial environment

A little more background knowledge first? Discover technology changing the world: Predictive Maintenance in smart factories and buildings

Smart factories and buildings are intelligent - not least because they are able to anticipate maintenance before it becomes urgent. This is known as predictive maintenance. But what exactly is predictive maintenance and how does it work?

Read our discovery and learn all you need to know about predictive maintenance.

Demonstrator: Industrial setup for predictive maintenance

Sensors, microcontrollers and safety chips are relevant building blocks for reliable predictive maintenance. Watch the video to learn how Infineon products can be used for predictive maintenance applications in an industrial environment. All devices are delivered in a maker and engineer friendly environment and are Arduino compatible. This allows easy and fast evaluation and integration of our devices into your solution.

Learn more about our sensors portfolio

Lifetime Prediction with Infineon’s Online Power Simulation Platform (IPOSIM)

Infineon IPOSIM is an online power simulation program for loss and thermal calculation of Infineon power modules and disk devices. The platform also makes it simple to estimate the lifetime of Infineon products according to your usage.

Click here to learn more and to get started

Read our latest market news and learn how Infineon boosts IPOSIM platform with automated lifetime estimation to simplify selection of suitable semiconductor components

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