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
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:
SENSE: Data transparency for Industry 4.0
COMPUTE: Signal processing and control
ACTUATE: Empowering industrial automation
CONNECT: From IOs to high-speed-communication
SECURE: Scalable, easy-to-integrate security solutions
The future of industrial automation is brimming with new opportunities to develop superior processes and deliver better products to customers.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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:
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
Read our latest market news and learn how Infineon boosts IPOSIM platform with automated lifetime estimation to simplify selection of suitable semiconductor components