Headed by Bosch, seven partners are collaborating on a project, called AMELI 4.0, to develop the sensor system of the future for connected manufacturing, or Industry 4.0. The system is intended to monitor machines and immediately detect deviations from their normal operating status.
With the system’s help, factories can go a long way toward preventing machines from having unplanned downtimes. Instead of adhering to rigid maintenance intervals, companies can maintain their equipment precisely when it is needed. This approach is expected to cut the costs of maintaining, inspecting, and repairing machines by up to 30 per cent. AMELI 4.0 is a research project aimed at improving the market position of German companies with regard to Industry 4.0. For this reason, it is being funded to the tune of €3.84m by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) as part of its “IKT 2020 – Research for Innovation” programme.
Sensors play a key role in Industry 4.0 as the artificial “eyes and ears” of machines and workpieces, for which they capture information about condition and performance. To facilitate intelligent management and connectivity in manufacturing, the sensors have to collect and process huge amounts of data in real time. They also need to be as energy efficient as possible and be easy to integrate into complex production systems. The industry sensors currently in widespread use are limited in their usefulness for Industry 4.0. For many applications, they are not smart or flexible enough, consume too much energy, and are too expensive.