Many posts here have explored Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) technologies used in process manufacturing to improve safety, reliability, efficiency & emissions, and production. But what about discrete manufacturing applications such as packaging and assembly lines?

IoT World Today: Industrial Internet of Things and the Rise of Smart PneumaticsIn a IoT World Today article, Industrial Internet of Things and the Rise of Smart Pneumatics, Emerson’s Mark Densley describes how the data from pneumatic devices can be used to improve overall machine reliability and maintenance practices.

Mark opens notes that end users are driving the demand for IIoT.

You can have an IoT system provide data from the machine, and ensure that the systems or the components on that machine are working within their normal range. In that regard, end-users are the ones pushing for industrial Internet of Things implementation.

It’s often the machine builders that are trying to figure out how to meet these demands.

…so OEMs are asking, “How do you do implement that? Who has the product to do that? And what should we be monitoring?”

Diagnostics have been associated with pneumatic devices for quite awhile but figuring out how to make use of this information has been the challenge. Mark notes that now:

…the focus is on what you can do with that data to convert it into useful information and react to, or even predict failure.

Mark gives an example of the AVENTICS ST4-2P programmable proximity sensor for pneumatic cylinders.

We can sense the velocity of the piston in the cylinder. But we can also use that data coming back from the sensors to monitor the cushions and shock absorbers inside the cylinder to ensure they are performing within a certain specification window. If you interpolate that data, you can come up with a way to ensure the cylinder is performing as expected, and quickly determine when it is not.

With this data fed to an AVENTICS smart pneumatics monitor:

…you can analyze the data to create usable information to figure out what is going on with the machine.

Read the article for other IIoT examples Mark shares around energy consumption monitoring, autonomous maintenance processes, as well as security considerations.

Visit the Smart Pneumatics area on Emerson’s AVENTICS site for more on these IIoT technologies and applications. You can also connect and interact with other pneumatics experts in the Fluid Control & Pneumatics group in the Emerson Exchange 365 community.

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