Drives and Controls Magazine
Linking drives to the edge could lead to new business models
Published:  05 March, 2020

At the now-postponed Hannover Fair, Siemens is planning to unveil a concept study that will demonstrate a Sinamics drive system integrated with its Industrial Edge platform. In future, it says, it will be possible to perform high-frequency data exchange in drives using edge devices and to perform complex analyses of drivetrains. The result will be more intelligent drive systems that could lead to new business models.

The integration of frequency converters to edge devices will allow users of machines and applications to perform complex analyses of data that has already been collected in a drive. Machine-learning algorithms will identify patterns and detect anomalies and their causes, providing early warnings of when maintenance is needed. This will minimise downtimes and reduce the consumption of resources, according to Siemens.

For example, it could be used to monitor belt tensions in storage and retrieval machines in intralogistics applications. These belts, which are driven by motors and frequency converters, require a specific tension for the application to run smoothly. If analysis of the drive data reveals irregularities, for example, then belt maintenance could be triggered.

Siemens says that connecting its frequency converters to the industrial edge will make drive technology more intelligent and pave the way for new business models. For example, using intelligent drive technologies, machine-builders will be able to offer application-specific apps and digital services, or guarantee the availability of their machines.

Siemens says that linking drives to the edge will make them more intelligent

Siemens’ Industrial Edge technology expands automation to include data processing at the machine level, moving the intelligence of edge computing and advanced analytics safely onto the manufacturing floor. Users will have the opportunity to execute a variety of descriptive, diagnostic, predictive and prescriptive analytics applications. Cloud connections – in conjunction with Edge apps created by Siemens, third-party suppliers or by the users themselves – could be used in an integrated hardware and software ecosystem for automation components.

• Siemens revealed its plans to demonstrate its drive-to-edge concept at the 2020 Hannover Fair on the same day the organisers of the Fair announced that they were postponing the event from April to July because of the Coronavirus outbreak.