03 Mar The latest in industrial electronics
The industrial sector is seeing rapid change as emerging technologies like robotics and virtual reality become more affordable and relevant to a wider range of applications. From manufacturing and engineering to construction, the development is happening faster now than in the last four decades combined.
Companies who operate in this sector can benefit from the latest in industrial electronics in some way, whatever the vertical. Manufacturers can benefit from robotics, construction companies can benefit from work site automation, and engineering firms can benefit from more efficient, safer machinery. In this article, we look at the latest in industrial electronics and how these technologies and systems benefit business.
Robotics and automation
Production lines and engineering firms are making use of robotics more than ever. The robots used to assemble, piece together and create products – from consumer electronics to furniture – are becoming more advanced. With the right investment, it is possible to manufacture hundreds of products made up of multiple parts per hour without human input. These fully automated production lines maximise manufacturing output, minimise downtime, and offer long-term savings versus employing workers.
Manufacturers are also benefiting from virtual reality, otherwise known as digital design, simulation, and integration. One benefit is it allows manufacturers to inspect products at every stage of production, effectively eliminating defects from their finished products. This is achieved using virtual and augmented reality (VR/AR) devices. The technology is also being piloted to assist complex assembly, with workers on the factory floor at Volvo wearing VR headsets to see work instructions in plain view. VR is also being used to map products to create 3D representations of them in software.
Optimised air compressors
Air compressors in industrial plants account for a huge amount of energy use. They are estimated to account for £1.5 billion in wasted energy in the UK. Optimising air compression is important to save energy and meet emissions targets. Many air compressors are poorly designed and poorly maintained. That’s why companies are increasingly looking to high grade compressors which optimise energy consumption with features like timers, running hours and load/no load control. By investing in newer air compressors with these features, it is possible to reduce energy consumption by 50%.
Optimised HVAC systems
Heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning systems account for even more wasted energy than air compressors. Old and poorly maintained systems are highly inefficient. The main objective of these systems is to ensure an indoor environment is both safe and comfortable for humans, but the inefficiency of them has led to companies seeking out ways to reduce energy use with the likes of ice powered air conditioners, thermally driven air conditioning, energy analysis software, geothermal heat bumps and HVAC zoning.
Next-gen industrial machinery
Industrial machinery and related software is getting more and more advanced, and in turn, it’s also getting better at its job. Siemens is one of the leaders in the field, with a suite of advanced industrial machinery that helps manufacturers meet quality standards. Their products enable engineer-to-order automation, lifecycle analytics, production performance, manufacturing process planning and automation, and more. The most advanced machinery gives firms a competitive advantage.
3D printing is being used in industry right now for tooling and to manufacture functional prototypes and end-use parts. There are 3D printers that can print metal (powdered metal which is sintered to become solid) and there’s a 3D printer called the Markforged Mark Two which can print composites like fibreglass, carbon fibre and Kevlar. The latter produces parts which are as strong as or stronger than 6061 aluminium. Far from being the plastic-only technology many associate it with, 3D printing is a seriously useful manufacturing method in industry for short production runs and more.
Need an industrial electrician?
We have long standing relationships with a number of industrial companies. To find out how Brightlec can help your company, call us on 01138 941 968.