Our sensor solutions are indispensable for both: industrial automation would be impossible without them. And Industry 4.0 would also not function without them. They are the interface between the virtual reality of the intelligent factory and the physical machine environment.We use the SICK Sensor Blog to gather together the topics that move us.
Deep learning is one of the SICK presentation topics at the Hannover Messe 2019. The chancellor was personally very impressed with this and other aspects of the advancing Industry 4.0 applications. During the fair opening, Dr. Angela Merkel, together with Swedish prime minister Stefan Löfven, representative of this year’s partner country, paid SICK a visit on her traditional tour. Chairman Dr. Robert Bauer and board member and person responsible for Sales & Service, Dr. Mats Gökstorp, explained to the pair the significance of sensor technology for networking within the industrial value-adding process. At center stage were insights into the 4.0 NOW Factory in Freiburg via live stream and a deep learning application from SICK for the timber industry.
In Sweden, the wood sector is one of the most important branches of industry. That is why Stefan Löfven was particularly interested in a specific application of a deep learning process in the field of automation in the timber industry. Together with the chancellor, he had the chance to test self-teaching InspectorP camera sensors in use. German and Swedish developers at SICK refined camera sensors so that they can now detect the position of the growth ring and therefore the quality of the wood without having to undergo complex programming, all thanks to self-teaching algorithms and regardless of the respective type of wood. The new algorithms calculated and generated in this AI application in the cloud are made available locally on the sensor directly in the camera in a fail-safe manner.
Deep learning for logistics automation
The use case shown at the Hannover Messe is of course only one of many. Deep learning goes even farther and will penetrate even deeper into the areas of automatic detection, inspection and classification of objects or features in the future. And SICK is also continuously expanding its own deep learning sensor portfolio. With the implementation of deep learning in selected sensors and sensor systems, a new sensor software concept which creates adaptable and future-proof solutions for automation applications is also emerging in the SICK AppSpace. Image-processing sensors and cameras are also included in the coming products, which work with the new technology and whose customer-specific adaptation generates added value for the user. The concept of the sensor specialized with artificial intelligence can also be used principally on switching sensors such as inductive proximity sensors, photoelectric retro-reflective sensors, ultrasonic sensors and others.
SICK offers even more at the Hannover Messe
The German chancellor and the Swedish prime minister got additional insight into the SICK Industry 4.0 production in Freiburg. This was accessible to all visitors at the trade fair via live stream. SICK is using this live stream to show how it is successfully implementing Industry 4.0 in its own manufacturing processes in order to efficiently produce a wide range of optical sensor variants, no matter if they are ordered in batch size 1 or for large-scale production. Other important elements of Industry 4.0 were highlighted at the trade fair: Predictive maintenance, automated guided vehicle systems and localization technologies which make material flows visible and increase production quality were also presented at the SICK booth - for everyone.
Safety light curtains for the prevention of machine accidents are, in terms of principle of operation, a readily available technology from many suppliers these days. But users of this technology want more than “just safety”. They are looking for intelligent addi-tional functions that generate added value in terms of process transparency, flexibility, ease of use and maintainability, or inte-grated automation functions that guarantee fast amortization and maximum future proofing. The next step for safety – this core idea therefore underpins the entire design of the deTec4 safety light curtain from SICK.
The key details, in brief, include protective field heights of 300 mm to 2,100 mm, performance level e safety rating in accord-ance with EN ISO 13849, SIL3 in accordance with IEC 61508 and type 4 in accordance with IEC EN 61496-1, reduced resolution mode, beam coding, 2-signal muting, IP65 and IP67 protection class, and high temperature resistance from -30 °C to +55 °C.
Of much greater interest are the modular functional scope and innovative features of the deTec4, which no other safety light cur-tain currently offers in this combination. For example, thanks to “Smart Presence Detection”, the deTec4 from SICK only activates presence detection if a person is actual-ly in danger. In contrast to conventional safety light curtains, the deTec4 can reliably blank out sawdust and weld sparks, for in-stance, that fall into its protective field while securely protecting people at the same time. This reduces unplanned downtimes and machine failures and increases the productivity of machines and plants.
Equally user-friendly, but significantly more extensive are the di-agnostic options via NFS and the “SICK Safety Assistant” smartphone app. While NFC and the smartphone app facilitate real-time diagnostics and rapid troubleshooting on site by taking a snapshot, sensor communication via IO-Link provides for contin-uous remote diagnostic data, as well as comprehensive data analysis and visualization in the SOPAS Engineering Tool. This helps with the systematic troubleshooting of causes in the event of a fault, as well as with quickly restoring the sensor function and operational readiness of the machine. Finally, the communi-cation via IO-Link makes it possible to use the data from the de-Tec4 for additional measurement and automation functions.
In Austria, Switzerland, and Germany, fire assessments are carried out in tunnel systems to prove the functionality of the tunnel-dependent ventilation concept, which forms part of the acceptance protocol following renovation and conversion measures. An essential component of the functional testing process involves evaluating the reaction of the ventilation system. The fans must run in a defined direction and at a defined speed so that the smoke produced in the event of fire can be diverted in a controlled manner and the tunnel can be evacuated. This is why it is particularly important to be able to detect the flow velocity and direction.
SICK has been a supplier of tunnel sensor technology for many years. In addition to measuring pollutants and the visual range, the FLOWSIC200 also focuses specifically on measuring the flow velocity. Based on ultrasound technology, the measurement system features titanium sensors and measures both the flow velocity and flow direction.
Reliable measurement technology needed
The measurement technology must be exceptionally reliable under extreme conditions – particularly in the event of a fire. If the fire is in a tunnel, however, there are fundamentally different requirements that have to be taken into consideration for the measurement technology. Both the immediate area surrounding the fire and the area surrounding the outflow of the flue gas are characterized by significantly different conditions than when the tunnel is in normal operation with ambient air. The flue gas temperature, flue gas composition, and also the gas propagation play an essential role when it comes to the function of the flow velocity measurement
Together with the Austrian research association for internal combustion engines and thermodynamics, FVT – Forschungsgesellschaft für Verbrennungskraftmaschinen und Thermodynamik mbH, a total of four fire assessments were carried out in the Klaus tunnel system (A9). The findings were documented with data records. These assessments involved two FLOWSIC200 measurement systems being installed in the outflow area close to the source of the fire. The fire assessments were carried out at a location with unfavorable ventilation conditions. According to the calculations of a ventilation planner, a position approximately 1960 m from the (north) entrance portal of the tunnel was identified as the worst-case scenario. The lowest flow velocities were expected at this fire location with a large portal pressure at the south portal.
When evaluating the obtained data, it was found that the gas composition, gas temperature, and flow dynamics changed significantly in the area around the fire and in the immediate outflow area of the flue gas. The test demonstrated that the FLOWSIC200 from SICK accurately captures the particular dynamics of the tunnel flow – with impressive results. Its functionality in case of fire could be proven without any limitations. The flow measurement functioned reliably and without any significant power losses. Measurement availability was 100 percent in all experiments.
US manufacturer Big Elk Energy Systems, LLC has developed one of the world’s first mobile gas flow rate test benches. This system can be used to verify gas meters that are installed in high-volume gas installations without interrupting operation. At the heart of the mobile M3™ system is the ultrasonic gas flow meter FLOWSIC600-XT Quatro from SICK. The meter combines two measuring systems in a single meter body, thus offering full redundancy in a very compact enclosure. Geoff Hager, CEO of Big Elk, explains the background of the new system
When it comes to measuring high volumes of gas, two things are paramount: uninterrupted operation and minimal measurement uncertainties To ensure the latter, gas meters are in some cases recalibrated on a regular basis. The cycles are either stipulated by law or agreed between operators. Increasingly, they are also being determined as required on the basis of equipment diagnostics. However, recalibrating the metering package system is a major hold-up for operations. Gas meters need to be removed and transported over long distances – with lots of associated risks such as transport damage. In the meantime, the system has to use redundant equipment to continue operation, often with reduced capacity. It can take weeks, and sometimes even months, until the meters can be reinstalled.
Mobile flow test bench Mobile. Master. Meter.
In an effort to reduce this regular workload and expense, Big Elk has designed one of the world’s first mobile flow test benches. The patented Mobile. Master. Meter.™ System (which is shortened to just M3™) can be transported by truck to the measuring stations. Once it has arrived there, the test bench is connected to the existing pipe system and thus integrated into the gas flow. The adjustable high-pressure connection pipes of the M3™ – for different run lengths, heights, angles, and positions – can be easily positioned with a crane and smoothly connected with overlapping slip joint connectors. Big Elk has thus solved a core problem that defeated earlier concepts for portable test benches.
Another special feature of the M3™ is the verifiable ultrasonic gas flow meter FLOWSIC600-XT Quatro from SICK. With the aid of state-of-the-art technology, the meter combines two measuring devices in a single unit with a 4+4 path concept. This permits redundant control measurements, which are important particularly given the high demands that are placed on a test bench. Here, intelligent diagnostics ensure that even the smallest changes in the flow behavior can be detected. At the same time, FLOWSIC600-XT Quatro is also unusually compact and can tolerate vibrations during transportation – another ideal prerequisite for a mobile test bench.
How did Big Elk and SICK get together? “Right from the start we wanted an ultrasonic gas flow meter for the master meter. It had to be a highly reliable measuring device so that we could maintain the calibration of the master meter at a level of at least 150 ft/s,” explains CEO Geoff Hager. “As well as this, confidentiality was extremely important to us during the long R&D process. Both of these factors led us straight to the SICK team in Houston. Some of us had already been working with SICK teams for over 20 years. We value the close personal relationship, and in addition the SICK ultrasonic product line is the standard for so many of our key clients.”
Decision for FLOWSIC600-XT Quatro
He explained that the decision to opt for the FLOWSIC600 XT Quatro had not been without risk to start with. “The XT, which is the successor of the popular FLOWSIC600 Classic, was new, and we didn’t know it yet. We wanted a 4+4 design – the M3™ is claimed to deliver outstanding results in every application, and full redundancy is the key to this. But to start off with, we were happy with the predecessor model FLOWSIC600. It was only when we started discussing the project that several SICK team members started saying things like ‘The XT would be perfect’ and ‘Once you see the XT you are going to want it’.
”What ultimately tipped the balance was the innovative design and the new style of condition-based indicator of the XT, which enables improved control diagnostics even within a normal 4-path configuration. With the current M3™ test bench, the pressure is limited to the full ANSI 600 class. Initially, calibrations are offered for 4" to 12" pipe diameters. In fact though, all speeds between 1 ft/s and 150 ft/s can be recorded. A second model is being planned for line sizes up to 24 inches and for pressures up to the ANSI 600 class.
The M3™ was launched at the start of 2018 after extensive field studies and reworking. It is initially being used in two projects, and further orders have already been acquired. “We believe that we can cover over 80% of the basic applications installed in the USA with this test bench. But we also have plans for additional units – in particular for a wider service range, but also to cover larger meters and higher pressure classes.”
The M3™ solution may still be in its infancy. But the Big Elk team thinks it is revolutionary: “We firmly believe that this is going to be a major success. It is undoubtedly just a question of time until field testing of ultrasonic gas meters becomes the default method for gas pipeline operators.”
The time has arrived: Industry 4.0 is happening now. SICK will show what this looks like at the Hannover Messe 2019 from 1 to 5 April 2019 with a live stream from the 4.0 NOW Factory in Freiburg. The official motto of the Hannover Messe is “Integrated Industry – Industrial Intelligence”, or in a nutshell: “Industry 4.0 meets AI”. An invitation that is too good to miss. That is why SICK will take the opportunity to show the progress we have already made NOW on the path to a completely networked and autonomous value chain.
By definition, data is the foundation of functioning Industry 4.0 applications. It is the prerequisite for complete networking of development, production, logistics, customers and partners. Machines, workpieces, shelves, containers and shuttles become intelligent objects that supply data in real time and exchange information. As a result, production and intralogistics are merged into a digital, global unit.
At the Hannover Messe, SICK will show a fully automated use case at its stand, consisting of various exhibits and dashboards as well as a live stream from the 4.0 NOW Factory in Freiburg. Visitors will therefore be given an overview of all the already implemented aspects of an automated, optimized and flexible value chain.
Directly to the 4.0 NOW Factory
The SICK highlight at the trade fair is also a premiere. With the live stream to the 4.0 NOW Factory in Freiburg, SICK will raise the curtain on completely networked and automated production. Visitors can experience live all the things that are already happening today. All data is collected here in the cloud in real time and ensures maximum transparency. The result is a virtual representation of production. The most important performance indicators are visualized for visitors in the form of a cloud-based dashboard. Curtain up for NOW.
Total transparency – an app for localization
The whole value-added process is made transparent by localization and thus visualization of all productive assets, load carriers and loading aids. From material procurement through to delivery of a finished product, this provides the capability for a host of optimizations. Travel paths can thus be optimally designed, routes dynamically adapted, service intervals planned based on consumption, storage spaces managed fully automatically or goods movements monitored. SICK will present this entire technology portfolio of hardware and software solutions for localization at the Hannover Messe.
Artificial intelligence in the cloud
The main theme of the trade fair, artificial intelligence, can be found at SICK in integration of deep learning algorithms in software for image analysis and processing. This allows realization of solutions for complex tasks in production applications in order to automatically detect, check or classify objects. In Hannover, a camera will detect the quality of a piece of wood by the number of age rings independently of the wood type, for example. The special feature of the SICK solution: the artificial intelligence calculates the new solution in the cloud, and the new algorithms generated from this are made available locally on the sensor directly in the camera in a fail-safe way. In this way, deep learning in the cloud becomes deep deployment in the camera.
Testing and assembly specialist Kubik Automation GmbH from Baienfurt in Germany is putting SICK's PLOC2D robot guidance system to use in its new sCube assembly cell. The team of experienced industry experts specializes in the development of innovative products and the optimization of production processes for automation technologies. Tailor-made special machines are developed for the automotive, electromechanics, medical technology, and consumer goods sectors.
From the perspective of manufacturers, the requirements placed on the flexibility of automation solutions are increasing. With the sCube, several different parts can be handled by a single machine without having to change the entire production process.
Anyfeeders are ideal for applications involving different parts where products are changed frequently. They convey and flip small parts without refeeding and without the use of conveyor belts. An anyfeeder is generally made up of three components which work together: an intelligent vibration unit combined with a magazine which separates small parts and realigns them, a vision system which localizes the parts, and a robot which picks up the parts and moves them on.
Teamwork of components is successful
The work sequence follows the interaction of the three components described. The PLOC2D robot guidance system from SICK quickly and reliably detects the position of all parts and transmits position data and orientations to the robot control system. Using this information, the robot is able to pick the correctly aligned parts and feed them to the next process. Any parts that are not properly aligned are ignored. Once the properly aligned parts have been removed, the remaining components in the pick zone are mixed up again by a pulsed vertical oscillation from the vibration unit.
The PLOC2D is a vision system for two-dimensional part localization. It consists of high-quality image processing hardware and is equipped with an extremely high-performance localization algorithm for reliable and fast part localization. What's more, the PLOC2D particularly impresses thanks to its short setup times. It does not require any programming knowledge and can be put into operation straight away following a simple configuration and parameterization process via a web browser. Thanks to the EasyTeach method, it can also be tailored to different parts and can be integrated into numerous robot brands and PLCs. In essence, the robot guidance system from SICK brings order to the chaos of part localization.
Today, Australia is the second largest exporter for LNG in the world with high growth rates in gas production. The Roma gas field was one of the first discovered fields in Australia. The field covers approximately 3000 km². Since the 60’s gas has been produced from the field. Originally the gas was extracted from lime stones, but since 1988 it is produced from coal seam formations. Since than the gas production has continuously expanded. The produced gas from the Roma field is transported via pipelines to the LNG Terminal in Curtis Island, near Gladstone. There the gas is liquefied and shipped via LNG tanks mainly to Korea and Japan. One of the main gas producers in the region is company Santos. Since 1954 Santos invests in production, processing and transport of natural gas from the Roma field.
Santos relies on metering systems solution competence from SICK
In 2018 the production capacity was increased – once again. A new pre-processing plant was built. The central element of the facility are two metering skids; one for internal allocation and one for custody transfer measurement, exporting the gas to the LNG terminal.
The metering systems are particularly designed to meet the requirements of the Australian market for gas measuring systems. The process pressure is between 17 and 22 barg. The flow rate goes from 13 to 132 MMSCFD (15.000 – 155.000 Nm³/h). Both measuring skids are equipped with 16” (DN400) FLOWSIC600-XT ultrasonic gas flow meters in Class 300. The gas is measured after the first compression but before the final cleaning and liquification.
The first FLOWSKID600 metering skid is used for internal allocation and uses a FLOWSIC600-XT Quatro. The principle of having two metering systems, two independent 4-path meters, in one meter body allows redundancy at minimal space. The skid was designed very compact but ensuring measurement availability at all times.
The second metering skid is used for custody transfer and designed in a Z-configuration. Two FLOWSIC600-XT 4-path meters are used. The gas can still be dirty and contaminated with small coal seam particles, condensate or oil droplets. However, the robust ultrasonic technology copes with the gas properties and ensures reliable measures.
Measurement data and efficiency always under control
On both skids the measured data from the meters, pressure and temperature transmitters and the gas chromatograph is gathered and normalized by the flow computer FLOW-X.
For both FLOWSKID600 metering skids, Santos trusted in SICK. The collaboration during the design phase, as well as delivery and commissioning of the two complete metering skids was close and always timely. The early involvement of the supplier ensured a most economical skid design and professional project accomplishment.
Flow metering systems from SICK: Lowest uncertainty. Precise measurement.
Flow metering systems from SICK incorporate leading ultrasonic metering technology and are delivered as customized turnkey solutions in the form of metering skids or metering runs. The use of the ultrasonic flow meter, as the heart of the system, ensures precise measurement of the gas. The requirement for lowest measurement uncertainty will fulfill all requirements for custody and non-custody transfer purposes.
From world’s first safety laser scanner certified for use in outdoor applications, over vertical and bidirectional edge cloud integration, up to complete turnkey solutions – sensor intelligence plays a decisive role automated production and logistics processes. The development of sensor data into reliable information available worldwide is a major success factor. Three innovations from SICK are explained in these videos:
Vertical and bidirectional edge cloud integration
With the approach to vertical, bidirectional integration, SICK is ushering in a paradigm shift in industrial automation. In this example, various sensors generate data. A SIM4000 Sensor Integration Machine merges, interprets, and generates information from this data, then sends the information to the cloud. The SICK Analytics Solutions analysis application installed in the cloud processes this information and creates transparency across all relevant workflows.
Automated processes outdoors – thanks to outdoor safety
The outdoorScan3 is the first safety laser scanner certified to IEC 62998 for use in outdoor applications. Thanks to its innovative outdoor-safeHDDM® scanning technology, outdoorScan3 works safely and reliably in all weather, such as sun, rain, snow, or fog – thus closing a major gap in the automation of industrial processes.
Ranger3 – Big 3D performance in a small package
The new standard in industrial 3D image processing: SICK presents its Ranger3, a newly-developed 3D vision camera which is setting future standards in industrial 3D image processing when it comes to technology, speed, resolution and easy integration. This creates new opportunities for vision machine builders and vision system integrators in a wide range of industrial applications.
In industry, robots stand for rational processes, the highest precision and reproducible quality. But for art? What at first glance doesn’t go together comes together at Dürr in Bietigheim-Bissingen. In the foyer of the machine and system builder, artist Joachim Fleischer created the “Weiße Zeit” (White Time) light installation, in the center of which three “misused” ready-2-spray painting robots move about. A sensor solution from SICK ensures the safety of all present - a novelty that a microScan3 safety laser scanner works as a “bodyguard” for a work of art.
A white wood wall, a 90 square meter podium and three painting robots were the main actors. With the click of a mouse, the installation starts moving from a standstill. While moving, the robots cast light on the wall instead of paint. Constantly changing patterns of light are created by the robot movements.
Although it may look playful, it was the result of challenging technical work. Together with the experts at Dürr, Joachim Fleischer programmed the robot controls, which regulated the movements, according to his expectations. In order to present this installation in the Dürr foyer to a wide audience without the use of physical guards, a comprehensive understanding of the project, a conclusive risk assessment and a suitable safety concept were needed.
Thanks to the microScan3 sensor solution from SICK, all this was possible. The 5 vertical protective fields of the microScan3, which slightly overlapped, ensured that the robots would stop safely as soon as a person accessed the podium. Without any protective fences or additional staff. “This made it possible to dissolve the boundaries between human and robot and make observation and interpretation a conscious and sensual experience,” explained Joachim Fleischer about his “Weiße Zeit”.
Why take two when one would do? Why waste valuable space with twice as many cables when installing the entire system could be much smarter and compact with half the effort? There are so many advantages of connecting regulated electric motors with just one cable – and these extend across the entire value chain for machines and plants – that SICK is opening up its patented HIPERFACE DSL® protocol with a licensing model for competitors. This will pave the way for establishing one cable connection technology for servo motors and torque drives as an open standard without elaborately designed hybrid cables.
Taking a look inside standard cables within servo drive technology usually reveals three wires for the motor power – one wire for PE and two others to control the brakes and evaluate the winding temperature sensor. In conventional connection technology, a second cable is also needed for this configuration to transmit the typical feedback signals for the closed-loop system. With HIPERFACE DSL® (HDSL), SICK brought together the necessary functions in one sheath – without additional costs for the cable or increasing the amount of work required to handle different variants. In practice, the HDSL signal uses the two wires to monitor the temperature and, in turn, transfers the Celsius values required for operational safety via the DSL protocol.
This simple and effective option for the streamlined installation of machines and plants has been available since 2011. Now – approximately six years later – SICK is opening up access to the drive’s slave side and motor-side encoder in addition to the master side, which has been open from the very beginning. The protocol therefore has real potential, similar to USB, to become the digital connection of the future.
Intelligence at every level
Two become one: The benefit of one cable connection technology, particularly in machines with drives distributed across wide areas and with a relatively high number of axes, is undoubtedly huge – but there isn’t just one. In view of the current technical developments of Industry 4.0, HIPERFACE DSL® is laying the groundwork for an automation model based on variably distributed intelligence without the rigid levels of the established automation pyramid. While it is pretty much taken for granted that drives will take on additional tasks in relation to condition monitoring, motors and sensors are also emerging more and more as independent participants within an intelligent network.
This theory is one that can clearly be proved with a motor feedback system with HDSL from SICK. Due to its digital nature, this standard is capable not only of transmitting the absolute positions and speeds measured by the feedback system, but also of performing functions that extend much further. For example, something that may be impossible with a resolver – such as collecting further sensor signals at the feedback system – can indeed be achieved with intelligent digital feedback. That being the case, the best-possible conditions for preventive maintenance have been created.
Condition monitoring – pure and simple!
While encoders originally designed for motor feedback are easy to kit out with additional intelligence, incorporating HDSL data transmission enables a condition monitoring and early warning system to be established with little effort. The objectives of Industry 4.0 provide the framework for the cyber-physical systems. Here, it is important not only to record the data in large volumes, but to process it profitably, primarily using sophisticated algorithms. Smart motor sensors can be used to record service life data from the motor and accordingly to draw conclusions regarding failure probability and life expectancy.
The opening up of the HDSL protocol is seen as the initial spark for further innovations and particularly data connection options within factory automation. After all, SICK cannot possibly have every single encoder technology that is in demand on the market in its portfolio and, for this reason, is convinced that the widespread availability of the protocol will lead to increased product variance – and therefore application possibilities – for feedback systems from different manufacturers. The time has come for this digital system to be standardized further at international level – with the ultimate aim of offering more functions for the advancing digitalization of production processes. From the smart drive to the smart machine to the smart factory.
In contrast to other one cable solutions, HIPERFACE DSL® has a competitive edge of at least three to five years. This statement can be backed up in the way that the protocol has penetrated the market – being adopted by over 50 drive and motor manufacturers worldwide – and its continuous further development. In terms of infrastructure, it also boasts an extensive portfolio of cables, male connectors, FPGAs, and microcontrollers.
Destined for robotics
The performance of the communication system is also evidenced by functions that extend beyond simply highly dynamic and high-resolution position control. The wide field of Safe Motion is just one example of this. Here, the now open SICK protocol achieves SIL3 as per IEC 61508 or performance level e in accordance with EN ISO 13849-1 when safety-related function chains are established. The basic conditions are therefore in place to enable HIPERFACE DSL® to be put to use in robotics applications in particular, as safety technology comes included as standard with Safety IP Core from SICK. As a result, there’s no need for any customer to give this aspect further consideration – something that is a real advantage particularly in the case of collaborative production processes. What’s more, the fact that robots have highly dynamic kinematics coordinated over multiple axes is an area where one cable connection technology can really show its strengths. Each cable that is saved reduces the net weight while also improving MTBF figures, as only half the number of cable connections are present.
With HIPERFACE DSL®, SICK brings Industry 4.0 to the motor
By opening up HIPERFACE DSL®, SICK has paved the way for competitors to make use of the internationally defined standard – ultimately with the intention of further enhancing its acceptance and availability. Accordingly, machine builders and operating entities are able to tap into the advantages of one cable connection technology as well as simple options for future-oriented preventative maintenance, to name but a couple of examples. Additionally, the digital connection of the future has real potential for developing new possibilities within Industry 4.0 as intelligence is increasingly being moved to the sensor level.