02. November 2017

MICA-based management shell connects existing installations to Industry 4.0

MICA-based management

Central machine monitoring and process optimisation are two of the fastest ways to operate production facilities and machines more effectively. Since many machines have a lifespan of 15 to 30+ years, a large portion of existing machine installations has neither the computing power nor the storage capacity to capture, store, or communicate relevant data. The MICA-based administration shell makes it easy to connect existing systems to Industry 4.0 systems.

Many times, older machines also use data formats and protocols from the 1980s and 90s which are no longer used by modern PLCs and PCs. As a result, virtualisation on the controller is neither economically viable, nor desirable in terms of operational safety.
As a solution, injection moulding machines with Euromap 15, a protocol developed in the late 1980s, are integrated into the HARTING production line by a MICA-based management shell and can then be used as a modern device via OPC UA. This approach can be applied to many other machines and systems with other protocols.

Thanks to the MICA-based management tray according to RAMI 4.0, operating parameters can be read, production plans loaded on the machine online, and data can be continuously recorded and stored. These are then available for process optimisation, predictive maintenance or product improvement. The modular open source design of the MICA enables access to open source codes, which greatly reduces development time. The modularity and use of an intermediate JSON format allows other legacy system and backend protocols to be integrated by replacing only the protocol containers - for example, MQTT to IBM Bluemix or Microsoft Azure.