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The original idea of ​​this new development comes from the aircraft industry. There, high-resolution 3D measurement with laser scanners is used to precisely connect components, for example. Pepperl + Fuchs showed the potential of this technology for applications in the sense of Industry 4.0 and brought another dimension of measurement into play.

2018 founded Lufthansa Technik and Pepperl + Fuchs together in Hamburg the 3d.aero GmbH. The aim of the joint venture is to develop new automation solutions for the aircraft industry and to advance the digitization of production. Among other things, the focus is on applications for optical measuring devices. For example, multiple devices can be combined with optical time-of-flight measurement techniques to create 3D imagery of components and their mounting locations, and use this data to enable high-precision automated assembly. The same technology can be used to control paint robots or to position the passenger bridge in front of the car door. Because of the arched hull their precise approach is not a trivial task. At the same time, small collisions must be reliably prevented because of the strict safety regulations.

Connected Customization for Industry 4.0

pepperl30419From the experience of such applications came the original impulse to continue the 3D detection of objects in the sense of the industry 4.0 and to exhaust their technical possibilities, also on the level of information comprehensively. As a trial version, the exhibition exhibit "Connected Customization" was created, in which visitors to the fair make themselves available as "objects". This is initially using the PRT method of six optical distance sensors of Laser series R2000 detected. Each sensor makes an 2D scan of the subject, and the measurement data is then merged into a 3D point cloud.

Pulse Ranging Technology plus 360 ° rotation

Pulse Ranging Technology (PRT), which uses the R2000 sensors, is a true time-of-flight technique. A laser diode emits light pulses with a beam diameter of only a few millimeters. From the reflection time, the scanner calculates the exact distance. The pulses have a high energy density and deliver correspondingly clear and accurate signals. This is true even with disturbing influences such as reflections, strong extraneous light or dark, poorly reflective target objects. The device transmits 250.000 distance readings per second to the controller.

The advantages of Pulse Ranging Technology are complemented by the rotation of the 360 ° measurement module. This circles on a rigid axis and creates a uniform scan plane with virtually no angular deviation. Thus, the sensor achieves not only complete visibility, but also an angular resolution of up to 0,071 °. Its rotation frequency can reach up to 30 Hz, the measuring rate up to 54 kHz. It reliably detects even moving objects and very small objects. R2000 sensors are commonly used for collision protection, range monitoring in automated guided vehicles, or for detecting objects close to a surface. By combining several devices, a precise image of three-dimensional contours can be obtained.

Fourth dimension

Last year, the exhibit was expanded. In addition to the sensors, additional color cameras were mounted. Their images complement the distance data with the image information of brightness, color and contrast. This data exemplifies a "fourth dimension" that can be added to the 3D image and add value to accomplish different tasks. Instead of cameras, other devices such as temperature scanners could be added. They could be used to create a high-resolution temperature profile or track the temperature profile.

For the assignment of the measured values, however, the combination of the sensors involved, including precise 3D calibration, is a decisive prerequisite. Only in this way can the data be combined into a meaningful overall picture. The cloud of points is available for worldwide access in the Neo Neon Cloud of the Pepperl + Fuchs subsidiary Neoception. The data is provided in the standard format Point Cloud Data (PCD). Tools for processing PCD sentences are available on the Internet.

Immediate use on the smartphone

pepperl10419The trade fair exhibit demonstrates global data access and a first use: the visitor can immediately view his 3D image on his smartphone, the visualization takes over an augmented reality app, which can be called up from the app stores. For the access to the data a QR code is scanned, with the app one then scans the position marker of the exhibit. Those who get involved with this experiment could look at themselves from all sides on their own mobile device in 3D and in color. Depending on the trade fair appearance, there were also other possibilities, for example, to produce an 3D image in Plexiglas or to be printed as an 3D model on the title page of a personalized edition of the trade fair magazine. Of course, the same data can also be used for feeding into a production or logistics process.

The overall constellation of the exhibit Connected Customization meets the three basic requirements for an industrial 4.0 architecture: First. The integration of the devices involved provides the horizontally networked basis, which depicts reality with great depth of field. Secondly. With the provision of standardized data on the Internet, vertical networking is realized. Third. This creates the prerequisites for a consistent engineering process without media disruption. The information depth of the data enables very fine-tuned solutions for highly complex applications, such as machine control, 3D printing or navigation. They also allow a differentiated, individualized production from batch size 1.

Connected Customization - Conclusion

The exhibit Connected Customization shows how high-quality sensors can be used to create a deep-focused, multi-dimensional image of reality in real time. The accumulated measurement data are available horizontally and vertically networked for consistent engineering and for automated production processes in a standard data format globally. They can be used without restriction for applications in the sense of Industry 4.0 and IoT.


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Further contributions from Pepperl + Fuchs

  • Hannover Messe specialist articles Pepperl + Fuchs, Neoception and Bosch Connected Industries (BCI) have digitalized and automated the processes for supplying and removing Kanban shelves throughout a joint project. In addition to its automation expertise, Pepperl + Fuchs brought the required sensors into the project. A newly developed, touching sensor bar in particular plays a major role in this application. Neoception was responsible for the software interface to an Industry 4.0 application IES developed by BCI. This coordinates, controls, monitors and visualizes the goods management of the Kanban shelf and integrates the solution as a holistic system in ERP environments.
  • The Pepperl + Fuchs brand Ecom wins the Hazardex Award 2020 in the category PPTex Innovation (Personal Protection Technologies for potentially explosive areas). The award particularly applies to explosion-proof end devices and comprehensive solutions that Ecom has developed especially for use in harsh environments. Employees receive maximum security and ease of use through the use of these devices.
  • Functional safety is an important topic in industrial automation, to which the SIL Roadshow has been dedicated for years. A consortium of experts from the companies Ramsys, Pepperl + Fuchs, Samson, Hima, Endress + Hauser and TÜV SÜD Industrie Service GmbH has set up a new format with the Functional Safety Workout 2020.
  • Hannover Messe Hall 17, Stand D34 At the initiative of Trumpf, around 2020 industrial companies, including Pepperl + Fuchs, will be presenting the new "Omlox" location technology standard at the Hannover Messe 60. Using the new standard, various localization technologies can be linked together. Examples are ultra-wideband (UWB), RFID, 5G or GPS. The companies are responding to the increasing use of location solutions in industrial production.
  • Logimat Hall 3, Booth B08 With the level sensor concept “Wilsen.sonic.level” from Pepperl + Fuchs, the level of liquids and bulk goods in containers, tanks or silos can be monitored remotely with the help of the Internet. The IoT sensor has an integrated ultrasonic measurement for measuring fill levels, fill and level. These measured values ​​are recorded at regular intervals and sent to the Internet together with the current geoposition. The autonomously working radio sensor is operated by battery and thus enables measurements in mobile containers.
  • Logimat Hall 3, Booth B08 User report Pepperl + Fuchs has developed a customer-specific 2D lidar sensor for a more flexible transport shuttle based on the specially developed Pulse Range Technology in close partnership with Montratec. This allows a distinction to be made between permanently installed track sections such as tunnels or curves. This was not possible before and not easy either, as this user report shows:
  • SPS Hall 7A, Stand 330 Pepperl + Fuchs is the first company to offer IO-Link Masters with an OPC UA interface, thus enabling the path to seamless, transparent and seamless communication from the lowest field level to the cloud.
  • SPS Hall 7A, Booth 330 The Pepperl + Fuchs brand Ecom presents the new generation of its intrinsically safe 4G / LTE Android smartphone series Smart-Ex. With a large 12,7 cm (5 ") display and powerful features, good ergonomics and an optimized accessory concept, the completely newly developed Smart-Ex 02 is the most advanced explosion-proof smartphone for Zone 1/21 and Div. 1.
  • FMB Hall 20, Stand B22 Pepperl + Fuchs is focusing on the expansion of the IO-Link portfolio: For applications with restricted installation conditions, the IO-Link Master of the ICE1 series will also be available in a housing that is only 30 mm narrow. Advantages such as multi-protocol, M12 power connector and web server functionality are still available to the user.
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