The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) enables a high level of automation within manufacturing and processing facilities. It helps companies achieve real progress to improve efficiency, productivity, and output quality.
This is the heart of Industry 4.0. Real-time data and analytics direct from machinery and processes enables production planning and maintenance work to be accurately scheduled and executed. Outside the production arena, assets within the supply chain can be tracked, preventing loss, or theft.
Analysts are predicting considerable expansion in the global IIoT market. Tens of billions of nodes in a multitude of applications will be deployed.
In fact, various reports predict that the global IIoT market will continue to grow at high rates, from 8% to 25% yearly. The total market value could exceed $1 trillion USD before the end of the decade.
IIoT nodes can be situated in remote or inaccessible locations, which has major implications for maintenance or upgrade. Servicing and repairing hardware may be difficult (or almost impossible). Even within an enclosed, stable factory setting, downtime is undesirable and unacceptable. The reliability of node components is vitally important in these applications.
Wired v wireless IIoT
Although the Internet of Things (IoT) and its industrial relative are mostly considered to be a wireless application, nodes and associated control & monitoring equipment can contain a lot of electronic sub-systems. Within each sub-system may be more than one PCB, or interfaces to the surrounding enclosure for direct plug-in diagnostics. Linking these boards and interfaces requires internal connectors.
With wireless devices containing wired connections, it is important that each component within these wired systems withstands the environmental factors involved.
Changes in temperature
IIoT devices can be exposed to extremes in temperature, and they must maintain normal operation in these locations. For instance, inside petrochemical plants or steelworks, sustained high levels of heat are very common. Smart farming applications and pipeline monitoring can experience higher ambient temperatures during the day and freezing conditions through the night.
- Thermal shock to EIA-364-32C Condition III (or similar). The temperatures for this specific test criteria range from -55° to +125° C. The procedure involves 10 cycles between the two temperatures, with 30 minutes dwell time at each extreme.
- Temperature Life EIA-364-17B Method A exposes components to 125° C for a 96-hour period.
Shake and shock
More important in the industrial context than in commercial IOT is the resistance to vibrational forces. The node may be mounted on, or close to, industrial drives and other heavy machinery — making vibration unavoidable.
Vibrations can cause momentary separation between contact mating faces – and this electrical discontinuity may result in loss of data or control. Successful testing to EIA-364-28D Condition IV gives confidence in vibration resistance.
- Mated connectors must not show signs of any electrical discontinuity over a 12-hour testing period
- The vibration amplitude of 1.52mm is applied at frequencies cycling from 10Hz to 2000Hz
- Connections are subject to 196m/s² acceleration, equivalent to 20G
One future development might see IIoT nodes being powered by these vibrations — energy harvesting technology will convert the vibration into electricity, enough to run the smaller node module.
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Filed Under: IoT applications, News