The IIoT Starts from Smart Components

The brand-new products introduced by Camozzi Automation at the Hannover Messe – from the Series D valve island up to the Series PRE proportional pressure regulator and the Series 23 pneumatic cylinder with auto-cushioning – show the evolution of the Italian Group. The target is to become a supplier of increasingly integrated solutions, also capable to communicate useful information in order to monitor constantly production process performances. In short, rather than components, we are talking about key parts of interconnected cyber-physical systems.

by Silvia Crespi and Cesare Pizzorno

At the Hannover Messe trade show, Camozzi Automation and its Camozzi Digital division showcased Cyber Physical systems, jointly developed for predictive maintenance in a smart manufacturing vision, and the new intelligent components for the IIoT. Specifically, end-to-end dedicated Cyber Physical systems embed Camozzi sensors and intelligent systems and can send complete process data to management systems and to the cloud, using IIoT Gateways supplied by Advantech, Camozzi’s partner for product development.
Information gathered by these enabling technologies is analysed, in real time, by means of sophisticated proprietary algorithms and processed as detailed diagnostic reports, which clients may then use to activate in real time predictive maintenance plans for their machines, with positive effects on efficiency and costs.

The valve island integrates a predictive maintenance system
The company’s participation to the Hannover Messe was the occasion to launch some “smart” components by Camozzi: Series D valves and Series PRE proportional pressure regulator, equipped with CoilVision technology.
The Series D was created to meet the growing demand on the market’s part of advanced solutions capable of guaranteeing high quality standards and maximum flexibility. The key asset of the Series D is its capability of mixing two different valve sizes in the same island, with important advantages in terms of reduction of floorspace and costs, using a single initial electric part.
Another aspect which sets the Series D apart is the CoilVision technology, which makes it possible to monitor constantly the solenoid functional parameters. Such a diagnostic system allows, by means of a web platform with synthetic graphic indicators, an overview of such aspects as the on/off state of each valve, the number of cycles, the electrical energy consumption levels and any overheating of the coil.
“Thanks to the CoilVision technology – said Andrea Camisani, electronic engineer and hardware developer at Camozzi’s MARC (Mechatronic Application Research Center) – the valve island actually integrates a predictive maintenance system. For this purpose, Camozzi developed internally electronic boards which can receive digital signals from PLCs and convert them, by means of a proprietor communication bus, which connects the head module with the single sub-bases. Simultaneously, monitoring of the valve itself is carried out. In other words, we can not only determine blocking events (short circuit, overtemperature, overcurrent etc.), but also the general condition of the solenoid valve”.

A broader product range
The CoilVision technology has also been applied to the Series PRE proportional pressure regulator, designed to monitor the functioning of the solenoids constantly and to prevent any faults. Even in this case, data collected are sent to the cloud, in aggregate form, and made available for the customer easily by means of a dashboard. The Series PRE is available in two sizes and several configurations, including an IO-Link connection. Lastly, a version with an external sensor connection is available for applications where the pressure of aggressive liquids or gases needs to be monitored. According to Eng. Camisani, “this is an excellent tool indeed for production monitoring, which provides synthetic indexes regarding the valves condition, allowing users to schedule maintenance throughout the entire life cycle of the valves”.
Another innovative product is the DC motor regulator, the first drive developed completely within Camozzi, as regards both the hardware part, and the software part, equipped with communication interfaces. The new Series 23 pneumatic cylinders were also on display at Hannover. Compliant with the ISO 6432 standard, these components are based on an“auto-cushioning” technology (patent pending), which always guarantees optimal deceleration, ensuring a smooth movement of the cylinder, without jolts, with reduced vibrations and noise, bringing about greater reliability and constant performances over time.

Digitally advanced systems
In short, Camozzi continues its transformation path, from a manufacturer of components to a supplier of integrated systems. “We are cooperating with our subsidiaries and a few selected customers – Mr Camisani concluded – to create successful case histories which will give a boost to product evolution, from components to integrated solutions, right up to cyber-physical systems: these systems are not electromechanical or pneumatic but they are evolved from a digital standpoint. Besides carrying out handling and automation operations, systems are also self-monitoring, produce data and send them to the Cloud”. “The interconnection and digitization of the entire production process represent the main challenges as for Industry 4.0. The manufacturing industry worldwide must certainly face such challenges, now more than ever, in order to increase its competitiveness. Innovative components and intelligent systems by Camozzi will allow companies to monitor constantly the performance of production processes, planning maintenance activities more effectively and efficiently, thereby significantly reducing downtimes and operating costs”, Marco Camozzi, Managing Director at Camozzi Automation said in the end.