What does IIoT, the Industrial Internet of Things, have to do with high-performance polymers from igus?
In its first stages, IIoT was limited to high-value, big-ticket technologies such as aircraft turbines, for which the enormous costs associated with failure justified the investment. But now there is a discernible trend towards communication-capable, intelligent devices being used to create integrated systems at the lowest level of the automation pyramid. The current development is toward integration of all “factory objects” in a smart factory into networks, and it is expected that every motion plastic component – cables, energy chains and linear plain bearings – will have full communication capability.
It’s from this context that a new breed of smart plastics has begun to emerge – especially in cables, energy chains and bearings, where intelligence is integrated by adding sensing, monitoring and communication capabilities. Adding such technologies can accurately predict the lifespan of cables used in automated assembly lines, cutting machines, electronics manufacturing, heavy robotics and material handling. Energy chains used in applications such as machine gantries, indoor cranes and water treatment plants can measure their own wear. Smart plastics can deliver Industrial Internet of Things capability, potentially increasing plant availability, maximising service life, and reducing costs with condition monitoring and predictive maintenance methods.