Frequently asked questions (FAQ)

Schmalz answers frequently asked questions about Industry 4.0. Find out also what solutions Schmalz provides for this area.

General terms relating to Industry 4.0.

What actually is Industry 4.0?

The "fourth industrial revolution" describes the transformation of production towards the intelligent factory. The increased networking of production and IT processes makes this flexible, efficient and sustainable. In the future, products will plan, control and optimize their own production process without human intervention. Humans will continue to dictate the pace, but with the best possible support in their work.

Visions and benefits of Industry 4.0

  • Production 4.0 becomes highly productive and resource-efficient
  • Individualization (batch size of 1) under efficient high volume production conditions
  • The increasing complexity of production and processes becomes manageable
  • Autonomous production units organize themselves on an ad hoc basis - the product determines its own production process

What is IoT?

The IoT, short for Internet of Things, is a system of interconnected physical and virtual objects that interact via information and communications technologies. It enables collaboration between humans and the electronic systems networked in the IoT as well as among the systems themselves.

What is EPC?

EPC stands for energy and process control. The diagnostics functions of the energy monitoring and condition monitoring modules ensure maximum process transparency and optimal control of energy consumption; the predictive maintenance module improves the gripper system’s performance and increases the overall quality.

Which products have EPC?

The following products feature energy and process control:

What is a public cloud?

A public cloud is a service that is made freely accessible, usually via the internet. All manner of data may be saved in the cloud.

What is a local cloud?

Unlike a public cloud, a local or private cloud is only accessible to a selected group of users. Companies often use this method of providing information in the interests of data protection and general IT security.

What is AOI?

AOI stands for automatic optical inspection and describes systems that use image processing techniques to recognize and retain errors in processes and goods. These systems are used in many different areas of industrial production of goods.

What is MQTT?

MQTT stands for Message Queuing Telemetry Transport and describes an open messaging protocol for machine-to-machine (M2M) communication. This messaging protocol can be used to transmit measurement values between different devices in the form of messages. This technology can be used for sensors and actuators, smartphones, and computers, among others, and is used a as a standard protocol of the IoT.

What is OPC UA?

OPC UA stands for OPC Unified Architecture, an M2M communications protocol for industry. Unlike MQTT, it is able not only to transfer machine data but also to describe it. Thus OPC UA is more complex than MQTT and is often used to connect visualizations to a superordinated controller (PLC).

What is a device description file and which exist?

Each intelligent field device has a device description file. This file contains information such as device data, process data, device functions, and so on. It consists of a main file and image files. The file can be used to connect the device to the controller. The device can then be read out by the user and the data can be processed further.

There is a device description file for each communication interface. A list of typical description files follows:

Where can I find the device description file?

A device description file corresponding to the communication interface is required for connecting the device to the controller. Schmalz provides suitable files for its intelligent field devices. They can be downloaded for each field device from our online shop on the "Documentation" tab.