Industry 4.0: Communication between humans, machines and industrial processes
Digital networking is playing an increasingly more important role in industry and society. In the process, information and communication technologies have made it possible to network man and machine. Jenoptik develops various technologies and products that are used in an industrial environment to increase the efficiency of production processes., Cornelia Ehrler
Components communicate with machines without the intervention of humans; autonomous robots transport goods, and machine maintenance is becoming increasingly predictive. Efficient data transmission, smart manufacturing through automation and intelligent machines – all these are features of Industry 4.0.
Networking, autonomy and digitization are decisive keywords for this development. Industry 4.0 describes the automation of processes, such as data exchange in modern production plants, for example. Automated applications are becoming more and more important as a result of the amount of data and information. And not least, these versatile technologies and digitized processes enable comprehensive intelligent networking! The result: The communication between machines simplifies the individualization of products based on customer requirements without the need for human intervention.
Especially, innovations and new technological methods are the driving force behind the constantly changing production of goods. The use of autonomous machines and communication technologies has made it possible for manufacturing processes to coordinate themselves largely independently. The overall vision for the future in this context is to achieve error-free production through the use of intelligent machines.
Light in particular plays a decisive role here: Optical technologies use light as a carrier medium for information or data to enable them to be transmitted to a receiver.
Jenoptik’s three photonics divisions utilize this potential of light to provide their customers with a decisive competitive advantage. Jenoptik develops optical and micro-optical systems and precision components that allow machines to communicate with one another in production plants. The development of customized and high-quality automation solutions, measuring technologies and data transmissions guarantee a high level of efficiency and precision for industrial manufacturing processes.
Data transmission via optical communication
Data and, above all, high-performance data networks are a valuable raw material today. Optical communication refers to the transmission of signals to light waves. Efficient and reliable transmission of data and information within networks is a prerequisite for a well-functioning smart factory.
Jenoptik develops transceivers for use in industrial application solutions. The optical component is a combination of sender and receiver and converts optical signals into electrical signals. The transceivers are thus used at sending and receiving stations and harness the power of light to transmit data.
The optical transmission of information by transceivers is used, for example, in data centers where enormous amounts of data are processed. Our experts for optical communication develop a wide range of optical components at our site in Huntsville, Alabama and are your point of contact for projects.
Smarter with process automation
A key element for Industry 4.0 is process automation. Automation processes reduce manual activities, which leads to an increase in both efficiency and quality. Laser-based technologies in particular offer flexible and, above all, fast benefits. And light also plays a very important role here: A focused light or laser beam can process a wide range of materials.
Jenoptik plans and develops automation solutions to increase the degree of automation in production lines. Individual solutions as well as completely automated production lines are implemented with the goal of automating entire business processes. Here we also focus on laser technologies. Individual and powerful solutions are usually required to guarantee high precision. For this, the expert knowledge of laser material processing is combined with the integration of processing systems in process lines. Our specialists in Jena, Rochester Hills (Michigan, USA) and Barrie (Canada) are at your service to implement your automation projects.
The power of the machine
Increased flexibility and production quality – these are the goals that can be achieved by using “machine learning”. For not only humans are able to learn from our experiences – machines are also capable of learning. Artificial systems and algorithms make machines more intelligent and enable them to recognize connections between data. “Deep Learning” as a component of machine learning can change industries and, for example, make it possible for faulty parts to be detected in production lines.
Jenoptik's competence here is, primarily, image analysis. Our systems for automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) are able to recognize the origin of vehicles based on their number plate, without the need for them to be continuously reprogrammed by humans. Our “deep learning” algorithm learns from a plethora of examples. The system identifies the sequence of characters from a multitude of dark and light pixels of an image and can then assign them to a country. This achieves greater accuracy in number plate recognition. Moreover, the ANPR system can learn how to classify the vehicle, enabling it to register whether it is a car, truck or motorcycle. Our experts at the site are currently planning the identification of other characteristics of vehicles in road traffic.
About Cornelia Ehrler
Cornelia Ehrler has been working in Jenoptik’s Corporate Communications since 2010, primarily for external communications and initiatives which help Jenoptik develop into a focused photonics group. As press officer for all Jenoptik topics relating to road traffic safety, she supports the Light & Safety division in communicating orders and projects. A graduate in English Studies, she has a penchant for English literature and culture, particularly from the Celtic Fringe.