IIoT platform simplifies the move to Industry 4.0


Industrial automation manufacturer Banner Engineering has introduced a new Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) product line, named Snap Signal, that captures data from the device of nearly any industrial machine and converts it to a common protocol, enabling an upgrade to Industry 4.0 and higher productivity.

Monitoring industrial equipment can be difficult. End-users may not have access to programmable logic controllers (PLCs) that contain data or may not want to risk altering these systems. Machine components such as sensors rarely speak the same language. This makes it challenging when a manufacturer wants to start monitoring their equipment to gain more insight into machine performance. Snap Signal products can be used to build a brand-agnostic IIoT platform that is composed of modular hardware and software. The system can capture and convert machine signals and protocols, such as Modbus, analogue, discrete, serial or IO-Link, among others.

A Snap Signal platform can capture both condition monitoring and process monitoring data from existing devices, such as sensors, motor controllers and lights, by using a splitter connection to monitor the signals. When used in this way it is called an ‘overlay network’, meaning signals are captured without having to disturb the existing control infrastructure, reducing both the time to deploy it and the overall risk.

Data can be sent to various locations, including a cloud dashboard or supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) system, which enables remote monitoring, or to other PLCs and human machine interfaces (HMIs). The solution is highly scalable and allows facilities to pilot an IIoT project by monitoring just one sensing point. This approach of starting small helps to manage costs and prove future return on investment with real data from the pilot. The Snap Signal portfolio includes signal converters, wireless networking, IO-Link masters and hubs and an industrial controller, all of which use industry-standard M12 connectors for simple installation. An optional cloud data platform, Banner Cloud Data Services, is available for users who do not have a dashboard solution already in place.

“Manufacturers are seeking a move to IIoT to increase productivity,” said Luke Karnas, Banner’s Director of Global Business Development. “They need data on the process improvements they are making. Instead of having workers walking around writing numbers on clipboards, Snap Signal sends data from machines 24/7. It can be implemented at any point along a data flow chain and it can take the complexity out of a move to Industry 4.0.”

Application examples include vibration monitoring systems, adding IIoT with ease, monitoring conveyor systems and setting alerts in the cloud, increasing injection moulding productivity and sending temperature data to the cloud.