The emergence of high performance, intelligent industrial computer solutions has led to the rise of smart manufacturing. The use of robotics and machine vision in warehouses and production lines has resulted in higher efficiency and quality product output, as well as less waste of raw materials. It also lessened the need for human labor due to the machines’ ability to examine items on the production line and accurately detect defects faster. There has been significant process improvements in factories that led to more productivity and faster logistics fulfillment. Predictive maintenance, which involves monitoring the condition of machines and “predicting” when the machines will start to fail, has allowed companies to conduct maintenance on them in advance to eliminate the risk of costly downtimes.
The building blocks for smart manufacturing involves the right software, as well as versatile, feature-rich industrial and highly reliable computer hardware with purpose-built features such as PoE ports for connection with cameras. Some offer support to protocols such as EtherCAT, allowing for better machine-to-machine communications. Some offer rich interfaces for connections to sensors and other devices. The concept of smart factory has become a reality with the development of more advanced hardware solutions.
Computer Solutions for Smart Factory
Axiomtek, a leading design and manufacturing company of industry-specific computer solutions, has developed its expertise in the industry for the past 30 years and created many advanced industrial computer solutions for OEM/ODMs and smart factory systems integrators that are versatile and easy to integrate. For example, one of the many advanced fanless embedded systems purpose-built for smart factory, the eBOX671-521-FL, is designed to be future-proofed and easy to deploy. It can be used as an edge computing controller and is a great choice for robotics, AI, deep learning and vision-related applications with GPU computing capabilities and its 4-CH PoE ports and rich interfaces are ideal for sensor connections. The eBOX671-521-FL offers scalable Intel® CPU choices and an option of enhancing performance with the MXM 3.1 Type A slot for interconnecting a GPU module, an ultimate way to double its capabilities for performance and to include enhanced graphical display. It also comes with Axiomtek’s proprietary intelligent remote monitoring software, the AXView 3.0. Our video showcases our solution eBOX solution and its capabilities.
Another example of a system designed for smart factory use is the highly expandable and easy to customize vision controller, the IPS962-512-PoE. This feature-rich computer has four PoE GbE LAN ports for camera interfaces and an integrated real-time vision I/O that includes 16-CH isolated DIO. The IPS962-512-PoE’s scalable CPUs, great expansion capability and modularized design makes it a versatile choice to meet the requirements of many projects.
IIoT Gateway to Enhance the Bottom Line
Axiomtek also offers a flexible Internet of Things (IoT) gateway controller, the ICO500-518. Its scalable, modular design with plug-in I/O modules offers a cost-effective and fast way to customize this feature-rich, compact controller. The ICO500-518 offers many connectivity options and various useful features that include wide operating temperature and wide power input ranges for reliable operation in harsh factory environments. The gateway allows for IoT connectivity through the cloud, better analytics and learning, and also enhanced machine-to-machine communications. This gateway solution can help improve productivity level and overall operational performance, reduce costs and ultimately increase profitability.
Human Machine Interface Considerations
Smart factory operations rely heavily on the use of human machine interfaces (HMI) such as touch panel PCs, to control specific production functions. Axiomtek offers a wide range of HMI, including multi-touch panel computers and industrial-grade displays. The touch panel computer options are comprehensive, ranging from stainless steel, heavy-duty to light fanless models in our GOT series. Notable is the rugged GOT3177T-311-FR, a 17-inch SXGA TFT flat, resistive touch panel computer with modularized design for flexible and fast customization. It offers dual-display capability, and with its widescreen format, the HMI extends its visible areas and enables users to view more than one program window side-by-side, increasing productivity and efficiency. The GOT3177T-311-FR is durable, with an IP65-rated bezel, extended operating temperature of 0°C to +60°C and up to 1G vibration. It can also be equipped with an optional PCIe riser card expansion slot to allow for more customizations.
Our industrial touch display choices are also comprehensive. An example is the P6157W-V2. It features a 15.6-inch WXGA TFT 400 nits LCD with projective capacitive multi-touch and is NEMA 4/12 (IP65) compliant. It offers a full range screw-type, lockable AC-in and optional 24V DC-in for extra secure operations.
The Road to Project Deployment Success
Axiomtek’s embedded systems, vision controllers, IoT gateway controllers and all-in-one touch panel computer products are made to support your project success. As a customer-focused organization, we also believe in personalized, “take the extra miles” service model to help our customers succeed. Our experienced support teams include design, application, hardware and software engineers as well as project managers, product managers, R&D and additional local resources. The teams are accustomed to smart manufacturing applications and demanding projects. They continue to get high ratings from our customers for their customer-centric approach in helping our customers design, customize and deploy their projects as well as with post-deployment support.