Automation in Industry 4.0  and the Closed-Loop Control Systems

Ido ProfilePosted by Ido Gur on Aug 31, 2020
Tags: 5G   edge computing • industry4.0 mec

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Ultra-fast automation and monitoring is the name of the game when it comes to the Industry 4.0. In fact, when we talk about industry 4.0, we are talking about the creation of a cyber physical world that designed to automate and monitor manufacturing processes and the using closed-loop controlled systems.

But how does the automatization work? And what technologies are needed to truly implement these solutions? Let’s dive in!

What Exactly is a Closed-Loop System?

In simple terms, a closed-loop control system is a system where human input is not needed. There is a desired outcome, and the system is set up to achieve it. If we think of a smart thermostat, we have a sensor that measures the temperature in the room. When it receives the data, let’s say the temperature is 75.2 F, it alerts the system of this feedback. Based on our desired temperature, the system decides whether to turn up the heating, keep the same temperature, or cool the room.

So, there is a system we want to control, an output we want to achieve, a sensor gauging the output and sending feedback, and a control system that decides on the actions needed to achieve the desired result. This process doesn’t require manual input and is thus automatic.

The Many Use-Cases for Closed-Loop Systems

A closed-loop control system is an essential feature of the automatized work process. It’s used in agriculture, quality control, manufacturing, processing plants, food packaging, construction… This system can be used to control the process and manipulate process variables, or it can function as a supervisory body ensuring quality, consistent operations, and security.

In addition to industrial applications, medical devices can greatly benefit from the closed-loop system implementation. For example, these systems can be used to measure blood sugar levels and control insulin pumps.

Closed-loop systems based on machine learning offer faster decision-making, better response times, higher efficiency, and improved security. But what will it take for these systems to become truly functional?

The Current Issues with Closed-Loop Systems Application

At the moment, industry 4.0 is still in its early stages. Cloud-based computing and 4G can be the basis for development of machine-to-machine communication, but the drawbacks negate the benefits. The whole point of automation is that it’s faster than human work. With data being sent to a remote data center and 4G latency issues, these systems are slow and unreliable.

So far, the most common way to implement closed-loop systems in industry 3.0 has been the integration of the control system and the sensor with their own computing system. The problem with this approach is that every device requires its own compute system, with different OS and software versions. Not only is this approach a nightmare to maintain, but it also increases the total cost of ownership.

The Industry 4.0 Solution

Latency has a drastic effect on the stability of the control system. To ensure both a holistic approach and fast decision-making and data communication, closed-loop control systems are best utilized when included in an edge-cloud network that operates close to the action. Factor in 5G which offers 1milisecond latency, and suddenly, we can have closed-loop smart devices that render data and make informed decisions in split seconds.

Find out more about Saguna’s edge computing solution for Industry 4.0  and 5G technologies, by calling us today.