Edge Computing and 3D Smart Sensors for IIoT - Part 1

The cloud-based move to SAAS and e-commerce drove the need to generate and process data directly from the factory floor, and it was at this point that bandwidth and latency issues became a roadblock to real-time reporting. In response, smart sensors were introduced to efficiently perform computing at the “edge” of the factory network.

Edge devices reduce the data load

Edge devices reduced data loads and reported meaningful, high-level results that supplied e-commerce systems with real-time information. This approach allowed industrial organizations to analyze essential data faster by processing machine-based data closer to the source.

Industrial machines, industrial controllers, data processors, and time-series databases that aggregate data from a network of equipment and sensors are all examples of early edge technology.

Cloud vs. Edge Computing

To illustrate the difference between cloud and edge systems, consider the example in Fig. 1.

In the cloud paradigm (left), a camera sends a photo of a vehicle with a license plate to a server, and the server then reads the plate number. The server is responsible for data processing.

In the edge paradigm (right), the camera reads the license plate number, then sends only the plate number to the server for identification. The camera is processing the data at the edge.

Fig. 1 The data is processed locally in the Edge Computing illustration.

Benefits for Industrial Production

Smarter Manufacturing

Edge computing dramatically reduces system complexity by providing customization of production modes. As a result, small-quantity and multi-batch modes can replace high-volume manufacturing.

Multi-model and batch methods are leaner and yield higher quality products, with fewer errors, less downtime due to cell and tooling changeover, as well as reduced waste. Also, flexible adjustments to production plans and rapid deployment of new processes and models offer significant cost benefits to smart manufacturers.

Energy and Cost Efficiency Management

Edge computing decreases energy consumption and maintenance costs while increasing system reliability.

Stay tuned for Part 2 coming soon. In the meantime, we invite you to download our new Factory Automation Brochure to see Gocator 3D smart sensors at work in the factory environment.