IIoT Penetrates Metal Fabrication with Asset Management and Environmental Monitoring

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Overview

An automotive manufacturer approached Sealevel seeking an Industrial Internet of Things metal fabrication solution. Their primary concerns were asset reliability management and environmental monitoring. Their plants use a semi-automated welding process that employs both skilled welders and programmed robotic tools. Although semi-automatic welding removes the highest risks from employees, it can increase downtime instances, especially without proper maintenance. Moreover, it cannot completely eradicate dangers such as toxic air pollution, unsafe temperatures and explosions. This company sought a solution that would provide predictive maintenance and mitigate risks of operating conditions.

The company needed an IIoT system that updated their current operations by adapting existing equipment and systems. The application needed to run on a wireless area network due to poor cellular reception in the building. They requested a scalable, user friendly solution with a cloud Software-as-a-Service platform. The solution also needed to provide notifications for remote monitoring and critical system remote actions.

Key Application Requirements

  • Monitor air quality and temperature, integrating existing systems
  • Record and relay data to a cloud operating system for predictive maintenance
  • Trigger custom relay commands

The Sealevel Solution

For this automotive manufacturer, Sealevel designed a SeaConnect 370 and SeaCloud solution.

For environmental monitoring, engineers placed SeaConnect 370 devices in the welding workspaces. Multiple temperature sensors connected to the 1-Wire bus collect data in 10-second intervals. If these sensors capture a temperature that surpasses the upper threshold, supervisors receive a notification of the degraded conditions. Two analog, wired air pollution sensors trigger customized relay commands: during periods of poor air quality, indicated by crossed thresholds, operators can remotely switch on a ventilation fan via the 370’s relay toggle function.

For asset management, a 370 integrated with the robotic system for IIoT monitoring. The 370 collected data on weld temperatures and job cycles, sending it to and archiving it on the cloud platform. It is also equipped with vibration and acoustic sensors. If the system detects atypical noises, it can relay a warning notification to machine operators on their mobile platforms. Similarly, if weld temperatures or vibration readings fluctuated outside of the accepted zones, skilled technicians could update and maintain the welding machines before a critical error occurred.

By logging this information on their SeaCloud computing platform, they harnessed data to decrease injuries, liability and labor costs while increasing output and employee satisfaction regarding safety.