Making the most of your Industry 4.0 investments with wireless power – zimo news


With Industry 4.0 booming, many companies are stepping up to deploy advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence, Internet of Things (IoT), 5G connectivity, sensors and robotics. And for good reason. According to a 2020 Deloitte studyOrganizations with a comprehensive Industry 4.0 strategy significantly outperform their counterparts with no or incoherent strategies.

About 90 percent of the organizations surveyed with a comprehensive Industry 4.0 strategy experienced annual revenue growth of at least 5 percent in the most recent year.

analysts McKinsey & Company It is not uncommon to speak of a 30-50% reduction in machine downtime, a 10-30% increase in throughput, a 15-30% increase in labor productivity, and an 85% increase in forecast accuracy in a digital factory.

Wire and Battery Restrictions

Many current Industry 4.0 technologies are characterized by complex, expensive, bulky and sometimes dangerous wiring and connector solutions. For example, collaborative robots and autonomous mobile robots and vehicles (AMRs and AMVs) are often powered by high-efficiency batteries or wires and power lines.

Over 60% of Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) setup costs go to cabling and installation. Regularly charging or replacing batteries can also quickly increase opportunity costs. Equipment that loses power can cause a chain reaction that affects the productivity of the entire plant. Not to mention that identifying and replacing a dead battery in a manufacturing facility is a logistical nightmare.

There are also safety concerns, as damaged lithium-ion batteries present a considerable fire hazard. Damage can occur immediately or over a period of time due to physical shock, exposure to specific temperatures, and improper charging.

Unfortunately, the alternatives aren’t much better: Exposed wires and sockets are also particularly dangerous in industrial settings. Furthermore, Industry 4.0 technologies are, by definition, about connecting and sharing data. Therefore, they need sufficient power and must be able to transfer data quickly and seamlessly at all times.

Batteries simply don’t provide this capability. It doesn’t make sense to connect a battery powered device to a cable for 24 hours of data transfer.

Automation requires wireless freedom

With the influx of factory automation over the past few decades, having a bunch of machines that require a lot of power and data transfer presents big problems. Fortunately, wireless power has evolved along with magnetic induction, enabling simultaneous contactless power and data transfer, which is ideal for Industry 4.0 technologies that require battery life and reliability.

Industrial robots and drones should be able to perform tasks autonomously and charge quickly. Advanced wireless charging technology greatly simplifies the docking process by allowing a high degree of misalignment, so the robot can simply roll up onto the wireless charging pad and charge.

In addition, wireless chargers take up minimal space in the factory environment and even allow the robot to “move” for charging during various stationary times in its operation, such as loading, queuing, etc. This innovation eliminates the need for human intervention, which means Workers can focus on higher-priority tasks or very complex and expensive contact charging stations.

Battery Management and Device Safety

Wireless power can improve efficiency by allowing better battery control. The battery charging process can be optimized and monitored to ensure each device is charged under optimal conditions, including voltage, current and time.

This extends battery life and avoids expensive replacements. Additionally, with wireless charging, robot users don’t have to worry about their operations being interrupted because the robot doesn’t charge properly or a component fails, so they can realize even greater productivity gains without incurring unexpected costs.

Cordless power is also safer because it eliminates pogo pins and other components associated with traditional galvanized connections that are prone to sparking, corrosion, and other hazards that can lead to fires. Additionally, many industrial use cases involve dynamic or outdoor environments with exposure to water, mud, dust, and chemicals.

Wireless charging technology is now so powerful that it works even in the harshest conditions.

Improve 5G connectivity quickly and cost-effectively

5G is the foundation of the smart factory. This next-generation mobile communications standard offers higher reliability, enhanced security controls and reduced latency. All of these capabilities are essential for IoT technologies to effectively communicate with each other and act on critical information generated throughout the facility.

Additionally, 5G services must provide reliable data and power transmission in all types of terrain and environments, but interference from windows, walls, and other surfaces often limits or delays 5G deployment.

Instead of wasting time and money drilling into building surfaces or traversing miles of electrical wires, organizations can install their own 5G repeaters with wireless power to improve the efficiency and reliability of 5G network coverage throughout the facility.

Wireless power technology has evolved to enable higher power levels and can self-calibrate over a distance to accommodate walls, windows, and other surfaces of varying thickness, including non-metallic brackets and high-metal environments. The same goes for installing smart security cameras, thermostats or sensors.

These should be installed on the outside of doors, windows and walls while being powered from the inside. Wireless power enables organizations to overcome building constraints or unstable environmental factors to install connected devices quickly and cost-effectively.

Manufacture with maximum ROI

Adopting Industry 4.0 strategies and technologies is critical for manufacturers to remain competitive and resilient in today’s global economy. Batteries, power cords, and Wi-Fi are simply not enough to support the explosion of data and connected devices brought about by the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

Therefore, if organizations want to make the most of their Industry 4.0 investments, advanced wireless power technology is a must.

Fortunately, the wireless power industry has matured and increased penetration of industrial applications, helping to grow the wireless power market to over $180 billion by 2030 at a CAGR of 30%. Now more than ever, wireless power and charging solutions are a key element in the successful implementation of Industry 4.0 strategies and factories of the future.

Image Credits: Oleksandr Pidvalnyi; Pixels; Thanks!

Aya Kanter

Aya has over 15 years of experience in multidisciplinary product development, image processing and data analysis. She currently works for Powermat, a leader in wireless power, as Vice President of Product. Previously, she held various product management and product marketing positions at leading global companies such as Applied Materials and NICE. Aya holds a BA in Biomedical Engineering and an MBA in Technology Management from Tel Aviv University.

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