3 Trends That Will Define Industrial IoT
We recently attended the Hardware Pioneers IoT showcase in London, an extremely popular annual event that serves as a valuable platform via which aspiring new start-ups within the IoT space can gain the attention of investors and potential customers, as well as finding supplier partners. Having been impressed by the 2017 showcase last summer, we were very keen to be involved again this year. It was once again filled with inspirational new ideas from a variety of companies, all demonstrating a great deal of creativity and engineering innovation in solving real-world problems through the implementation of IoT technology.
1 – Increased Efficiency
Although IoT encompasses a diverse array of application areas, we are seeing the most significant opportunities emerging from the industrial sector – also called Industry 4.0. Here it will be pivotal in making factory production lines and processing more efficient – enabling output to be increased via more widespread use of automated equipment, and giving heightened visibility when it comes to carrying out repair and maintenance work, as well as avoiding the expense and disruption caused by downtime. The capturing of huge quantities of data from sensors distributed throughout the factory or production plant will be the basis for this, and will call for supporting components that are optimised accordingly.
2 – Operational Longevity
Overall cost, space limitations and operational longevity will all be key factors that need to be taken into consideration when it comes to industrial IoT. Converting an existing production operation into a fully or partially automated system will take a lot of time and detailed planning to ensure a successful transition. There will also be substantial investment needed in the equipment itself and training of staff, all of which would likely take place in parallel with the existing setup as not to affect current productivity and output.
3 – Dealing with EMI
Electro-magnetic interference (EMI) is going to be a major concern for IoT systems too, especially in uncompromising industrial environments. As the vast majority of IoT equipment will rely on wireless communication, antennas will of course be featured. Sensitive electronic circuitry needs to be protected from sources of EMI in the vicinity and the integrity of the data acquired must be maintained.
Connectivity solutions to match industrial IoT demands
In general, each IoT node within a network will incorporate some form of sensor or input device. Because of cost concerns, in most cases off-the-shelf sensors will be used, with pin array connections to their respective PCBs.
Harwin’s new SYCAMORE Contacts have been designed to fit two of the more common sizes of sensor pins available on the market today – namely those with 1mm and 1.5mm diameters. Instead of soldering a sensor device to the PCB directly, the tape-and-reel supplied contact sockets can be surface mount soldered with the rest of the PCB through an automated pick-and-place process, then the sensor attached later. Consequently, the sensor is kept away from the extreme heat caused by soldering and the risk of damage is mitigated. Furthermore, if a faulty sensor is identified it can easily be removed and replaced. Due to the nature of the SYCAMORE Contact’s design (with both bottom and top entry options), all components can easily be soldered to the same side of the board if the plan is to have a single-sided PCB.
The 1.27mm pitch Archer Kontrol connectors are also ideal for industrial IoT systems. They are cost-effective but robust board-to-board connectors that can be supplied in either vertical or right-angled configurations, with 12 to 80 pin counts and in a variety of board stacking heights. They are fully shrouded and polarised, so they can cope with heavy vibrations and are suitable for blind mating in difficult to access industrial automation systems.
To address EMI concerns we offer a range of versatile shield clips and cans for board level shielding. As well as ensuring strong EMI protection, they are quick and simple to deploy, and can easily be removed when servicing is required.
We know that the development of game-changing industrial IoT products will begin down at the component level, that’s why we create new products to provide a solution before there is a problem.