Industry 4.0 for Test and MeasurementIndustry 4.0 promises greater integration, interoperability, and information exchange. This Fourth Wave of the Industrial Revolution isn’t about a single technology such as machine learning. It’s not just about artificial intelligence (AI) or Big Data either. Rather, Industry 4.0 is a family of connected technologies that will enable industry to collect, analyze, and act upon massive amounts of diverse and distributed data. Smart sensors for precise test and measurement are essential for these advanced systems.

MTI Instruments, a global supplier of precision measurement solutions, is developing a new class of wireless and wired sensors to support digital connections for intelligent control systems. These smart sensors are small, lightweight, and easy-to-use. The wireless sensors can also integrate with Bluetooth-enabled equipment. The Digital Accumeasure, MTI’s flagship product for capacitive measurement, already provides Ethernet connectivity. As MTI continues to raise the bar on test and measurement, industry can solve tough challenges.

What are the Benefits of Smart Sensors?

For example, manufacturers that embed MTI’s next-generation wireless sensors in process control systems and machinery can gather data from hard-to-reach areas. These advanced sensors support wired connections to local area networks (LANs), too. For more efficient data acquisition (DAQ), the Digital Accumeasure already allows multiple units to be connected to the same LAN. Embedded sensors aren’t supposed to be decisionmakers, but companies can integrate these devices with AI if they chose.

Because MTI’s new sensors are Internet-enabled, they support the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) – a network of intelligent, connected devices that collect and share data and send it to a central Cloud-based service. There, this information is aggregated with other useful information and then provided to an organization’s end-users. Decisionmakers who use IIoT data can get a fuller and more accurate view of a company’s performance and take the necessary steps to improve efficiency.

Industry 4.0 Sensors for Greater Efficiency

MTI’s sensors are capacitive-based. They make it easy to communicate with industrial automation systems  and ask for their parameters. These capacitance sensors support active gap feedback control and allow users to change the response and range as necessary. For example, if a manufactured material is too thick, operators adjust the machine to meet product specifications and eliminate waste. The highly accurate data that capacitance sensors collect can reveal if these adjustments are getting the desired results.

Because MTI’s sensors are calibrated in engineering units, users don’t need to perform any additional data conversion. Greater accuracy and precision can provide a significant cost savings, too. For example, steel mills need to make guard rails to precise dimensions. If the steel is too thin, the metal must be melted down again in a process that can cost millions of dollars. By helping to eliminate waste, MTI’s smart sensors are an Industry 4.0 technology with a strong return on investment.

Getting Started with Capacitive-Based Measurement 

As a leading supplier of capacitance-based measurement systems, MTI Instruments is promoting greater integration, interoperability, and information exchange for companies in a wide range of industries. In addition to steel and semiconductor manufacturing, MTI’s capacitive sensing solutions are used in offshore wind, solar metrology, and machine measurement and balancing for turbine engines and rotating machinery. By achieving information transparency, companies in these and other industries are improving their operations.

To learn more about capacitance testing and measurement, read MTI’s Capacitance Guide for Industrial Applications. This on-line resource covers basic principles, design considerations, uses and applications. There are also links to case studies and additional on-line resources. As Industry 4.0 continues to transform the way things are made, engineers will need smart test and measurement technologies that are precise, accurate, and easy-to-use. MTI Instruments offers the right technologies for the task.