Industry Article

The Importance of Power Electronics in IIoT for Smart Manufacturing

November 02, 2023 by Eric Whitley, L2L

Next-generation manufacturing relies on a continuous flow of data and, therefore, reliable power for advanced control, operational efficiency, and predictive maintenance.

Advancements in Industrial IoT (IIoT) have significantly transformed smart manufacturing. Now, IIoT devices heavily rely on power electronics to ensure their efficient operation. Recognizing the relationship between IIoT and power electronics is crucial for anyone in the field of modern manufacturing.


The Energy Quandary in IIoT

Smart manufacturing places immense emphasis on endurance. IIoT devices must often run for extended durations without hitches. Frequent recharging or maintenance breaks aren't just inconveniences; they can lead to substantial production losses. Thus, enduring power solutions have become a priority in this rapidly advancing landscape.


Smart manufacturing requires uninterrupted access to data. Image used courtesy of Adobe


Data transmission stands at the heart of smart manufacturing. A seamless flow of information ensures the machinery works in unison, optimizing production outcomes. However, power disruptions can cause significant data flow interruptions, leading to potential inefficiencies. Recognizing and addressing these challenges is essential for maintaining the smooth functioning of IIoT systems.


Current Solutions: A Closer Look

Battery longevity remains a concern for today's IIoT devices. While innovations have come a long way, many devices still struggle to maintain power over extended periods. Operational downtimes due to limited battery life can hamper productivity. This calls for more robust power solutions.

Energy harvesting holds immense promise for IIoT devices. Yet, current mechanisms often fall short, failing to tap into the vast energy reservoirs available. The systems might be overlooking ambient sources or not optimizing energy storage — but these inefficiencies can curb the effectiveness of IIoT systems. Refining these harvesting strategies is thus essential for future growth.

Marrying power electronics with IIoT components isn't always smooth sailing. Discrepancies between these components can lead to inefficiencies and even disrupt data transmission. Manufacturers and developers need to invest time and resources in ensuring a seamless integration process. Addressing these integration challenges early leads to more cohesive and efficient IIoT systems.


Pioneering the Future: Enhanced Solutions

The next frontier in power electronics brings solutions specifically tailored for IIoT. These cutting-edge technologies not only promise enhanced energy efficiency but also excellent integration capabilities. Adopting such advanced solutions can significantly elevate the performance of IIoT systems in smart manufacturing.

Harnessing energy smartly is crucial for optimizing IIoT. Innovative solutions now draw from a variety of sources, including solar energy and ambient vibrations. These advanced harvesting techniques also focus on adept storage, ensuring prolonged device operations. Exploring these innovations can be the key to unlocking the next phase of IIoT efficiency.


Cohesive Systems for Seamless Operations

The connected worker platform stands as a testament to the advances in IIoT. Such platforms enable workers to interact more efficiently with machinery, streamlining operations. They represent the harmony between human intervention and machine operations. With such platforms in place, smart manufacturing can reach unparalleled efficiency levels.


A connected worker platform topology. Image used courtesy of L2L (click to enlarge)


Uninterrupted data flow is the backbone of smart manufacturing. Achieving this requires a seamless integration of various IIoT components. Such integration ensures that devices communicate effectively without lags or disruptions. Streamlining data can lead to more synchronized and efficient manufacturing processes.

Safety and efficiency walk hand in hand in the world of smart manufacturing. IIoT devices, with their seamless data flow and integration, play a crucial role in ensuring both. By minimizing operational hitches and maintaining a consistent stream of information, these devices reduce risks and enhance productivity. Prioritizing these two elements is essential for the continued growth of the industry.


Market Innovations: A Spectrum of Solutions

The technological landscape of IIoT is evolving continuously, offering a plethora of market innovations. Within this spectrum, certain solutions stand out for their transformative potential in smart manufacturing.

The trailblazing power electronics offerings

  • Sensor nodes powered by energy harvesting: Sensor nodes eliminate the traditional constraints of power sourcing. They draw energy from their surroundings, making them both versatile and resilient. These advancements are a significant stride toward self-sustaining IIoT systems.
  • Ultra-low power electronics: Ultra-low power electronics are redefining the efficiency metrics of IIoT devices. Consuming minimal energy while delivering optimal performance, these devices are vital in reducing operational costs. Their integration can substantially elevate the sustainability quotient of smart manufacturing.
  • Solid-state batteries: Solid-state batteries present a revolutionary shift in energy storage for IIoT. Unlike their conventional counterparts, these batteries offer longer lifespans and enhanced safety. Their integration into IIoT systems can significantly reduce maintenance intervals and boost overall device longevity.

Beyond the innovations themselves, the support and resources accompanying them play a significant role. Many companies now offer extensive training, empowering engineers to harness the full potential of their IIoT solutions. Such initiatives not only ensure seamless adoption but also contribute to the prolonged effectiveness of the integrated systems.


Real-World Implementations

Vibration sensors on manufacturing lines are essential for ensuring optimal machine operations. One exemplary model uses advanced power electronics to consistently monitor machinery health. Powered by energy harvesting, this sensor negates the need for regular battery replacements. With the ability to detect even the minutest of anomalies, these sensors can preempt potential breakdowns, saving both time and resources for manufacturing units.

Stereax P180 is an example of innovation in solid-state battery technology. Specifically designed for industrial IoT and automotive applications, the P180 offers a slim profile, making it ideal for integration in compact devices.


Stereax P180 solid-state battery for IIoT applications. Image used courtesy of Ilika


What sets it apart is its extended lifespan and rapid charging capabilities. These benefits can be attributed to its advanced solid-state electrolyte design. Such features not only reduce maintenance demands but also assure consistent power delivery for IIoT applications.


Reflecting on Power's Role in IIoT

Looking forward, the potential of integrating advanced power electronics in smart manufacturing is immense. With these innovations, the industry can expect unparalleled energy efficiency, seamless data transmission, and heightened operational capabilities. As we navigate the evolving landscape of IIoT, it's clear that power solutions will continue to play an instrumental role in shaping the future of manufacturing.

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