High customization is a significant value of Industry 4.0, prompting regular changes in the programming of computer numerical control (CNC) machines. However, because a CNC buffer is limited, and programs are relatively big, CNC machines always take a long time to download new programs. Therefore, the stability of the data transfer is very important, especially in old machines with serial interfaces. A serial-to-Ethernet device server with a flow-control feature is normally used to stop incoming data to prevent data drop; otherwise, the dropped data has to be resent. Spending more time on data transfers means less manufacturing time. To secure data transmission, the device should provide an on-chip flow-control feature that is able to process the stoppage (Xoff) directly from a UART, which eliminates data loss when a program is changed.
An Intelligent Supervisor Meets Various Demands for Mixed-Model Production
In a mixed-model production line, a programmable controller that supports multiple functions and interfaces, such as serial interface, DI/O, and AI/O, is a huge asset. The controller helps categorize production tasks by automatically retrieving the task sequence from an MES. For example, tools are identified by an RFID tag, and the controller retrieves the production method from the MES via RESTful API and notifies all the relevant machines via an industrial protocol, such as EtherNet/IP, ProfiBus, or Modbus. The production information can be retrieved via an IT protocol, such as RESTful API.
Furthermore, a factory environment presents challenges, such as dust, surge, or vibration, which potentially can damage a controller. So, a ruggedly designed controller is a must for harsh environments