In the Smart Factory of the future, compressed air technologies automatically communicate with connected peripheral equipment. This results in the entire plant operating with maximum energy efficiency at all times.

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BOGE Compressors has made it a development task to pave the way for the fourth industrial revolution in compressed air technology. In the Smart Factory of the future, compressed air technologies automatically communicate with connected peripheral equipment. The foundation for this is laid down in the self-describing communication protocol OPC Unified Architectures. In cooperation with users, the Bielefeld family company is developing standards for intelligent component networking. The goal is to ensure that the system adapts itself to the requirements and operates with maximum energy efficiency. New components should also simply be able to integrate into the system by “Plug-and-Pressure”.

“The intelligent networking of compressed air generators and consumers of compressed air opens up a wide range of opportunities to monitor, control and optimize the entire system topology,” says Peter Boldt, Head of Development at BOGE. As one of the first manufacturers of compressed air solutions, BOGE is working on an integrated networking approach which takes the process technologies connected to compressed air into consideration. “The communication protocol from OPC Unified Architectures (OPC UA) is, as an open standard interface for Industry 4.0 applications, one of the most promising solutions in Europe,” adds Peter Boldt.

In contrast to the usual market and manufacturer-specific bus protocols, OPC UA offers the possibility of establishing a vendor-neutral standard. The plant technology automatically undertakes the technical configuration to adjust the defined parameters to the demand-oriented design for the production of compressed air. An easy commissioning of complex compressed air systems and flexible reconfiguration are benefits of the Smart Factory. This is opening up new potential for users and plant designers to save energy. BOGE has laid the technological foundation for intelligent system networking with the top cluster ‘it's OWL’ of the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). Since 2016, BOGE developers, together with manufacturers and users of consumables, have been working on the development of a future-oriented networking standard.

At the Hanover industry trade fair 2017, BOGE showcased a technology demonstrator of intelligent networking for the first time. Based on 3D models of BOGE compressors and a control system, the Smart Compressed Air Factory of the future will be simulated. This model can also be seen at the Research and Demonstration plant SmartFactoryOWL in Lemgo from 2018.


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