Quickly Setting Up Ad-Hoc Sensor Networks

Mesh networks use a large number of different sensors for acquiring data in a very short time. This is important, for instance, for Industry 4.0 applications. It demands a basic technology that makes it possible to set up and manage dynamic wireless networks. For this purpose, IAV has developed an end-to-end system of hardware and software.

Mesh networks need cost-effective, robust and energy-saving hardware modules. Also required is a software layer for automatic networking and secure data communication. The IAV Mesh uses existing wireless techniques for data transfer. These include Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, LoRa, 5G or NB-IoT. “In theory, there is no limit to the number of nodes, and positioning can also be done by GPS or triangulation,” explains Daniel Hess, head of department for industrial applications at IAV. “Data is transferred via a gateway to an intranet or also to the internet.”

Mesh networks are very useful when it comes to subsequently interconnecting existing production facilities on a prototype basis and without major input.

This lends itself to a variety of applications, such as monitoring production for later process optimization or practical testing before permanently installing a network.

Industry 4.0 in the glass industry

One interesting application for mesh networks is the glass industry. “Faster product cycles, innovations and customization are demanding faster response times and new methods in glass production,” says Hess. “This affects all areas from flat glass, glass fibers and glass composites to industrial glass and consumer glassware. For whichever type of production, this means that a large amount of operational and diagnostic data must be recorded and processed in heterogeneous plant structures. In the long term, the use of Industry 4.0 methods – such as data analyses, networking and process optimization and control – will definitely be a worthwhile option.

However, it is not always clear as to whether the cost and effort are all worth it.

test run with a just a mesh network installed temporarily very quickly shows companies whether they should be investing in stationary Industry 4.0 solutions.

Daniel Hess — Head of Department for Industrial Applications at IAV

Doing so, they gather initial experience in acquiring and evaluating data and, on the basis of real-life results, can make an informed decision on their further course of action. “Our aim is to provide our customers with the best possible high-performance, independent solution”, says Hess.

Pinpointing ways of optimization

IAV provides its customers with an all-encompassing system made up of process consulting, development services as well as hardware and software solutions. “We give our customers transparency by showing how Industry 4.0 can really help. Our solution helps customers to move to a new level by intermeshing processes across the board”, Hess explains.

IAV offers access to an out-of-the-box pool of ideas, combined with an extensive set of existing tools and solutions for data acquisition and analysis, modeling, data logistics, testing, algorithms, sensors and actuators, embedded software and predictive maintenance.

The article was published in automotion 02/2019, the automotive engineering magazine of IAV. Here you can order the autmotion free of charge.