We often talk about technical trends, but it is extremely important to also look at the big picture. Why do we need smart sensors? Why do we need cloud platforms? Why do we need to look into new ways for maintenance? This often brings us back to the big trends, the megatrends of the 21st century.
Urbanization is closely linked to modernization, industrialization, and sociological processes. The current, unprecedented movement of people is forecast to continue and intensify in the next few decades.
2) Demographic changes
The demographic changes observed, especially in developed countries, over the last decades lead to higher-aging of the population, resulting in a lower availability of labor.
From Big to Small
Urbanization and demographic change ultimately lead to an engineering shortage, which needs to be compensated by things like predictive maintenance.
Less workforce leads to rising wages, higher wealth and saturated markets, which result in shorter product lifecycle of consumer goods. The industries thus need flexible machinery, which leads to a growing implementation of smart sensors.
As you see these connections can be quite complex and long, but ultimately technical development is triggered by the desire to do business in a changing society.
So, let me link the big picture to a product that has recently been launched. Automation products (PLCs, IPCs, gearboxes) all tend to fail and while mechanical equipment often follows a wear and tear pattern, which is easy to monitor and predict, but electronic equipment follows a random pattern, i.e., they break down whenever they feel like it.
But in order to predict and maintain automation equipment efficiently, data is needed - and many (low cost) sensors are needed, which can detect failure before it happens. Ideally, we are moving into the direction of smart devices, so the device, a controller, a drive, a gearbox, signals need for maintenance in advance. Here is where the Mitsubishi product, a corrosion sensor, of only 0.8mm to 1.6mm, designed for mounting on printed circuit boards, comes into play.
Mitsubishi Electric Corporation’s compact metal corrosion sensor is small enough to be mounted on printed circuit boards. The new sensor utilizes metal corrosion monitoring technology developed by Mitsubishi Electric that detects the degree of corrosion of metal components caused by corrosive gases such as sulfur compounds in the atmosphere. The deployment of multiple sensors with different levels of corrosion resistance allows the degree of corrosion to be detected in stages, helping to prevent equipment failure.