A brief Review of our Attendance at SPS 2022

18. November 2022
John Harrison

The talking point of SPS, the Smart Production Solutions show in Nuremberg, Germany last week was efficiency of operations. The rise of robots and increased digitalization are delivering many of these operational efficiencies. However, increasingly sophisticated electronics can mean increased EMI and digital equipment is more susceptible to EMI. Products from Schaffner are essential to the safe and reliable operation of factory automation equipment.

Increased Digitalization

        Increased digitalization is delivering the efficiency of operations that was the talk of SPS. Digital transformation is not new to factory automation, however whilst adoption of digital technologies amongst consumers has been rapid and almost insatiable, in industrial settings the fourth industrial age, has not been embraced at the same pace. 
        In order to maintain production efficiency through a period of labour shortage, the pandemic accelerated the adoption of digital tools to enable transitioning from human operation to automated operation to enhance the value of productivity. The latest digital monitoring and control systems that enable intelligent operation such as this, can be more susceptible to EMI that older technologies.

        Cobot Safety

        The proliferation of all types of robots and robotics to production lines continues. Collaborative robots (cobots) are improving productivity in production lines as well as improving quality and reducing costs working side by side with humans. 
        As humans and machines work in close partnership it is vital to consider safety and ensure risks are mitigated. Equipment designers must consider electromagnetic emissions and immunity to interference to comply with electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) requirements. The risk is of course a malfunction caused by EMI could cause unprogrammed or unexpected movement of the robot, at best some unscheduled downtime to resolve, and at worst physical injury for humans working near cobots.

        Troublesome Devices

        With a larger margin allowed by EMC standards in industrial settings, the noise and interference may overwhelm more modern digital equipment. Increased use of wireless communications systems, Radio frequency identification (RFID) tags or computerized equipment make increasingly important to filter out the noise of electromagnetic interference. 
        EMI issues will most often not be addressed until problems occur. This could be anomalous performance of a device, or nearby electronic devices’ operation being disrupted. When EMI issues emerge, leveraging EMI filters can be one of the quickest and most cost-effective methods of reducing conducted emissions, as a by-product of the reduction in conducted emissions it is possible to reduce radiated emissions and immunity problems.

        Reliable, Safe and Compliant

        EMI filters can be a proactive tool for preventing damage and interference to sensitive equipment. As the mix of factory automation electronics becomes more diverse and complex, there are EMI filter types from Schaffner that can be rapidly customized to meet individual needs. In an increasingly digitalized industrial world filtering out the noise and interference for safe, reliable and compliant factory automation, has never been so important.