Every day, we at SYS TEC electronic work with a wide variety of technologies. Some are well-known and common, others are rather secret favorites. However, they all have one thing in common: They are highly specialized tools that make our work easier and contribute to the success of customer projects. Which technologies we use and how we work with them, you will learn in the following.
M2M or machine-to-machine - direct communication and data exchange between devices is indispensable nowadays. The majority of industrial applications use classic and proven fieldbus systems such as Modbus, CANopen, etc. However, if communication is not only to be available within the production hall, more modern interfaces and protocols must be used.
One of these is MQTT (Message Queuing Telemetry Transport). It enables a secure and encrypted transport and can cover any distance via Internet or local networks. When communicating with MQTT, a distinction is made between the roles of broker and client. The Broker manages all incoming and outgoing data, while the Clients can send data to and receive data from the Broker.
For this purpose, the Client subscribes ("subscribed") to corresponding topics and publishes ("published") his own data under his own topics. A client only receives the data that it subscribed to. The use of MQTT is simple, but at the same time very reliable and still allows a high level of security via user administration and encryption.
Our work with MQTT
We at SYS TEC electronic Team work with the open network protocol, because it can be integrated into almost any system really easily. We have been working with MQTT since 2017 and use it for most applications. When recording climate and energy data, for example, data is recorded via Modbus, a serial interface on the sysWORXX CTR-700. Pre-processed, they are available to an MQTT broker for further processing, who can transfer them very conveniently to a local or cloud-based database if required. Internally we use MQTT for communication within assemblies. This allows data to be conveniently and securely exchanged between processes developed in different programming languages.
Microcontrollers and other embedded systems have become increasingly powerful in recent years. To use these devices without an operating system is often not reasonable, because neither the entire hardware capacity can be used nor the full potential can be exploited. In this case, experts fall back on various operating systems - including Linux. In addition to the obvious advantages, such as multitasking, it offers further advantages, such as a modular design and easy expansion with additional software.
Our work with Linux
Many developers swear by it and our team has also been working with Linux for many years. It is used both as an operating system for customer projects and for our own products. Compared to Windows, it can be easily ported and adapted to various target hardware due to its modular structure. This is possible because the code of the Linux kernel and most distributions is publicly available. The software can therefore be precisely matched to the hardware to create a robust and reliable overall system.
The Linux distribution Debian is used on the sysWORXX CTR-700, for example. In addition to the device drivers developed by us, which make all interfaces accessible, new software can be installed with Linux at any time. It is also possible for users to develop their own applications in various programming languages (C, C++, Java, Java Script, Python, ...) for and on the device without much effort.
On the platform of the sysWORXX CTR-700 we also use the distribution Yocto for customer projects. This lightweight is specifically adapted to dedicated functionalities for a specific application. This gives developers and suppliers better control and a basis for update procedures. The reproducible builds enable projects with large quantities of the same devices to be rolled out smoothly.
In order to avoid cost-intensive downtimes and to maintain in advance, a permanent monitoring of the machine data is recommended. This is possible, for example, by analysing structure-borne noise.
The vibrations generated by a machine (generated by shafts, bearings, etc.) are recorded via attached sensors and the respective sensor data are processed and evaluated by means of an analysis procedure. Especially vibration frequencies, which are generated by the individual machine components, can be detected and evaluated with this method. Damage to the components thus becomes visible through visually mapped frequencies long before the machine fails.
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Our work in the field of structure-borne sound monitoring
With the main controller sysWORXX CTR-700, which acts as an edge controller, and the measuring module sysWORXX SSM-100, our team at SYS TEC electronic developed a compact solution for structure-borne sound analysis. The SSM-100 uses acceleration sensors to record the vibrations directly at the machine and calculates the frequency spectrum using Fast Fourier transformation. Using this spectrum, the individual vibrations generated by the machine can be visualised. If damage occurs in the machine, for example a bearing crack, this can be recognised in a changed frequency spectrum.
Up to six channels can be analysed simultaneously, for example, to record the three spatial axes individually at two measuring points. The frequency range extends from 1 Hz to 1 kHz. The transformation and filter algorithms used are flexible and can be adapted to individual requirements. Furthermore, this solution can be combined with other standard sensors and actuators (e.g. temperature, energy consumption, humidity, ...).
In this way a comprehensive overall picture of the machine or plant status is created. This enables our customers to extend the machine analysis on plants of different ages, for example also with regard to energy monitoring.
...microcontrollers and other embedded devices are often used without an operating system. They always perform their tasks in a fixed order and therefore do not use multitasking. The potential of existing technology therefore often simply remains unused. However, modern applications require the use of the complete hardware potential. In this case an appropriate operating system is required. For embedded devices FreeRTOS is the ideal choice here. It is slim, offers the possibility of multitasking, allows various memory management options and is available for a wide range of microcontroller families.
Our work with FreeRTOS
At SYS TEC electronic, FreeRTOS is an integral part of our microcontroller-based solutions, which are used in customer projects and our own products. The decisive advantage is the possibility to give the microcontrollers the ability to multitask in order to minimize waiting and idle times. The overall system can thus be significantly improved in terms of latency and deterministics. For the execution of certain tasks it is necessary to wait longer for data sets. Using FreeRTOS, the system does not have to block and is able to perform other tasks in parallel without "wasting" time.
A practical application example of FreeRTOS can be found in our sysWORXX SSM-100 module in connection with structure-borne sound analysis. While the module waits for the acceleration data recorded autonomously by the hardware, complex calculations of the previous series of measurements are simultaneously performed and sent via Ethernet. Thus the operating time of the module is fully utilised.
Flexible memory management is another factor for use in SYS TEC electronic development. Because it can be used either dynamically or statically. The dynamic variant is easier to use, but it carries the risk of runtime errors, for example due to memory leaks. If static memory management is chosen, processes can be planned and executed optmially. This ensures a more efficient use of memory, while at the same time the application can work faster and more reliably.
... Coming soon
"Terra Solutions offers its customers the full range of services for a successful transition to state-of-the-art industrial IoT (IIoT). We work closely and successfully with SYS TEC electronic to integrate machines, sensors, PLCs and IoT gateways for a successful overall solution "
Terra Solutions provides its customers end-to-end IIoT solutions incorporating both the TeamViewer IoT cloud platform solution and sysWORXX CTR-700 industrial controller/gateway. SYS TEC works closely with Terra Solutions to integrate machines, sensors, PLCs and IoT gateways for overall solution success!