Digitally integrated production sensorics enable better process control and analytics, leading to reduced emissions and energy demands as well as the creation of more sustainable and higher-value products. Sensors in the metal producing industry tend to vary in age (legacy systems, digitally retrofitted systems, new systems) and range from traditional process sensors (e.g., sensors for pressure, flow, laser-based scanners, or distance sensors) to smart sensors (e.g., vibration-based reasoning of process conditions or camera-based image processing to analyse materials or to detect process changes). The main challenge is to integrate all these diverse information sources into a central process surveillance and control system.
Within the INEVITABLE project data collection and sensor technologies have been explored on the basis of the digitalization needs of the metal producing industries. The key aspects addressed were (i) acquisition of data through new or upgraded sensors and (ii) design and setup of appropriate data communication and storage infrastructure. Digital upgrades and retrofits performed include the installation of new sensors that were not previously incorporated into the process surveillance chain. A prerequisite for all of these applications is to evaluate the capabilities needed and define the required precision, measurement frequency, availability, and practicability of the solutions. Some of the newly implemented sensorics solutions within the INEVITABLE use cases are listed within the following table.