vBox – Retrofitting for Industrie 4.0

Given regular maintenance, machine tools with high-precision durable mechanical modules can be used effectively for years in high-tech sectors such as the automotive or aerospace industries. Requirements relating to sensor integration, control technology and networking have changed enormously in the course of the on-going developments related to Industry 4.0. As a consequence, the limitations of conventional machines become evident as soon as any attempt is made to integrate them within smart production networks.

The Fraunhofer IPT developed the vBox in order to eliminate the need for companies to replace machines and equipment which are still in perfect working order before the end of their natural tool life: The vBox provides production systems with networking capabilities, equipping them for Industry 4.0 and saving machinery operators considerable costs – both in serial and in single-part production.

How can the vBox help?

Industrie 4.0 entails the use of both external sensors and those integrated within machinery to record and synchronize data with the highest levels of precision. The information obtained, must be fed into a connected network in real time in order to guarantee an immediate, autonomous reaction on the part of the system.

The vBox developed by the Fraunhofer IPT complies with all current industrial standards: The compact system can synchronize both positional data and input/output data with information received from the sensors and display the outcome for the user on demand – irrespective of the control technology used.

Top-quality, machine-related data and information as to force, structure-borne sound or acceleration are transferred in real time, so that any malfunctions at critical points in the process can be detected and operations optimized without delay. This provides a basis on which companies can even plan and optimize schedules for operators and service staff individually.

Ramping up a new serial production line, monitoring processes for manufacturing high-value components or carrying out predictive sub-assembly maintenance are just a few examples of immediately apparent vBox uses. The complete integration of the vBox within existing production control systems enables it to make a major contribution to transparent manufacturing as envisaged by the Industrie 4.0 strategy.

Technical data - vBox

  • 4 x analog-input (+-10V, 1MOhm, DC-80kHz)
  • 4 x analog-input (+-10V, 16kOhm, 1Hz-80kHz)
  • 2 x high-speed-analog-input with integrated FFT (+-5V, 50Ohm, DC-5MHz)
  • 4 x encoder (1Vss, TTL oder 11mAss)
  • 3 x digital output 5V
  • 3 x digital output 24V
  • 3 x digital-input 5V
  • 3 x digital-input 24V
  • 100 kHz real time measurement
  • <100 ns clock synchronization
  • 200 Mbit/s ethernet
  • 30 vBoxen can be interconnected