SICK has established a new web-based platform, SICK IntegrationSpace, to be the home for its growing data-based digital software and services portfolio. Seen as a key strategic development for the company, its aim is to align the operating efficiency goals of its customers in automated factory, process and logistics with enterprise-wide business improvement systems.
As the distribution channel for a modular portfolio of digital tools, services and cloud-based applications, SICK IntegrationSpace will enable users to vertically integrate sensor data from device through to the Cloud, creating transparency for users both to the sensors themselves, and the data they generate.
Though SICK IntegrationSpace, data from SICK sensors and other third-party devices becomes a valuable raw material to be collected, represented and manipulated using the appropriate web-based service.
All SICK IntegrationSpace modules are non-sector specific and are designed to work seamlessly with SICK’s sensor technology portfolio and its AppSpace software framework to serve the company’s wide-ranging customer-base across factory, process and logistics automation.
A range of asset-focused digital services are among the key foundation modules included in the initial launch:
- The SICK Installed Base Manager database smartphone app
- The SICK AssetHub digital-twin asset management system
- The SICK LiveConnect real-time access capability from sensor to cloud
- The SICK Monitoring Box real-time analysis and condition monitoring tool.
Neil Sandhu, SICK’s UK Product Manager for Imaging, Measurement and Ranging explains :
“The modular concept of SICK IntegrationSpace allows you to subscribe only to the services you use. You can connect your SICK devices in three simple steps: Firstly, create a virtual representation (digital twin) of your device, then pair the real device with the virtual representation. Finally, via the virtual device, manage how the data is routed and forwarded to other SICK data applications, such as individual dashboards, digital maintenance services, as well as to your third-party dashboards or business improvement systems.”
Customers may choose to start their IntegrationSpace journey by using the SICK Installed Base Manager smartphone app to build a database with fingertip access to information about both SICK and third-party installed devices. By simply tagging the 2D code label on the SICK device, users can collect data on their entire installed sensor inventory. The SICK Installed Base Manager also enables non-SICK devices to be added.
For every SICK device, the App will automatically detect and log the serial number and its age, assign it to the machine and plant, with the option to add photos and the exact GPS location. Individual sensors can then be located quickly using the search function, with quick access to technical data and product manuals. All stored device data can be exported for use in the customer’s own systems.
A key foundation of the IntegrationSpace platform, the SICK AssetHub is a web-based enterprise asset management (EAM) that enables users to manage a digital twin of their assets along their entire life cycles. The AssetHub presents a feature-rich and interactive view of all sensors, systems and other devices.
The SICK AssetHub evaluates device data so that maintenance happens at the right times, software and firmware are up to date and that inventories are well planned and optimised. The AssetHub also provides transparency for SICK field services to support customers effectively and enables maintenance programmes to be optimised.
In order to access the virtual representation of the sensor and its data, SICK uses LiveConnect to deliver a standardised connection from an edge gateway, such as the SICK SIM1012 or the TDC-E, to the SICK Asset Hub. This visualises the sensor status, thereby providing a foundation that opens up new opportunities for optimising plant availability and process efficiency. The LiveConnect service creates a digital trail linking hardware to SensorApp, and to the Cloud.
The SICK Monitoring Box allows for the early detection of status changes in sensors, machines, and plants. It enables visualization of data in a browser-based dashboard for condition monitoring and real time analysis. Integration with sensors is facilitated through standard SensorApps for SICK devices and implemented via the SICK cloud, or at a customer’s premises.
Process changes can be tracked directly from devices and users have real-time access to sensor parameters, for example whether pre-set limits have been exceeded. Alarms and notifications can be set up, and historical data and events are presented clearly in a log book format, so they can be used to make application-specific predictions.
Guided by the principle of standardised, secure, open frameworks, and easy customisation for individual business processes, SICK IntegrationSpace promises to add value to many business processes. SICK plans to release further modules for the IntegrationSpace platform at a rapid pace supporting asset-focused digital value adding services, as well as cloud-based processes and applications.