Dr. Mathias Bohge (Source: R3 Solutions)
Wireless communication in industry is a key driver of Industry 4.0. We spoke to Dr. Mathias Bohge, CEO of R3 Solutions GmbH, Berlin/Germany, about how Industry 4.0 and the Internet of Things can be extended to any client and budget using a plug-and-play network solution.
With EchoRing, R3 offers a plug-and-play network solution. Can you briefly explain this technology to us?
Put very simply; we replace cables with our EchoRing technology. We use 2 techniques – a ring communication method combined with so-called massive cooperation – to achieve maximum reliability with very low response times, i.e. real-time. Our technology works so that the actual application, a robot for example, does not even notice that the cables have been replaced by radio. Therefore, almost all protocols commonly used in industry, such as Profinet or Ethernet/IP, can be transmitted with EchoRing.
What are the benefits of this technology for the textile industry? How can it be used to advantage in multi-stage production and the value chain?
You improve your application with our technology in many ways. Your application becomes significantly less susceptible to mechanical defects and abrasion by eliminating cables. If mass is an issue for you, you will save considerably on weight if necessary. You also become much more flexible. You can position your stationary machines independently of the availability of wired data lines. You can use mobile transport systems and robots. This creates entirely new scenarios and possibilities in production that were previously inconceivable and impossible to implement.
Let's take the example of a yarn manufacturer where we are currently planning a retrofit. The existing, very outdated control technology is to be modernized, and, in the course of this work, wireless networking with EchoRing is to be implemented. The interaction of transport systems such as a monorail overhead conveyor and transport carts on the floor will be controlled. Yarn reels are loaded, transported to the dyeing plant, and back again. With EchoRing, our customer has significantly less work to do when installing the new system because kilometers of cable do not have to be laid again for data communication. In addition, the company will be much more flexible in the future. Routes can be changed at short notice without the need for new installations. There is also more flexibility in the individual movements and the interaction of the moving machines because cable or loop connections no longer have to be considered.
EchoRing Rollout Kit (Source: R3) The Peppermint Group bought shares in R3 Solutions in November 2021. What synergies do you want to exploit?
For the Peppermint Group, we at R3 Solutions are the starting point for developing a completely new, visionary business field called "Wireless Technologies & Sensorics." The result will be novel wireless control systems that make industrial processes independent of cable connections and thus less prone to errors. For Peppermint, it is pretty straightforward: wireless communication in industry is a key driver of Industry 4.0, and we are the right partner. With numerous highly modern manufacturing companies in the textile industry where wireless networking is an issue, there are many exciting use cases within the Peppermint Group itself.
Digital infrastructures and future technologies usually require a considerable amount of energy. How can digitalization and sustainability be reconciled?
By using our EchoRing technology, companies are already taking the first step toward sustainable digitalization. Digitalized applications in the industry can be used, for example, to control processes more precisely and reduce the inefficient use of materials. This saves valuable resources. In operation, our devices are very frugal in terms of energy consumption, and in the application itself, the elimination of cables also saves resources, and less weight saves energy in mobile applications.
The interview was conducted by Mechthild Maas, Editor of TextileTechnology.