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Successful collaboration with HTWG Konstanz

The Konstanz University of Applied Sciences (HTWG) and ifm prover gmbh have been collaborating successfully for many years. ifm not only offers lectures, but also provides sensors and systems - this time also for test purposes: the IO-Link starter kit.

"The sophisticated interaction of the individual components and the simplicity constitute a great advantage when implementing the system", says Steffen Laus, HTWG student about ifm's IO-Link starter kit.

Currently, mechanical engineering and process technology students are learning about various contemporary topics within the scope of a series of lectures at the university called "Forum M".

Among other things, ifm uses the offer for a showcase in the building and offers a lecture about I4.0, "Intelligent sensor networks in mechanical engineering".

Over the past years, the laboratory of Professor Schwechten's faculty of process and environmental technology has been equipped with modern sensor technology from ifm. The students have a great number of testing stations for practical tasks at their disposal.

Manfred Schollenberger, head of the laboratory of the faculty of process and environmental technology.

"I am particularly excited about the SD compressed air sensors and the PG pressure sensors with the pressure gauge design", said the head of the laboratory, Manfred Schollenberger. "What is particularly convincing is how easy they are to read."

In the course of the collaboration, ifm also provided an IO-Link starter kit. After that, tenders were invited for a work experience report about an I4.0 pilot project.

For this, Mr Kaus, a student at the technical university, used a data logger to convert a test rig with complex measurement value acquisition to ifm's Smart Observer.

The goal is to improve the monitoring of the various testing stations and to document and evaluate the results. This is how all students get in touch with ifm products while gathering first impressions of the possibilities in I4.0.

Steffen Kaus, student at the HTWG Konstanz.

Industry 4.0 in process technology

The aim of the project thesis was to upgrade a pulse jet filter plant that is used in the process and environmental technology courses of the mechanical engineering faculty for particle technology laboratory exercises in order to monitor the operating plant via the university network and to detect and correct any discrepancies that may occur as soon as possible. The plant is equipped with different sensors to monitor and control the process. Moreover, process data is to be collected for visualisation and to be made accessible for evaluation. "With ifm, we have found a competent partner who has profound experiences with Industry 4.0 and who can therefore provide a lot of support", says Steffen Kaus in his project thesis.

The IO-Link starter kit provided by ifm includes, among other things, an IO-Link master, an optical distance sensor, the necessary connection cables and a parameter setting software for the sensor. "With their IO-Link sensors, ifm offer an all-inclusive solution to make process systems fit for Industry 4.0. The sophisticated interaction of the individual components and the simplicity constitute a great advantage when implementing the system", concludes Steffen Kaus, master student at the HTWG Konstanz.

"The comprehensive starter kit can be easily assembled to form a small network and can be configured via the home network using the comprehensive software. It makes it extremely easy for beginners and helps get familiar with the system in order to later adapt it to a larger system", says Kaus.


Conclusion: The ifm solution has been set up successfully on the pulse set filter plant of the laboratory. Moreover, the plant has been integrated in the university network, so that the generated data can be sent directly to a server. The Smart Observer program can then visualise and analyse the generated data. In the future, this will support the students with optimising the filter plant and prepare them for the working methods in Industry 4.0. The plant monitoring can even be extended using a VPN (Virtual Private Network). Consequently, it is no longer necessary to be on campus because the plant can also be monitored from outside the university. A VPN establishes a connection to the university server and enables access to all process data.