Concepts like digitization, Industry 4.0, Big Data or Machine-to-Machine have already been talked about for some time now. The so-called Internet of Things or IoT plays a central role in these developments. “Simple things” become increasingly more intelligent, when they learn to communicate, are linked together and constantly collect information. Information can be collected about physical dimensions such as temperature, speed, pressure etc., health data and consumption to name just a few.
Today, this phenomenon of digital inter-linking is clearly noticeable in industry & the professional sphere, but is also increasingly evident in private life. In industry, intelligent production systems, which independently reveal optimisation potential, are already being used. Also IoT platforms for device supervision are able to recognise problems or even shutdowns prematurely and automated logistics processes are no longer rarities. In our private lives we have increasingly intelligent companions on our side – fitness bracelets for example, or control of the “Smart Home” via our Smartphones, are just two examples of the numerous technologies. If the extensive volume of data available via this form of networking is appropriately selected and correctly used, it’s possible through the Internet of Things to make processes more efficient, to expand knowledge and to act in a preventative or proactive manner.
This development offers great potential for the sensor industry and therefore many interesting opportunities for Innovative Sensor Technology IST AG. The sensor lies at the very beginning of the value chain in the Internet of Things. It’s indispensable when it comes to collecting immense amounts of information and thus, forms the fundamental basis of all IoT applications. The “product to be crosslinked” is equipped with a sensor, which measures the desired parameter and forwards it to the connected hardware / electronics. Only then does the Internet come into play and the connectivity between the individual devices is ensured. The data is collected on Big Data platforms and made usable by apps or other services.
IST AG and the Internet of Things
What can Innovative Sensor Technology IST AG offer to the Internet of Things? As a leading supplier and partner for physical, chemical and biological sensors, we offer customers the opportunity to generate data for IoT applications using IST AG sensors. Due to their robustness, longevity and accuracy, IST AG sensors are ideal for IoT applications, even in the harshest of environments.
IST AG is able to produce sensors with extremely small dimensions (smallest sensor: 0.8x0.8 mm). For IoT applications, in which the miniaturization of electronic components is of great importance, this represents a definitive advantage.
Together with electronics, the appropriate software and ultimately the Internet, the data collected by the sensor can be evaluated and made accessible to a specific application. Whether for internal processing or to provide the customer with information, the data can be delivered for example by means of an app or other platform. With the sensor, IST AG delivers the basis for the setup of the application.
From the sea of available data it’s necessary to select the relevant information for the specific purpose and to apply it accordingly. By means of the predictive control using IoT applications or the use of the data generated, unplanned batch distortions can be avoided, maintenance better planned, and production capacity increased. The exact data to be measured, evaluated and monitored has to be determined individually, depending on the application and the target. The sensors of IST AG can be used for the measurement of temperature, flow, humidity, conductivity and biological media (in particular glucose or lactate) and are suitable for integration into corresponding IoT applications.
The following examples are intended to provide ideas for the use of IST AG sensors within an IoT application. In these examples, reference is made to the end customer, who uses the sensor within a complete IoT configuration. They are of course not exhaustive – they’re merely three scenarios from an almost endless pool of possibilities.
Example 1 - Transport Company As a transport company specializing in the food sector, you want to know the moisture and temperature levels of your goods to be transported throughout the entire supply chain, from loading to transport to unloading at the point of delivery. By means of a humidity sensor, a temperature sensor and a transmitter, which is connected to the Internet, the data can be transferred to a cloud-based database and processed further from there. Access to the individual transport unit can easily take place with any internet-capable device. If there is a defect in a cooling unit at some point along the supply chain, this is immediately detected and alerted accordingly.
IST AG offers a range of humidity sensors and modules for use in this field. These are either analogue humidity sensors, i.e without further signal conditioning, or already calibrated humidity modules (HYT), which output both humidity and temperature signals which can be directly addressed via an electronic I2C interface. In order to be able to use the recorded data, the sensors must still be connected with suitable electronics and a network (not produced by IST AG).
Example 2 - Milling machine monitoring As a manufacturing company, you want to permanently monitor the operating temperature of your milling machine in order to detect any defects that may occur and to initiate appropriate preventive measures. Through the permanent temperature monitoring of the milling cutter, an increase in the temperature can be appropriately evaluated. For example, it can be determined that the cooling system has been leaking (due to wear of the seals for example) and insufficient coolant reaching the cutter. This data can be collected, analyzed and written to a database in a milling machine plant. They can then be read via the Internet using an internet-capable device and predetermined actions (for example “service call up”) can be automated. For such an application, platinum temperature sensors from IST AG can be used. In order to ensure a point-accurate measurement, customer-specific adaptations of the sensor are also possible. Again, further components are required for the utilization and use of the data within an IoT application.
Example 3 – End-customer agriculture You’re the owner of a large-scale nursery and want to monitor the salt content of the soil to ensure optimal fertilization. In order to control fertilization, a monitoring system can be introduced using an IoT application. Conductivity sensors are used to measure the salt content of the soil, the information is transferred accordingly and can be accessed via a specific platform. This allows a constant monitoring of the salt content, and the fertilization of the soil can be controlled accordingly and corrections made where required. IST AG offers conductivity sensors (LFS1505, LFS1710), that can be used for such agricultural applications. In conjunction with suitable electronics, the data measured by the sensor can be read and then distributed over a network.