From scientific research to practical Industrial Internet solutions
Digitalisation has started the fourth industrial revolution. Currently there are over 14 billion devices and sensors connected to the Internet, but the collection and especially sharing of data is still difficult and costly, sometimes requiring lots of manual work.
5G communications network, estimated to be operating in 2020, will enable companies to control, collect and share sensor data much easier and cost-efficiently as ever before.
Aalto Industrial Internet Campus (AIIC) enables collaborative research between companies and several departments at Aalto University aiming to model the factory of the future. At AIIC, Aalto University is building a bridge from pure scientific research to creating practical solutions for Industrial Internet together with companies.
Industrial Internet applications expanded for bioeconomy
AIIC will be expanding its research from discrete automation to cover Industrial Internet applications for the process industry. Two main infrastructures – BIOECONOMY and RawMattERS – of the Department of Biotechnology and Chemical Technology will be connected to the AIIC core architecture with 5G enabling an advanced, virtual data collection system that can be used for efficient process study, analysis and plant design.
ABB IndustrialIT Extended Automation System 800xA has been set up as the central node of the process industry infrastructures. The system will be used not only for the data collection and analysis but also for monitoring, and advanced control purposes of the thermo-chemical biorefinery production chain. The ABB automation update also includes OPC UA, providing a single entry point into a system.
- An advanced modelling and simulation platform for process study and plant design is essential in the research towards the integrated bioeconomy production value chains, explains Professor Sirkka-Liisa Jämsä-Jounela.
Control as a Service
The School of Electrical Engineering will focus on how 5G enables “Control as a service”. They will study how the 5G infrastructure and architecture can be utilized to create the Industrial Internet infrastructure of the future and to provide a cost-effective, globally scalable and secure infrastructure for:
- managing the smart sensors and other devices embedded in smart products and services,
- collecting and transporting their data, analysing the data to reveal opportunities for added value, and
- deploying the analysis results to provide the added value to the customer/user.
New business from cross-enterprise data
A process industry business case Aalto University is already working on studies how companies can create new business from cross-enterprise data. The business case focuses on Stora Enso and its key suppliers where the sensor data of selected machines and devices is opened for all stakeholders with the objective of improving predictive maintenance applications.
The research questions include 1) how can the shared online data enable new operational innovations in engineering, operations, and maintenance? 2) under which cross-licensing models and other commercial conditions should the data sharing be governed? and 3) how should the quality of shared data be defined and monitored, and by whom?
Another business case with Vapo aims to optimize peat burning processes for power plants. In particular, it aims to improve efficiency and sustainability of peat burning and provide a seamless data chain from peat harvesting operations to plant operation. A novel aspect is on-line sensing of peat quality during harvesting with an embedded peat water and sulphur content sensors.
- Once we find good solutions for the factory of the future, we can standardize them and that way help companies to provide new services and create business, says Professor Martti Mäntylä.
Photo: Researchers visiting Vapo's peat harvesting site. Photo by Kalle Ryymin, Vapo.