Electrification and its synergy with Industry 4.0
The digital age is upon us and has been for quite some time. Now more than ever it is evident that we are in the middle of the connected digital era with increasingly widespread use of wirelessly connected devices, embracing the power of networking via the internet to communicate useful live data and instructions to other systems and services. Programmable electronics has made this possible and underpins the ‘Internet of Things’ (IoT) and Industry 4.0 ‘Smart Factory’ movements, enhanced through System-on-Chip (SoC) miniaturisation to reduce the size and mass of such electronics, and perhaps more importantly, their power consumption.
Here at Romax, one of our core business strengths is design and development for the electrification sector, particularly in electrified powertrain development. Modern powertrains need to be closely controlled and monitored with a high fidelity to ensure efficiency, reliability and very low NVH. As such, we have the capability in-house to design and develop electrical machine and transmission control and actuation systems in complex, software intensive, digital electronic solutions.
Through our Electrification Systems and Controls capability, we have the transferable skills in systems engineering, electronic system, programmable logic and software design, which can be applied to a number of different sectors including IoT and Industry 4.0. Modern powertrain solutions are looking for ways to further exploit this digitally connected age. In particular, this will be evident in the drive towards increased autonomy and Connected Autonomous Vehicles (CAV), whilst maintaining safety integrity and security threat resilience demonstrating compliance to modern good and best practice standards such as: ISO 26262, ISO 21434 and ISO 21448.
Our control systems are established on a scalable platform, which are based upon modern FGPA and microcontroller architectures, providing the flexibility of executable software and mixed signal peripherals, with the robustness, deterministic behaviour and highly paralleled throughput of programmable logic hardware, ensuring our systems have the bandwidth and capacity to support increased data throughputs ready for a connected world. Our scalable platform architecture and technology choice mitigates security and safety risks, supporting diversity and functional separation between monitor, control and protection functions, whilst intelligently supporting connected monitoring systems for ‘big data’ Equipment Health Management (EHM) and prognostic functionality.
It can be demonstrated that our capability, architecture and technology solutions are demonstrably ready for cloud-connected systems, supporting fleets of standardised powertrains and autonomous vehicles, with real time performance data enabling the proactive service and maintenance of the applications they are placed within. Automotive autonomy and Industry 4.0 have a great deal in common and ultimately require the same skills to deliver successful systems.
Andrew Johnston is a safety and systems engineering specialist, with extensive experience in developing high-integrity control system and technology solutions for a variety of electrification sectors, including automotive, aerospace, marine and nuclear. Andrew holds an MSc in Control and Instrumentation, and has previously held leadership and specialist engineering roles at Rolls-Royce, with focus on electronic hardware and software intensive system design and development.