How Is The Raspberry Pi Used In The IIoT?

Post By: Ryan King On: 11-06-2024 - Industry 4.0 - Industry Trends - Manufacturing

The Raspberry Pi is an excellent example of a versatile and cost-effective single-board computer. Originally designed for simple teaching purposes, it soon became apparent that these machines offered a much broader scope. Their advent has signalled a revolution in many industries, perhaps most visibly in manufacturing. These adaptable and compact devices are capable of handling all sorts of industrial applications and can be incorporated as add-ons or as a base for communication and sensor modules.

Raspberry Pi In Manufacturing

Since its first release in 2012, the Raspberry Pi has quickly expanded its capabilities from a basic coding tool to a powerful device that has transformed manufacturing processes in many important ways. It improves overall business efficiency and is a cost-effective choice for piloting new schemes before investing heavily in full-scale production. Paired with Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) applications, the Raspberry Pi can take on activities from quality control, predictive maintenance and inventory management to full factory oversight and production line automation.

Industrial IoT Gateways

Raspberry Pi nodes provide an excellent IIoT gateway to which you can connect your networked manufacturing equipment and devices. It’s not always practical or even advisable to connect your devices directly to software that gathers data, especially sensitive data. This is particularly important when that software is located outside your premises. You can use your Raspberry Pi instead to set up a gateway, which acts as a safe zone where the data can be collated and forwarded. 

Remote Equipment Monitoring

This is one of the most obvious and important advantages of integrating your Raspberry Pi into your manufacturing arena. Using the various Raspberry Pi control apps available you can monitor and manage your equipment, tracking machine health from wherever you are. You can get alerts if a potential issue arises and troubleshoot it without being close to the factory floor. You can also live stream what’s happening on the factory floor with sensors and a video camera, as well as monitoring environmental conditions like air quality, humidity and temperature.

Raspberry Pi

Customisable Human-Machine Interfaces (HMIs)

With a Raspberry Pi you can develop custom HMIs to provide your machine operators with more intuitive control interfaces. This makes it both simpler and more efficient for operators on the factory floor to keep track of what’s happening with the different machines. Dealing with complex equipment becomes easier and it helps to eliminate human error. Not only does this lead to increased productivity, but it also helps reduce personnel training time.

You can also use your Raspberry Pi’s HDMI output to produce a full high-definition display. This can provide digital signage on a large screen to display things like a device status dashboard or live production metrics. 

Inventory Management

You can integrate Raspberry Pi into your inventory management systems to achieve better supply chain management. You can use these systems to monitor stock levels, automate reorder processes and track assets in transit, reducing the risk of stock shortages or excesses. You can also explore ways to develop a customised system for inventory management. 

Energy Management

Your Raspberry Pi is useful for energy management. You can create monitoring systems to evaluate how power is being used in your production processes and collect data for analysis. This will enable you to optimise energy usage by identifying inefficiencies. You can also implement carbon-zero options and introduce more sustainable practices into your manufacturing.

Predictive Maintenance

You can combine your Raspberry Pi with sensors, data analytics and computerised maintenance management systems to predict when equipment is likely to fail. This allows you to schedule maintenance work before that happens. Predictive maintenance helps to increase equipment reliability and prevent unscheduled downtime. You’ll also reduce overall operational costs by optimising the duration of maintenance tasks, thereby maximising production hours and substantially reducing your maintenance costs.

Quality Control Systems

A Raspberry Pi is a useful aid for building your own automated testing stations for manufactured components. It facilitates rapid and accurate assessment and ensures that components meet all the necessary preset criteria before proceeding further into the production process. You can also link your Raspberry Pi to machine learning algorithms or image recognition software to develop affordable yet intelligent quality control systems. These provide a more reliable and rapid method of identifying defects and can be programmed for compliance with product parameters and relevant standards. 

Production Line Automation

You can automate all sorts of production tasks with a Raspberry Pi, including controlling conveyor belts, industrial robots and robotic arms. You’ll be able to increase efficiency and minimise errors often made by people in repetitive tasks, not to mention reducing labour costs. Manufacturers worldwide are leveraging Raspberry Pi technology for industrial applications such as farming activities, waste recycling and the production of food and beverages.

Training Simulators

Your Raspberry Pi can be of great assistance to you in training situations. It can provide the power to set up training simulators to show people how your manufacturing processes work. New employees can learn their jobs in a risk-free environment, plus you can use training simulators to help staff assimilate new equipment or processes. You’ll be able to provide a safe and cost-effective virtual environment for training, making the learning curve considerably easier. Not only is it cheaper to use your Raspberry Pi to run a virtual factory, it reduces the risk of errors being committed by employees on the real production floor.

Why The Raspberry Pi Is A Good Choice For Use In The IIoT

From streamlining production methods in manufacturing to implementing new time- and labour-saving processes, the Raspberry Pi has many advantages over more bulky and costly solutions. It’s small, versatile and durable and can be adapted to accommodate many IIoT applications. You can leverage real-time data analytics, enable predictive maintenance, improve worker safety and enhance employee training. 

If you have an IIoT initiative that you want to launch inexpensively, Raspberry Pi makes an ideal choice. Companies that have invested in the IIoT for manufacturing have found it significantly improves their decision-making, operational efficiency and overall process optimisation. 

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