014_EETE

EETE JULAUG 2012

NEWS & TECHNOLOGY IEEE TECHNOLOGY TIME MACHINE In the crystal ball: fast networks for smart manufacturing lines By Christoph Hammerschmidt From ColleCtive intelligenCe to smart power and from cyber physical systems to future mobile network technologies, the ieee technology time machine conference which took place end of may in Dresden spanned across a wide range of topics. the promise of this annual conference on the future of technology was to provide a vision of the technologies beyond 2020. However the presenters, scientists and engineers, pre- From left to right: William Tonti, IEEE Future Directions Committee; ferred not to look too deep into the crystal ball but instead gave Roberto Boisson de Marca, Future Directions Committee Chair, their views on the relatively near term future. In his plenary presentation, Infineon CEO Peter Bauer high- Maurizio Dècina, General Chair of the IEEE TTM 2012, and Prof. lighted the role of the semiconductors for energy efficiency in Gerhard Fettweis, Program Chair of TTM 2012. general. though not really a new topic, Bauer drew an interest- Wristers sketched the future for the semiconductor industry with ing timeline until 2020 and beyond for efficiency gains in energy mega-fabs, cranking out more than a million wafers per year - generation and distribution as well as in specific automotive 450mm wafers, of course. application segments. Since 1973, the world’s electric energy the glue that keeps smart cities and smart factories together consumption has more than tripled and the demand is continu- is communications - wireless, in most cases. gerhard Fett- ing to rise at increasing speed. Against this background, energy weis, professor at the Dresden technical university and serial efficiency indeed seems an urgent topic for industrial as well as entrepreneur, held a surprise presentation, replacing Siavash for private consumers. Alamouti from Vodafone R&D. Fettweis did not only link CPS the highest energy savings potential lies in lighting, ap- and next-generation mobile communications technology, he pliances electronics, motor systems, and residential HvAC also provided a glimpse in the technology that could enable this systems, Bauer explained. interestingly, in these application extremely agile communication scheme. From his perspective, segments the development of the electronic systems required next-generation mobile network does not refer to lte though to drive efficiency higher quickly remunerates as the devel- this technology is still far from being readily available across eu- opment is cheaper than the energy savings to be achieved. rope but to what he calls 5g networks. “For applications such Progress in power electronics will accompany the development as industrial controls we need roundtrip delays in the vicinity of as an enabler for higher power density and lower losses. the 1 millisecond”, he said. “Up to now, all wireless networks are power density of devices such as inverters or power drives will designed for communication applications. the fast networks of continue to increase until 2020 to about 120 kW/cm2, Bauer the future will be designed for control applications instead”. predicted. While todays’ wide-bandgap semiconductors such For traffic control, cars equipped with these networks could as SiC are perceived as innovations which drive the efficiency be guided through intersections without traffic light - the real- of, for instance, solar inverters to a level of 98%, future yet time data exchange between all the road users will enable unknown semiconductor technologies could drive the efficiency the vehicles to steer through the densest traffic without hu- to 99 percent and even beyond. in wind power generation, the man interaction. “this will do away with waiting in front of the power level per generator could rise to 10mW from today’s red light”, Fettweis said. the g5 network will also go beyond 6mW, accompanied by much higher reliability and service life. today’s car-to-infrastructure communication approaches, based in automotive electronics, semiconductors enable the design on a variation of the known WiFi technology. “this technology of new safety assistant systems such as radar-based cruise has been designed to warn cars of accidents of bad road condi- control. While Sige will continue to prevail as the semiconduc- tions ahead”, Fettweis explained. “For applications such as tor technology of choice, new functions such as electronic intersection control, their latency is much too slow”. beam forming and integration of analog functionality will enable the same holds true for industrial automation. g5 networks smarter driver assistant systems with more functionality, Bauer could form the missing link for an automation approach cur- predicted. Several presentations and discussions addressed the rently developed dubbed “industry 4.0” for the high degree of future of manufacturing. in this context, cyber physical systems machine autonomy and flexibility intended. This approach pro- is currently the ubiquitous buzzword. Cyber physical systems vides for materials and semi-finished products communicating (CPS) are huge, complex agglomerations of networked, intelli- with tool machines and autonomously finding their way through gent entities such as smart cities or digitally controlled factories. the production line. this process requires many data exchange these smart entities could take over production in segments processes - an ideal application field for Fettweis’ real-time already characterized by a high degree of automation such as networks. the semiconductor industry. of course there are challenges. one is the bandwidth re- Dirk Wristers, Vice President Technology R&D for chipmaker quired: Fettweis estimated that though the entities using this globalfoundries already propagated his vision of a “lights-out communication schemes will only exchange relatively short data operation”, a fab where the lights can be switched off since no packets, the bandwidth requirements will increase by a factor human beings are working in the production anymore. Besides of 100 to 1000. impossible? “At the level of physics, there is no the extremely high degree of automation associated to CPS, show stopper in sight”, Fettweis said. 14 Electronic Engineering Times Europe July/August 2012 www.electronics-eetimes.com


EETE JULAUG 2012
To see the actual publication please follow the link above