Explore Arduino for Industry and its potential to revolutionize industrial applications.
We will showcase Arduino’s role in diverse operations, emphasizing its importance in automation and data acquisition. You’ll also learn about obstacles and solutions when implementing Arduino-based systems.
Read on to find out Arduino’s effective use in various industrial settings.
Table of Contents
- Improving Industrial Production Ability
- Obtaining Data
- Crafting Objects with 3D Printers and CNC Machines
- Making Models with Arduino
- Arduino in Embedded Systems
- Arduino in the Role of a PLC
- Challenges of Arduino in Practical Applications
- So, What’s the Point of an Arduino?
Improving Industrial Production Ability
With compatibility in mind, Arduino provides a reliable design that serves an analytical purpose in an industrial setting.
Recently, the Boeing team utilized Arduino for industrial applications, specifically to repair a satellite component.
The precision of milling machines operated by Arduino enabled this intricate task.
Even amid industrial environments, Arduino proves invaluable for swiftly devising control systems.
Its ability to execute code repeatedly based on instructions allows seamless equipment management and quality control.
Soldering components of an Arduino project
Arduino can collect and store sensor data or input from devices like radio receivers for later analysis, making it the perfect tool for many data acquisition opportunities. Data storage options include cloud services or SD cards.
Some people even use this method to gather data on planes landing at airports, similar to a Hackaday project. The airport compensated them for the information crucial for long-term planning to enhance runways, taxiways, and overall operations. The Arduino connected to an ADS-B receiver requested data and stored it on an SD card. Then, they accessed this data periodically to optimize airport functionality, using it for personalized advertising and other professional applications.
Other data acquisition opportunities include:
- Proximity via Bluetooth sensors
- Weather conditions
- Vehicle flow (experimented with Arduino on a train line)
- Machinery operation patterns (e.g., action frequency)
A close-up of ADS-B collinear antenna
Crafting Objects with 3D Printers and CNC Machines
Arduino can govern 3D printers, CNC machines, milling devices, and other apparatuses for creating items, offering a compatible interface with various devices.
Managing CNC machines and 3D printers for part production is a thriving business.
Arduino’s involvement in controlling these devices proves advantageous in this domain.
You can even employ 3D printing to craft rare, customized motorcycle components unavailable in your region.
The development controller for CNC machines
Arduino excels as an educational tool, simplifying lessons on electronics, coding, robotics, computer science, and related subjects.
It exemplifies the “build-and-see” approach, demonstrating the direct connection between code writing, circuit assembly, and tangible results.
In academic environments, Arduino facilitates learning about:
- Internet of Things (IoT)
- Embedded System Design and C Programming
- Circuit assembly
- Schematic creation
- Motor and device control
Although Raspberry Pi and similar devices cover these topics, Arduino’s user-friendliness sets it apart.
Arduino’s website offers abundant educational resources for young learners and newcomers considering industrial applications and design processes.
Concept art of IOT
Making Models with Arduino
Developing a product entails crafting a prototype, ensuring functionality and manufacturability.
Arduino-based prototyping boasts affordability, a stark contrast to the past’s costly, industrial hardware-dependent processes.
This approach averts lengthy, expensive testing phases riddled with alterations.
Arduino excels in crafting instrument prototypes such as data acquisition modules, compact power sources, and sensors.
After exhaustive testing, commercial product design commences, rendering Arduino less cost-effective.
Prototyping with Arduino ranges from under $100 to a few thousand dollars, a reasonable expense.
However, microprocessors prove too costly for commercial products. Microcontrollers, performing equivalent computations at lower prices, can be integrated into PCBs alongside other electronic components.
PCB creation is highly automated compared to Arduino’s shield and wiring assembly.
Arduino in Embedded Systems
Arduinos find application in industrial automation through embedded systems, serving as economical solutions for specific manufacturing processes.
They can act as proofs-of-concept or prototypes for such systems, including industrial applications where quality control is paramount.
Rapid design and implementation of Arduino solutions outpace PLC counterparts, circumventing supply chain challenges for automation components.
It makes Arduino a compact version of more extensive control systems, suitable for various professional applications.
Specialized sensors, including ultrasonic, infrared, temperature, light-sensitive, sound, voice recognition, and vibration, form the core of successful Arduino-based embedded systems in manufacturing.
Wireless control of components is possible through Arduino-based systems employing various protocols like Bluetooth, radio frequency, GPRS, and infrared.
Industry-tailored Arduino prototypes can manage motors, such as a stepper, servo, and DC motors, ensuring compatibility with different industrial settings.
Arduino in the Role of a PLC
Although Arduinos don’t replace PLCs in business environments, their open-source nature inspires innovative solutions for industrial automation, like Controlling.
Controllinos, low-cost PLCs built on the Arduino platform, are compatible with the Arduino IDE and numerous Arduino shields.
These compact PLCs, designed for DIN rail mounting, possess the I/O capabilities of traditional PLCs.
Equipped with shielding and essential electrical protections, Controllinos perform reliably in industrial contexts, making them perfect for various professional applications.
Arduinos as PLCs bridge educational gaps, exemplified by OpenPLC, a PLC simulator enabling ladder logic programming for Arduinos.
This approach differs from standard PLC programming languages.
OpenPLC and similar software offer straightforward interfaces, enabling students to concentrate on operands and logic programs.
Once completed, the simulator compiles the code into Arduino-compatible formats for seamless device integration.
Electrical equipment installed on the DIN rail
Challenges of Arduino in Practical Applications
Certainly, Arduino allows for a myriad of imaginative creations, from 3D printers to coffee machines.
However, certain limitations arise when it comes to mass production for commercial purposes.
To maximize profit, companies aim to minimize production costs. Official Arduino boards, priced at $20 or more, become expensive for large-scale production.
Instead, designing custom electronic boards with cost-effective microcontrollers is a wiser choice.
Efficiency and Resilience
Arduino lags in performance compared to industry counterparts like STM32 microcontrollers, which offer superior performance at a similar price.
Additionally, Arduino’s durability is inferior to that of enterprise-grade microcontrollers.
While open-source benefits individuals or small businesses, larger corporations often avoid it due to intellectual property concerns and potential security risks.
Arduino lacks partnerships, placing it at a disadvantage compared to companies like STMicroelectronics or Siemens, which actively seek collaborations for market expansion.
Debugging and Development Resources
Arduino’s debugging capabilities are lacking, and the IDE is often limited and buggy.
In contrast, industrial microcontrollers provide comprehensive IDEs, tested libraries, and support contracts.
For commercial products, component availability is crucial.
Arduino boards’ future supply is uncertain, whereas microcontroller vendors can offer long-term supply guarantees through contracts.
So, What’s the Point of an Arduino?
Arduino isn’t the optimal choice for crafting real-world products and applications.
This stems from Arduino’s primary objective is to render robotics development more approachable for individuals.
Arduino serves as an exceptional development board for:
- Technological instruction
- Electronic pastimes
- Early-stage hardware product prototypes
Compared to other conventional electronic boards and microcontrollers, Arduino boasts numerous benefits:
- Enjoyable from the get-go, allowing ample experimentation opportunities rather than immediate theory immersion.
- An extensive online community offers support through various channels like forums, courses, and videos.
- Many Arduino-compatible gadgets, actuators, and sensors are readily available, facilitating swift application development.
- Arduino excels in introducing new technologies, providing a fundamental understanding of low-level programming and electronic components in robotics.
Leveraging these advantages, crafting a POC (proof-of-concept) for hardware prototypes becomes a breeze.
For those developing new products or launching hardware startups, this approach saves considerable time during the initial stages.
In conclusion, Arduino is a versatile tool for industrial applications, including automation, data acquisition, crafting a POC for prototypes, and education.
Despite its limitations, it offers cost-effective solutions for hobbyists, entrepreneurs, and educators.
Understanding Arduino’s benefits and drawbacks enables effective utilization in various industries.
Users can maximize Arduino’s capabilities by focusing on its strengths, such as rapid development and prototyping.
Embracing Arduino as a stepping stone to more advanced solutions can enhance innovation and improve the industrial landscape.