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Fast Production Line Reconfiguration - Replacing Cables with Radio Communication Links

Initial situation, problem to solve and motivation to carry out the R&D project – The dynamic reconfigurability of current production systems is severely hampered by the fixed wiring of automation and control systems. The exchange of cable connections through ultra-reliable wireless communication links, will improve the reconfigurability of future production lines drastically and enables new production processes. Thus the communication between sensors, actuators and processing units within a control cycle needs to be supplemented by low-latency wireless communications. For fast control processes in production systems a control cycle time of approx. 100 µs is needed, which is not achievable with current wireless communication systems (state-of-the-art is 16 ms). Therefore, new wireless transmission methods with low-latency are required for dynamically reconfigurable production systems that exploit all diversity sources in industrial scenarios to achieve high transmission reliability.

Goals and level of innovation compared to the state-of-the-art – Based on a future production scenario analysis, our research aims for an industrial communication link with a cycle time of 125 µs in a 6 node scenario. We investigate the minimum packet error rate that can be achieved in industrial scenarios through optimized wireless signal processing algorithms (in the transmitter and receiver) and the dynamic selection of wireless relays with multiple antennas (network diversity). The key innovation of UNWIRE is to allow dynamic reconfiguration of production systems by the replacement of fixed wiring through radio links.

Expected results and findings – We will measure the radio wave propagation characteristics at the same time between multiple mobile sensor and actuator nodes (with two antennas) in harsh industrial environments. The measurement data is used to design a non-stationary numeric geometry-based channel model for the real-time emulation of the wireless communication channel, which takes the actual propagation environment into account. The real-time emulation of radio channels between a plurality of mobile nodes enables repeatable performance tests with a freely programmable radio platform. With this concept, we can examine and validate the most effective signal processing algorithms and diversity mechanisms for robust operation of a wireless communication system in real


  • Starting date: April 2017
  • Duration: 3 Years
  • Funding: funded by the  FFG (Produktion der Zukunft 2016 national)
  • Coordination: AIT Austrian Institute of Technology
  • Partner: Siemens AG Österreich