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OMNIedge: THK's IoT Linear Technology Service for the Manufacturing Industry

As of March 2021, THK has expanded the line-up for its IoT service called OMNIedge for the manufacturing industry, which launched last year. In addition to linear guide and ball screw applications, the service is now also available for actuators, which are widely used in manufacturing operations. Interest in OMNIedge has grown over time, and over 1,000 units are already in use for devices at customer sites and THK’s own facilities. Many users of OMNIedge have expressed their praise and expectations for the system’s ability to visualize the status of components and to collect and analyse numerical data in a simple way.

Sensors at linear technology components

Image 1: Sensors at linear technology components: Linear guides (linear guideways), linear actuators and ball screws

Because of their user-friendliness, linear actuators have been widely adopted for use alongside the linear guides and ball screws in automated devices such as transfer and assembly equipment. For the components of such devices, the need for predictive failure detection has expanded beyond the linear guides and ball screws to also include actuators. In order to respond to that demand, THK has begun offering long-awaited actuator compatibility for the service.

Overview OMNIedge System

Image 2: Overview OMNIedge System

While the company is currently in the middle of conducting a free trial to broaden the range of applications to include rotary components in devices such as pumps and fans, THK will continue to expand the service to further the management of overall equipment health with predictive failure detection for machine components at its core. Through this service, THK will contribute to continuous improvements in productivity on the manufacturing floor.

Technology of OMNIedge

Image 3: Technology of OMNIedge

Just like with the current linear guide and ball screw versions, installation is easy. The sensor only needs to be attached to the outside of the main actuator unit. No modifications or additional machining is required. OMNIedge can even be added to a device in operation. This is perfect for customers who want to get started with predictive failure detection right away.

A single amplifier can have up to three sensors connected at a time. Any combination of connected components (including linear guides, ball screws, and actuators) can be connected to the same amplifier to suit the configuration of machine elements inside equipment.

In addition to machine tools, the system can be used for general industrial machinery, such as transfer and assembly devices, which have widely adopted the use of actuators.

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