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Highly Miniaturized Integrated Sensor Nodes for Industry 4.0
Keywords: SiP Manufacturing, Sensor Integration, Process Monitoring
The PCB 4.0 research project offers the opportunity to take the flexibility, energy and resource efficiency of production processes to a whole new level with intelligent control and networking. Electronics and sensors, which are among the strengths of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Germany in particular, play a key role here. For flexible and efficient data acquisition, sensors must be integrated as compactly as possible into workpieces and systems. Miniaturized radio sensor nodes offer this possibility, but are currently still a major technical challenge in production and integration. The objective of the research project PCB 4.0 is the creation of a technology platform for the design and manufacture of embedded miniaturized RF sensor nodes and their integration into production processes. The performance of the developed technologies is demonstrated by four dedicated scenarios reflecting different phases in product lifecycle – ranging from production to component use - detecting and processing the actual state in the production of industrial electronics in real time. A maintenance free Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) sensor node was developed to report environmental data (e.g. temperature & acceleration) during lifecycle of an industry 4.0 PCB. The embedded security chip CmASIC provides asymmetric, cryptographic algorithms and certificates to guarantee the highest level of authenticity during the PCB production process and over the entire product lifecycle. Also a highly miniaturized sensor node (11x10x1.6 mm³) was developed using PCB embedding technology. The node includes an integrated PCB helix antenna, embedded accumulator and a sensor with media access. The embedding technology was transferred to mass production on 610x460 mm² manufacturing panel size. For optimizing sensor node design flow a PCB design tool with Altium® Designer interface has been created. This tools highly efficient interactive and automatic functionalities support all aspects of the PCB design process with embedded components. For device genuinity control a tool for generating and rolling out certificates for the secure tracking of device identities is a centralized License Management System supporting the industrial production chain. Sensor data and other status information (e.g. wear level, authenticity) are made available in two cloud solutions. The connection to the Siemens MindSphere and a solution for small and medium-sized businesses by partner SBG is demonstrated within the project. Demonstrators were developed to support scenarios for future industrial demands. During test runs the sensor nodes showed the potential to monitor and control the process flow and system lifetime directly at component level. Within the paper the technological developments towards miniaturized sensor nodes are described as well as the integration of those miniaturized SiPs into a sensor network. Finally the application of such sensor networks for smart manufacturing is demonstrated by dedicated use cases.
Karl-Friedrich Becker, Group Manager
Fraunhofer IZM
Berlin, Berlin

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