“Industry 4.0” is a boiling hot topic at the moment: The computerization of production processes and the use of connected intelligent devices seems to be the future of industrial production.

With this “fourth industrial revolution” gaining speed, we at Lunifera have been toying around with various ideas and concepts of integration between physical world, production and business processes and user interface for some time.

Our newest proof-of-concept project in this area is our steam engine: We bought a working toy steam engine, hooked up sensors to it and set up circuitry that converts the sensor output to binary data. This data can be transferred across arbitrary networks and used anywhere.

steamengine

Our steam engine: Heating the water in the boiler causes the pressure to rise (pressure sensor top right). The steam is used to turn the wheel in the back (cyan rotation sensor above wheel). The temperature is measured by a PT1000 sensor (left side of boiler).

 

oszi

The sensors turn physical properties into voltage levels. We read these voltage levels and convert them into binary data.

 

For our demo purposes, we integrated the measurement data into a simple web-based business application: We displayed the data using Vaadin UI elements, but it would be quite easy to develop more complex representations such as augmented reality and so on.

steamengine_ui

The measurement values are then displayed in a web-based demo application. Integration into standard business applications and web pages would be straightforward.