Via Forbes – Hotel chains, garbage collectors and factories are using (Raspberry Pi computers) more commonly now, making up 50% of end customers, and in some cases the Pi is undercutting the industrial monitoring equipment sold by bigger companies.
- In Europe, a network of refueling stations used to power hydrogen vehicles are having their temperature and filling levels monitored by Raspberry Pi’s to help managers predict maintenance, while at another business the device is being used to listen to audio from elevators for any anomalies that suggest a fix is needed.
- One municipality in Africa is using Pi’s to monitor the level at which garbage bins are filled to decide when trucks should come by for collection, while a hotel chain was also preparing to deploy them in rooms.
- One factory manager says the machine is so cheap and effective that after a three-year trial it has helped make his automated machinery 30% more efficient, particularly in the speed of production.
“It’s made us more competitive,” says Kevin Edwards, who heads engineering at Sony’s main manufacturing facility in Pencoed, Wales. In most cases, the Pi’s are being used to monitor equipment.
The factory manufactures hair-removal devices and $50,000 broadcast cameras for Sony, as well as the Raspberry Pi itself, and has installed 60 of the gadgets around its gleaming-white facility, each one about the size of a pack of cards.
Each tiny computer is equipped with extra sensors to monitor things like temperature, vibration, proximity and energy usage.
As it spies on a piece of automated equipment or robot, it then sends information to a database using a secure protocol that Edwards’ team developed. Some of the Pi’s have cameras that record a video feed of the machines which, for instance, gets processed by vision-recognition software to look for irregularities.
Sony is now replicating his experiment in three other factories in Asia, including two in Japan and one in Malaysia, which will also install between 50 and 60 Raspberry Pi’s to monitor equipment there.
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