Making heavy machinery more connected
When tools are spread around large construction sites, being able to locate them in real time using geofencing technologies has become critical to avoid tools getting lost or stolen. Wireless connectivity technologies, including GPS and GNSS localization technologies and LoRA and Sigfox protocols for asset tracking, are getting increased attention. Wireless technologies can also be used for data collection over time and condition monitoring to implement predictive maintenance strategies. Condition monitoring requires a large array of sensing technologies, including motion and acoustic sensors and associated Machine Learning or Artificial Intelligence algorithms, that add significant value to high-end equipment, as failures could be both expensive for the owner and dangerous for the user. Sensing technologies are also used to improve user safety. For example, they can avoid kick-back in wrenches caused by stalled motors, or trigger warning signals and stop the machinery upon the detection of danger, such as the free falling of a big circular saw. With connectivity coming into play, security concerns related to intentional or accidental data corruption or software breaches for cloning and counterfeiting have increased. While this is true also for standalone, basic pieces of equipment that are not connected to the cloud, connectivity features open the door to potential breaches and malicious access to data.
Our products and solutions
ST offers a wide range of motor control solutions to fit the large variety of motor types and power ratings found in power tools for carpentry, concrete, and metal work. Our offering includes an extensive range of 32-bit microcontrollers equipped with a set of hardware peripherals and software development tools, including System-in-Package (SiP) solutions featuring an STM32 microcontroller and a monolithic 3-phases driver (STSPIN32 family), which are ideal for space-constrained tools such as hand-held drills. Our range of power discrete solutions, such as IGBTs, thyristors, and power MOSFETs available in several types of packages, including power modules and intelligent powermodules, can contribute to making power tools lighter and more energy-efficient. In addition, our broad range of inertial and environmental MEMS sensors can also make power tools smarter and more connected.