In this article today, we would like explore how Raspberry Pi are being used in the industry to solve problems that have arisen. First of all we need to realise that the Raspberry Pi was never intended for industrial use during its invention. The main purpose was solely for educational purposes, specifically to be used for teaching basic computer science. Although it was initially intended for academic purposes, since its release, it has expanded far beyond that realm. The first Raspberry Pi model was released in February 2012, followed by several upgraded models in succeeding years. People just love the Raspberry Pi so much that, it become more popular than its developers expected. It was not only used in the academia world for teaching, but it was also picked up by enthusiasts outside its target market.
The first example that we would like to see how the Raspberry Pi is being used in the agriculture. In the agriculture industry there were lot of hurdles seen for the farmers from growing their crops till harvesting, such as minimising the usage of pesticides and fertilsers to maintain the profits, seasonal labour shortage. To overcome this issue, building an agri robot was seen to be the solution. The robot could have a multiple uses such as preparing the ground, applying fertiliser and pesticides, sowing seeds, removing weeds, transporting seedlings from place to place ready for planting out, and harvesting the crops. The Agri Robot was built around Raspberry Pi 4. Why Rasperry Pi? The reason why the robot was built around Raspberry Pi for cost reasons as well as the realiability. (source: https://www.raspberrypi.com/success-stories/directed-machines/)
In the second case, we would like to look at how the Brompton's bicycle manufacturer utilising the Raspberry Pi. The Brompton's factory is a Raspberry Pi-powered factory setup. There are over 100 Raspberry Pi computer inside the Brompton's factory which are being deployed for different purposes ranging from pre-assembly-line and production-line monitoring to air quality control and more. The Raspberry Pi on the production stations will scan the serial number of each of bicycle, tracking it as it progresses through the assembly process. And why Raspberry Pi? After researching other single-board computers, for the most cost-effecticve platform that can offer the power and flexebility they needed for low-friction deployment into a broad range of applications. And it was found that Raspberry Pi offered both superior performance and better value than the other boards on the market. At the moment Raspberry Pi Raspberry Pi is helping the company in reaching its target. (source: https://www.raspberrypi.com/success-stories/brompton/)
Sfera Labs claimed to be the first company to inroduce Raspberry Pi in the industrial automation environment. The italian company mainly focuses in designing, manufacturing and selling open technology for the industrial world. Their expertise is in industrial automation servers, I/O modules and sensors based on Raspberry Pi technology. Cusfomer's of Sfera's Lab's require everything from pure industrial apllications using I/O for multiple sensors, to Compute Module and Raspberry Pi for edge computing logic to airport application. One of the first Sfera's product is the Strato Pi which is known for its extensive communication protocol support, reliability and fault tolerance. And again, we have the same question, why Raspberry Pi? In summary this is what Sfera Lab said about the Raspberry Pi “definitely the platform where we are doing most of our business, definitely the platform that we’re doing most of our research and development on and it’s definitely the platform that our customers prefer for industrial applications.” (source: https://www.raspberrypi.com/success-stories/sfera/)
There are more real life application outside there what that have been shared here are just few. One thing that we can understand is that, more and more industries are adopting the Raspberry Pi either for solving a problem or making the current process more efficient. Be it in the DCS, manufacturing, agricultural, AI or ML, every industry is using it. The big advantange of using the Raspberry Pi in industrial settings is its almost infinite flexeblity. Since its not tied to any manufacturer's hardware, it can be used with most existing systems or built with any kind of components.
In this article we have seen how the Raspberry Pi is helping the industries. In the upcoming article we shall see how the communication between the Raspberry Pi and other devices are established in the industries.