Traditional mass production has faded out of the arena, and if companies were able to process standardized products on the production line in the past, today's customers and consumers are passionate about custom solutions and accessories: 3D printers, the right machine controls or personalized parts. If the customer can later order, then even if the product has already started production, the manufacturer can still provide it with more functions and other additional equipment.
Figure 1 Pilz offers packaging machinery manufacturer SenzaniBrevetti a one-stop solution for safety
One-piece manufacturers are another situation, they have started to produce a single piece, is completely personalized production, of course, they must also be invincible in the international competition, so the need for continuous optimization of processing, the key is the need for more productive High, shorter delivery times and more punctuality.
In order to assure work while overcoming the pressure of time, all aspects of the value chain, such as R & D, purchasing and processing, must be more closely networked and other potential lies with services such as the introduction of new maintenance services.
Figure 2 The future factory only needs a small output from a central facility but requires a lot of local distributed intelligence
According to a survey conducted by market research institute PAC, the biggest challenge for medium-sized processing companies in Germany in 2015 is the individualized needs of customers and the pressure of efficiency. These two goals cause people to dilemma because of their contradictions. So how should single-component manufacturers produce efficient and individualized production? And how can mass-production companies enhance their personalization and flexibility in efficient production? Digitization provides the tools: the so-called CPS (Network Physical System) Is to connect factories with information technology to transform a rigid production process into a flexible value-producing network with the goal of realizing "smart factories" that are self-organizing and self-improving.
Figure 3 The future processing enterprises must achieve efficient and personalized production
Such a factory requires only a small output from a central facility but requires a lot of local distributed intelligence, for example, the work piece knows exactly which production link it will arrive at and they book their own delivery tools and equipment, Tips need to be maintained soon. However, Smart Factory can only tap its full potential under the premise that all of the plant's key areas and information systems are networked. Florian Gruber, senior vice president of sales for T-Systems Automotive and Manufacturing Solutions, said: "Not only horizontal networking and integration are required, but vertical networking and integration are also required."
All aspects of the value chain, such as research and development, sales and service, as well as internal logistics and processing, work together at a horizontal level. For example, if the warehouse knows the current production plan, supplies will be automatically replenished once the raw materials are left as it is. Conversely, if the production parts are missing, the pre-determined manufacturing process can be automatically adjusted according to the needs and the manufacturing steps can be prioritized. Another example: quality control system to record uneven weld surface, the only combination of production and quality inspection data analysis, it is possible to find the root cause of the error: Shortly before the first defect in this example appears, a new Welding robots took over the job.
IT systems communicate with each other
In a smart factory, all IT systems communicate vertically and bidirectionally. In the past, the system only used manual interface or interrupted frequently. At Smart Factories, design changes in PLM-enabled systems automatically go to the parts list of an enterprise resource planning system (ERP) at SAP or another manufacturer and then enter production tasks through the Manufacturing Execution System (MES) ) Interfaces to the machine level (workshop) again, from where MES also gets feedback from traditional devices and networked physical systems that are transparent to all systems if they match the production process.
In short, it is not surprising that complete networking will increase productivity and reduce errors, after all, there is still room for improvement for German companies in these areas. The results of Baker Tilly Roelfs Consulting's study show that the average overall equipment efficiency (OEE) for German companies is only 60%, and the value of this property is based on the overall device availability, power and quality of the processed goods , OEE of top enterprises can reach as high as 85%.
Figure 4 Employees receive support through smart devices, such as machine maintenance
In addition, the networking of value-added production chains and IT systems also brings the flexibility to meet individual needs, not only to find individualized production methods that produce workpieces based on customer needs, but also to improve the level of customer service in smart factories. Step: Orders can be modified during processing. T-Systems is currently testing the concept with the Technical University of Munich and DE Software & Control, where all production steps are spatially separated and the factory knows what Where the local products, and customers with an APP to understand the current product processing and convey the changes, the factory and then adjust the production accordingly. This end-to-end integration increases the flexibility of autonomous solutions and the entire system while avoiding rework caused by errors and production disruptions.
Gradually become a smart factory
However, what exactly should companies do to change to a smart factory? The easiest way to make a smart factory come true is nonexistence, of course, in the absence of a factory. If it is not always economical to turn an existing factory into a smart factory overnight, companies should implement new applications step by step and become a smart factory, which makes them particularly suitable for using "smart devices" in a single area Knowing exactly where workpieces, containers, and forklifts are located at any time allows for central monitoring of the machine's condition while allowing employees to operate from mobile devices such as tablets, smart gloves and data glasses.
However, this step-by-step approach also requires the corresponding expertise so that individual modules can be integrated and one can not expect ready-made turn-key projects and should use packaged solutions that do not need to be pre-configured according to usage. On the road to a smart factory, policymakers must not only complete the transformation of their technology systems, but also constantly evolve their business processes, methods and staff. "That means major changes are needed," Gruber said, "so it is advisable to find an experienced transition partner."
Standards are indispensable
Organizations save time and money by deploying preconfigured platform solutions and infrastructure for smart factories, which is especially worthwhile for midsize companies that are too self-supporting to grow. One platform can be used for the expansion and standardization of all required technologies: modules and gateways for machine networking, networking, cloud servers, data analysis and online user guides. A personalized solution like product tracking simply interfaces with the platform in a simple plug-and-play manner to introduce a new service approach: Device manufacturers can now connect their devices to a cross-client platform , Remotely monitor the status of your equipment and even change configurations online when needed.
Future digital production and unified network interconnection will be made even easier as we are rolling out internationally agreed standards of communication between machines, for example in the Industry 4.0 platform in the German economy, industry associations, technology and politics Even telecom companies are involved in the standardization of Industry 4.0.
Not science fiction
Every effort is worth it: Because the way we finally see it works makes for efficient use of people, tools, and production materials, we can optimize our production processes with autonomous control loops, monitor process quality in real time and tailor our customers' personalization and lag Needs to make a flexible response.