Industry 4.0 and SmartFactory are transforming the way we will work and production in the future through digitization and networking. The opportunities and benefits of the new technologies are seemingly unlimited and new investments are no longer imaginable without digital technology. Through consistent monitoring, reliable key figures are formed for the important decision-making processes. With intelligent controlling plants are controlled flexibly, demand-oriented and with reduced use of resources. All production data are available anytime, anywhere.
While the continuous digitization of processes can already be realized to a large extent in new plants, many production companies are often faced with another challenge:
How can existing plants be integrated into the digital future?
The modernization of older systems with a low level of automation often seems impossible or expensive at first sight and is often complicated by heterogeneous structures. With the versatile and neutral automation platform VBASE, a fast and cost-effective modernization can be realized for every machine through a targeted retrofit.
With retrofit, old machines and systems are brought up to the latest technology level by retrofitting modern components. A significant increase in productivity and quality leads in many cases to a relatively short-term amortization of the investment costs.
In practice, a combination of modular automation software as a machine operating surface and specific sensor technology has proven itself. In order to communicate with all components in heterogeneous production environments, a multitude of interfaces in all directions of the process chain is a necessary. In this way, the data of all common systems and components from different manufacturers can be merged and superior IT systems can be connected. Thanks to integrated MES functions, "old-fashioned" machines and systems can be modernized with a small amount of time and money and made fit for digital production.
Important production- and quality-relevant data are determined directly at the machine, displayed to the operator, and reported to higher-level systems (ERP, PPS, QMS, etc.). In the same way, production plans, part lists, or recipes from work preparation are transferred directly to the machine.
Calculate, improve and permanently monitoring of processes effectiveness
The effectiveness of a processes can be read off using the generally valid OEE code. It is the measure for the value added of a production plant and can be used for almost every process. Effectiveness losses are evaluated separately according to availability, performance and quality in order to obtain a qualified basis for continuous improvement.
Practical example: If the status signal from a machine changes from the active to the stop state, the operator is prompted interactively via the HMI panel after the standstill reason. For this purpose, a machine-specific, individual selection list is available for fast operation. The software uses these and other information to make shift-related evaluations (e.g. standstill reasons and times) and calculates with additional parameters the OEE code for the machine. This information is recorded automatically in the background and displayed dynamically on the machine.
Increase availability and reduce costs with predictive maintenance
The maintenance software module uses the production time and the number of status changes to determine the next service time in relation to the predetermined MTBF times. The duration until the next service is displayed dynamically. For more complex machines, this function can also be used selectively for certain machine components. By using additional, specific sensors, this functionality can be further refined.
Determine, display and reduce the energy and resource consumption
By integrating signals for the detection of energy and material quantities, the "Smart Meter" software module determines the quantities consumed and calculates statistical values. For this purpose, the automation software communicates directly with the consumption counters of the machine, for example simple-to-install electronic current meters.
Optimize workload and increase perfomance
With the help of graphical time schedules, machine and staff performance can be optimized. Shift times and production plans can be transferred from higher-level units and production planning or can also be set directly at the machine.
Seamless traceability and product-specific quality proofing
All production- and quality-relevant data can be automatically recorded on the basis of unique serial numbers to each produced item or batch-related and are quickly available at any time.
Highly flexible and paperless production processes
The integration of the machines into a networked production environment is made possible via standardized interfaces to IT systems (for example, order preparation, ERP, QMS) and a powerful database interface. Order data are transmitted directly to the machine, displayed to the operator and, if required, processed automatically. All produced production data (consumption, quantities, production times, etc.) are automatically and immediately reported back.
With the machine cockpit always all relevant data in one view
By combining all the relevant data and key figures to create an intuitive overall dashboard, each machine operator is able to run the processes that he is responsible for with maximum productivity, with the same quality and without loosing focus on plants health.
Web-Remote for mobile access to your production data
Via an integrated HTML5-based web interface, all machine and production data can also be displayed and operated on any mobile devices (smartphone, tablet pc...). So, the production data can be made available in real time, worldwide. In case of alarm, error or when limit values are reached, employees or the responsible department can be informed by text message or email.
By retrofitting and the use of a flexible, machine-oriented automation software and upstream sensors, simple machines and systems with a low degree of automation are also smart. The comparatively humble investment is amortized in a short time period by increased productivity and prolonged lifetime of plants. Integrated scheduling and the connection to ERP and production planning provide new possibilities for handling the production data.