Industry 4.0 is a vision. But what lies behind it? UNITED GRINDING gets to the bottom of this topic and shows just what this vision entails and how UNITED GRINDING approaches Industry 4.0
Everyone is talking about Industry 4.0. This means the fourth industrial revolution. After mechanization, electrification and automation we now have digitalization. Machines and their components are digitally networked with one another and with their environment. The aim of this networking is to simplify and optimize processes and thus to maximize the value creation chain. In the digital factory, also called the Smart Factory, there will be no more unplanned machine downtimes and resources will be optimally used.
Half of the population are online today. They communicate via the World Wide Web. But more and more devices and systems are being networked together. The possibilities opened up by the digitalization and networking of machines are immense. Experts from different areas believe that new markets will open up, with an annual turnover of 100 billion euros. It is clear that «Big Data», i.e. the huge quantity of data that is collected, is worth a great deal if it is systematically analyzed and incorporated into processes. This task presents a huge challenge for both industry and society. How does UNITED GRINDING handle it?
«A Smart Factory isn't simply created overnight. It is necessary to focus on certain areas», explains Christian Josi, project manager at Fritz Studer AG. For UNITED GRINDING the basic principle applies, that all further developments should lead to a customer benefit. «We work closely together with our customers», Josi explains. But what is UNITED GRINDING specifically working on?
The basis of Industry 4.0 is the networking of machine, logistics, product and our customers' business systems (ERP, SAP). Everyone must speak the same language here. This is achieved through the simple and secure software interface used worldwide, OPC UA (Open Platform Communication Unified Architecture). STUDER, for example, has integrated the OPC UA standard into its "StuderWIN" machine software. The machine can assume two roles here: OPC UA Client and Server. This enables STUDER machines to be integrated simply and securely into the environment of the digital factory.
Another focus is on unplanned machine downtimes. The UNITED GRINDING Group tackles this topic methodically, as a group. The aim: With UNITED GRINDING Digital Solutions the customer will receive a tool which helps optimize his production. In other words, the machine will only be stationary if this is planned and calculated. The UNITED GRINDING Group adopts the «Predictive Maintenance» approach here. In order to make this possible in future, the data of the individual assemblies and components are recorded and analyzed. Different measured variables are needed here, to form a clear picture of the individual assemblies and components. This requires continuous learning and is an ongoing process. «Once there is a clear vision, suitable strategies and measures can be precisely planned and the right tools developed», Josi is convinced. Another product within UNITED GRINDING Digital Solutions is Remote Service. This means that if an assembly or component fails, despite Predictive Maintenance, the problem can be reported to the responsible Customer Care Organization at the press of a button and the customer can be offered optimal support.
Who is at the center here?
With the use of new technologies and digitalization, we must never lose sight of the customer benefit. UNITED GRINDING consciously focuses on the individual customer and his requirements. The new technologies and digitalized products must ultimately have a positive effect on the value creation chain. But what is the role of people in the digital factory? «Doubtless the requirements will change and different competencies will become important. However, people will remain an essential part of the system in future», Josi is convinced. Because the fourth industrial revolution should ultimately serve people – not vice versa.