In manufacturing there has always been the need for data analysis. Continual improvements are a mainstay of remaining competitive, and without data and the means to store and analyze the data, there there is also no means to measure the process. Fact is, you cannot improve what you cannot measure.
If you have been keeping up to date on the latest industry news or have attended the recent FABTECH Chicago show then you have heard of Industry 4.0 and its impact on manufacturing. Industry 4.0 is a term that references the collective machine interconnectivity and big data that is now a large part of the manufacturing process chain. It refers to the physical computing, logical devices and machine sensors that communicate data, the networking of these systems to communicate their data in real-time and the ability to utilize the collected data not only for automated decision making systems but for data services used by humans involved in the manufacturing process chain. The origin of the term Industry 4.0 is from a German government project that promotes the computerization of manufacturing and is a reference to the 4th industrial revolution in manufacturing. The 1st revolution being mechanical production equipment driven by water and steam power, the 2nd based on mass production enabled by the division of labor and the use of electrical energy, the 3rd based on the use of electronics and IT systems to further automate production.
Decentralization of Decisions:
The interconnectivity of devices has enabled data to be communicated from one system to the other in real-time and allowed automated systems to make decisions that were once centralized with human activities. ERP systems can now automatically break down orders into bill of materials and machine routings, raw materials automatically ordered and jobs released to the automated job management systems that can collect, group and optimize jobs based on material requirements and order due dates. As soon as the job management system has optimized the materials, the orders can be sent directly to the machines based on reaching automatic criteria such as achieving effective material yields. Automated machines can take the raw material information and retrieve the correct material and present it for processing at the laser. The laser can automatically set focus positions and change nozzles based on materials being processed, automated unload systems can make sure that the cut materials have been removed from the shuttle table and a new material is ready for processing before the laser is finished with the previous sheet.
Benefits of Real-Time Data:
With machines providing real-time production data, it enables real-time decision making both by automated systems and by the humans that require data to make on-the-fly decisions. Collected production data have enabled the real-time measuring of manufacturing processes and to make on-the-fly decisions and improvements.
By Frank Arteaga, Head of Product Marketing, NAFTA Region
Bystronic Inc., Elgin, IL – Voice.firstname.lastname@example.org