Making the Smart Factory Work

The Smart Factory

The Smart Factory is quickly becoming a real place, where the technology and capabilities developed under Industry 4.0 will be put to work.

Content

The Smart Factory is quickly becoming a real place, where the technology and capabilities developed under Industry 4.0 will be put to work. Connecting real machines with information technologies and the Internet will increase productivity, add unprecedented levels of flexibility to manufacturing, and leverage the benefits of new business models and value creation networks.

Have a look, how the Smart Factory will work. Follow the steps below to see how one customer’s order for hydraulic technology is handled more intelligently and efficiently by leveraging the capabilities of multiple Industry 4.0 systems and processes.

Customer order is placed

An industrial OEM orders 20 hydraulic drives with electronic controls, with multiple pump displacements transmitted to the manufacturer’s information systems. The data for the order is connected and shared with different systems, like Enterprise Resource Planning or Manufacturing Execution System.

Value creation network engaged

This information flows in two directions. On the shop floor, it allocates machine and staff. At the same time, outside suppliers receive information listing the materials needed for production. Together, manufacturers and suppliers form a value creation network.

Workpieces tagged for efficient manufacturing

The production process starts with the basic pump body and drive components. All the needed components and the pump get an ID-tag which enables these components to guide themselves through the factory. This ensures that all products will be in the right place, at the right time, for maximum efficiency.

Self-guided production proceeds

When the pump body passes the intelligent station, its ID-tag is scanned. That data is transferred to the cloud server and the interactive communication platform, the ActiveCockpit.

This platform gathers all the customer’s order specifications and requirements, and displays what will be produced. The ActiveCockpit collects, processes and visualises all relevant production line data in real-time – connecting man, machine and production process in a new kind of automation.

Intelligent and autonomous workstations at work

This Smart Factory utilises another example of man and machine working together: ActiveAssist. This tool “actively assists” the worker to assemble the drive. Active Assist is adapted to the individual needs, skills and language of the worker and intelligently leads the worker through the assembly process.

Even handheld assembly tools have smart technology to connect man and machine better. The Nexo nutrunner tightening system has links to all relevant data. The Nexo determines the exact positioning automatically, making a wrong assembly virtually impossible. And the assembler gets feedback to know when the screw is completely tight.

Real-time information exchange supports order modification

The customer has determined that they need to change the pump displacement on five of the 20 ordered pumps. Can all 20 still be delivered on-time?

Not a problem: Thanks to Industry 4.0, the manufacturer has real-time data from the complete production process. A change to pump displacements is still possible within the same delivery time. The configuration change is made and confirmed to the customer, and orders for the new parts are sent to suppliers in the value creation network.

Delivery to customer: on time and on target

The pump order is complete, enhanced with a virtual image that includes order-related data and all data saved during manufacturing process for each product delivered.