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German mechanical industries in context of industry 4.0

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In this chapter, I will discuss about the German mechanical industries in context of industry 4.0. For the case study, I have chosen VDMA and its member companies. These member companies have provided their solution and illustrated their specific character for industry 4.0.

Industry 4.0 indicates a fundamental change in production. Use of IT and internet technologies has become more important in industries According to VDMA, industry 4.0 is more of an evolution than a revolution. A pool of knowledge was created by VDMA, which consists of experts from an interdisciplinary team. This pool is responsible for supporting member companies and other VDMA departments. This VDMA control center takes into account digital production and aims at working on various elements like networks, business models, production, politics, research, standards and norms, innovation, legal affairs, cyber security, humans and IT technologies.

ABB which is a German local business for robotics believed that their market and customers required a more flexible approach for changing product’s life cycle. There was a need of solution for an easy portability and re-deployable for human workspaces. An easily employable innovative programming method would reduce special training costs. This vision led to a solution called YuMi, which provides a complete solution for parts-feeding system, camera based locations, flexible hands and state of the art motion control. This can help in getting new production up and running in hours and help companies to be ahead of their competitors. ABB Robotics is working towards lowering barriers of IOTSP by enhancing, integration, simplicity and a better collaboration among humans and robots.

Arburg is working towards demand for individualized plastic products which is increasing. Producing it in small batches without economic availability and efficiency is a genuine challenge. The initial situation says that individualized large volume of products can be made in single batch by a combination of injection, additive manufacturing, molding and using other industry 4.0 technologies in a smart and flexible cyber physical induced production system. For this situation Arburg has come to a solution that they require an automated and networked production cell. Currently, they are working on linking of an injection molding machine with additive manufacturing using a seven axis robot. When a user will place an order, the production will begin automatically. This will happen by usage of a data network which will act as an information carrier within products. ALS, which is an Arburg host company will consider and save all the parameters and pass them on the online servers. These customized data will be retrieved by the website on any device. This method can be applied to services and products.

Another company Argo-Hytos is working towards customization of manufacturing processes. Initial situation suggests that there is a need to specification of applied technology as per machine needs and companies are working dynamically to set a trend. After recognizing this trend, Argo-Hytos has set up a concept of “ZERO SET UP TIME”. They are using networked components and developing production facilities for smart factories on their own. They have also created a laser cube for industry 4.0, which is currently operational in their factory in Kraichtal in Germany. This laser cube works towards cost reduction and flexibility. They are also working towards manufacturing of integrated plastic system and its solutions. The configuration is flexible and consists of connected core components which communicates directly or via machines.

Aventics is working towards intelligent pneumatics for IoT. According to them, one of the greatest challenges of future is the better system availability coupled with production of small quantities. This will not be possible without flexibility in assembly and better equipment. There will be a need to plan maintenance activities before time, which will make intelligent equipment and networking will be essential in IoT. They have created a valve system as an advanced electronic system. These ultra-light and compact valves support modularization. This has made preassembling the entire function possible without the use of cabinet. All conventional fieldbuses and Ethernet protocols are supported for data flow. When connected these pneumatic valves actuators and sensors to valves can enable communication.

Axoom, which was founded in 2015 as a machine tool manufacturing is planning this transition step by step. They are working towards growing complexities. According to them, there is a need of open business platform that has a holistic design and encloses an entire value chain. They are using components made by other companies and networking among them which has led them to create a digital order manufacturing and a better resource management. They have also featured reporting every day to create more transparency.

Bachman electronic GmbH is working towards software concepts of smart factories. They are working extensively on new automation solutions which will help in bringing machine building closer to industry 4.0. They are mainly focusing on creating a vertical flow of data, which will optimize machine monitoring and manage services. This will also help in prevention of downtimes. They have created a software module called fleet management system, which takes data from machine sensors and refines it so that it can be used globally. FMS enables and increases both quantity of collected data and quality of it. FMS also helps in cutting down unnecessary maintenance costs and operating costs of machines.

Beckhoff Automation GmbH is working towards machine diagnostic and predictive maintenance. They are working towards industry 4.0 implementation and IoT concepts. These require wide range of requirements, mainly for diagnostics, pattern recognition, machine optimization, predictive maintenance and data archival. Machines generally take a lot of time and money to process errors. This time and cost can be utilized in production. To avoid such future problems, a new TwixCAT analytics tool is available and can be used to rectify the information by storing process relevant data in a synchronous manner. Data is stored in a standardized process data format with data compression, either locally in the controller, in a cloud-based solution on a server in the company network, or in a public cloud, as required.)(

Robert Bosch GmbH is working towards usage of sensors to monitor product quality across supply chain. Whether, sensitive components or expensive finished products: although quality is monitored almost seamlessly during production, knowledge as to what happens during transportation and product use is frequently nebulous. For example, nobody knows for certain whether the specified transport conditions are really complied with, or whether vibration, excessive humidity, or shocks have caused invisible damage. In the worst case, components can no longer be used, resulting in high downtime costs. The application created by Bosch as an industry 4.0 solution is called ‘TraQ’ (Tracking and quality). The aim of this application is monitoring of products across the entire supply chain. Bosch cloud has an integrated transport packaging which records data that is relevant to quality of product. These processes can be smoothly integrated in business process by the help of sensors. In real time Bosch checks quality related issues and alerts the users so that counter measures can be applied. It is planned to launch this sensor solution, which has already been successfully tested in-house at Bosch, in 2017.

Centrum Industrial IT (CIIT) is working towards mobile projections in industrial production. Researchers are working together on solutions for smart factories. A key technology for Industry 4.0 purposes is the so-called AR, the computer-assisted extension of reality. CIIT researchers of inIT developed cooperatively a technology promising more efficiency and convenience at the workplace without any tools such as data glasses, PC tablets or other mobile devices. The vision behind the projection-based AR environment is to produce more efficiently and smartly by providing the right information at the right time and in the right place. By combining a high-performance projector with specific software it is possible to guide the user safely and efficiently through the assembly process on the manual workstation. All relevant information needed is directly projected on the assembler’s working place – from an individual assembly part being virtually color-highlighted to a complete 3D model showing the assembly instruction. The suggested approach is based on “pick-by-vision” or “pick-by-light”. A first demonstrator has been implemented successful in a versatile assembly system.

Cognitas, which is a Cannon company, is working on CyberSystem connector, which is an intelligent technical documentation lifecycle services. According to them, machines, production plants and procedures became more and more complex during the last decades, and the timespans between changes due to changing requirements shorter. Manuals for manufacturing systems were mainly created for safety reasons, but today operating companies start to use them for their daily work. High quality solutions for manuals and information management are becoming a quality feature of manufacturers. The low-cost production of up-to-date documents becomes a main objective. The CyberSystemConnector Collaboration uses the growing networks among machine components to recognize relevant changes to the machines. Cognitas and the collaborators develop a virtual image of the machine that mirrors its state at any time. The file format is then utilized to prepare the virtual images for the exchange between companies. Thus, documentation content can be delivered taking into account the target group and the working situation of the users. Content delivered by suppliers can be integrated seamlessly.

GE digital is focusing on making bid data into smart data using cloud processing. The digitalization of production marches on and more companies are connecting data from machines and people to create networks for manufacturing. IT and OT are merging controls and processes are being digitized and the factory is now becoming the smart factory. At GE, it is the brilliant factory. Smart factories produce billions of data bytes from production processes and critical assets. How can companies extract the most important information from these vast amounts of data how can a factory convert all of this big data into smart data solution the answer is cloud processing and analytics. GE has developed a secure industrial-strength cloud solution the brilliant manufacturing suite by evaluating data using smart analytics.

Heidelberg Druckmaschlnen AG is developing new business models for smart industries. Due to a consolidation in the print industry over the past 20 years, huge multinational companies and highly automated internet-printers took over a large part of the printing market. These companies require highest machine availability and performance from manufacturers like Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG (Heidelberg). A modular range of services, developed and implemented, for ever increasing customer demands. Basis for these new smart services is an IoT-platform for the transmission of machine log data as well as a high-tech big-data analytics system, which permanently analyses data of thousands of sensors of the printing presses. With this, indicators for approaching errors can be detected and handled early enough to prevent unplanned downtimes thanks to the expertise of our service specialists. The objective is to attain highest machine availability. Apart from technical data, performance data which is used in analysis of production processes is transmitted my machines to improve the entire production system (people, machines and processes) the causes of losses in terms of time, speed and quality must be identified in order to find the best solution. Heidelberg covers all of this in a unique consulting service and performance.

KUKA offers advanced solutions for robot-based automation to its customers globally. Industry 4.0 is bringing the digitization of factories to reality. Production requirements are growing, and product life cycles decreasing while product variety is increasing. This creates a need for flexible systems capable of communicating among themselves autonomously. Using lean manufacturing, KUKA has created a delivery system of assembly material including logistics processes. In the in-line wrist assembly shop for the KUKA KR QUANTEC robot, the KUKA Mobile Robotics iiwa mobile robot has the task of distributing screws and other production material. The KUKA Mobile Robotics iiwa is a mobile platform on which the sensitive LBR iiwa lightweight robot is mounted which delivers the ordered KANBAN boxes to the central warehouse rack. At regular intervals, the sensitive KUKA Mobile Robotics iiwa checks the individual shelves and removes the delivered boxes. It holds each box up to a QR code scanner mounted on the platform, enabling it to identify the individual target position. It then transports the boxes directly to the appropriate workstation. The integrated KUKA Navigation Solution, combined with safety laser scanners, makes it possible for the KUKA Mobile Robotics iiwa to detect obstacles early on and thus to safely and autonomously navigate through the production facility. In this way, it can share common paths with people and logistics trains.

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