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Demonstrator platform advances Industry 4.0

Demonstrator platform advances Industry 4.0

The SmartFactoryKL consortium is a network set up in Germany consisting of more than 45 organisations, including Minitec, from industry and research. The partners perform research and development projects related to Industry 4.0 and the factory of the future. The work ranges from developing their vision and preparing descriptions all the way to industrial implementation.

The centrepiece of the work is the manufacturer-independent demonstrator and research platform – an Industry 4.0 production plant created by the SmartFactoryKL partner consortium. This is where researchers and operators are advancing the concepts of Industry 4.0.

The aim is to pave the way for more flexible, more efficient production concepts. Innovative information and communication technologies are tested and further developed in realistic, industrial production environments. This allows for mature information technologies to be integrated in factory automation. This is how the factory of today becomes a smart factory.

Minitec’s modular aluminium profile systems create one of the fundamental building blocks of the smart factory of the future – from traditional machine cages and enclosures through to ergonomically designed workstations and assembly lines and modern storage and handling systems.

As an example, a new concept of production assembly lines from Minitec is improving quality and efficiency. With an increasing trend towards customisation of the finished product and small batch sizes the manufacturer needs to be as flexible as possible without compromising quality and efficiencies. One-piece production flow lines need to be able to address the issues of safe and ergonomic working conditions and quick start up/changeover times even when dealing with multi product manufacturing and assembly. The new concept lines are also perfect for multi-shift operation and the frequently changing teams operating the lines.

The modular aluminium profile-based manufacturing line concept is designed to meet the testing challenges facing the manufacturer. Electronic interfaces link the manufacturing to the operator’s ERP systems and ensure that the correct documentation, work instructions are available for each order being produced on the line. The flow line manufacturing concept is an essential part of reducing wasteful on the line and neatly fits in with the Industry 4.0 push towards automation of hitherto manually processed activities.

Before the job starts the operator scans the order in and his screen will pull up which item is to be produced and details the variants required. Minitec’s software controls the line and adjustments to the assembly process can be made with minimal software modification. By deploying new generation wireless power tools torque settings and speed can be adjusted according to the requirement of the job in hand.

Manual stations and complex automated processes can be achieved cost-effectively with Minitec’s modular profile system consisting of standardised modules that can be combined in any number of ways to create tailor-made conveyor handling systems to suit the specific application.

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