Changeover made easy
Everyone is talking about the high-flexibility factory: Particularly since the emergence of the buzzword “Industry 4.0”, growing attention has focused on developing factory concepts that enable manufacturers to create specific products for their customers with a minimum additional investment of time and money. From packaging to filling or woodworking: Every year, companies are facing growing pressure to be able to manufacture new formats at extremely short notice. The practical production implications are essentially identical for everyone from contract fillers, who have to adapt new package sizes continuously, to in-house production divisions of major groups such as Procter&Gamble or the Coca-Cola Company.
Mechatronics@Work: Insights and technology solutions
The popularity of mechatronics has grown rapidly as OEMs and manufacturers develop more efficient and integrated production systems, ones that are versatile and make the most intelligent use of today’s automation technologies. Generally speaking, mechatronics is the intelligent selection and integration of mechanical and electrical components into machines and production lines to accomplish complex automated manufacturing applications. Just as importantly, it is also the engineering discipline guiding the design and creation of mechatronics systems.
Ethernet-enabled energy optimization is rolling out
The stage is set for Ethernet-based energy management to become routine policy for end users and machinery builders implementing automation projects. The first objectives of the new energy measurement protocols will be to place systems into standby mode during production pauses to reduce energy usage.
Energy-efficient hydraulics slash operating costs
Energy consumption is often the major contributor to overall costs of owning and operating industrial plants and machinery. On average, energy consumption accounts for between 20 and 30% of total equipment operating costs. And in energy-intensive hydraulic applications, the share of energy costs are often far greater. In such cases, variable-speed pump technology quickly pays for itself.
Significantly increasing productivity
Automation technology in the 21st century offers perfection in speed, precision and quality – and is flexible, smart and intuitive, too. In addition to pneumatic automation technology, applications with electric automation technology, and above all those featuring customer-specific combinations of the two technologies, are bringing the automation of the future into new dimensions of productivity.
Sercos makes waves
Akamina Technologies equipped a plant to simulate sea waves in a water basin in cooperation with CANNON-Automata.
72 drives are operated in clock-synchronous mode and arranged in single clusters, each with own Sercos® master and eight servo drives.
The simulation has high demands regarding the precision of height and frequency of the waves as well as on their reproducibility.
Trends in Factory Automation
Trends in automation technology are a key driver for growth and competitiveness. What trends ought a manufacturer of automation technology or an end customer to follow? Implementing or studying a trend technology requires an increase in investments. The ARC Advisory Group cooperates closely with companies from the production industries and especially with automation manufacturers in order to identify and analyze technical trends and assess their future importance.
Mobile transfer units on a long leash
For 60 years, GEA Lyophil GmbH in Hürth near Cologne has been developing and building freeze-drying systems for the pharmaceutical industry. The company holds a leadership position in this field, particularly in the area of automated loading and unloading systems for freeze dryers. It has been able to improve mobility for its newest units by using integrated servo drives from Schneider Electric.
Image processing is a key technology, and a majority of systems and machines already come with image processing systems. Image processing makes production faster, more reliable, and more cost effective, and also increases product quality. Industry experts forecast strong further growth in this area. With its new pictor and vicosys image processing systems, the specialist Vision & Control now also provides powerful components that can be used with the Sercos automation bus. They can be integrated quickly, easily, and cost-effectively in machines and systems.
More flexibility in Machine Construction thanks to Industrial Ethernet
The dream of an intelligent factory is almost as old as industrial engineering itself. The higher the number of employees and workstations working in parallel for the production of a product, the more communication and control is required. What was once defined by a strict working cycle is now done by information channels constituting the nervous system of a company.
Trends and challenges in industrial automation
Everything used to be very simple. The machines set the pace on the plant floor. Maintaining a perfect rhythm made the work more efficient. The rules are different in today’s state-of-the-art production environments. Fast reaction to change has become an additional success factor which contributes to high productivity during normal day-to-day operations. No matter how well you prepare, you cannot plan for every eventuality.
Data traffic with high performance and tested reliability
Maximum efficiency is the goal of every machine manufacturer. Every project has to be judged in terms of how far it offers an optimum balance between results and costs. Therefore, new technologies are not taken up simply because they are new but because they improve efficiency without raising costs unnecessarily.
How companies can master the conversion safely and systematically
One should love all things old, recommends Theodore Fontane in his book “Der Stechlin”, whereas the new has to be lived. This is generally easier said than done, however, since switching to a new technology involves numerous hurdles. Opportunities, risks and costs have to be weighed up. And there is also an emotional component, as no one ever likes to say goodbye to something which they have got used to.
Trade article: The nervous system of modern production systems
Data transfer has turned into the nervous system of modern production systems. New solutions are needed here since production control tasks are becoming more and more complex. Ethernet has taken over when it comes to components for operation and visualization, but standardized tools to diagnose complex network activities are still required on the machine control level. A research project has been started to solve this problem.