Factory of the Future

How Factory Owners Can Avoid Choosing the Wrong Industry 4.0 Technology

Guest Contributor, Exor

This article provides a guide for factory owners and IT managers about the principles of lean manufacturing and the criteria to apply, in order to constantly work at optimizing factory outputs, and source the most cost-effective technology while reducing waste at the same time.

This article covers:

  • ‘No islands of automation’ is now ‘no island without a cloud’
  • What are the main types of benefits offered by technology suppliers?
  • Using Lean Manufacturing as a technology filter
  • How can Industry 4.0 concepts help with Lean Manufacturing?

Many factory owners and manufacturers are faced with the challenge of transforming their factories from Industry 2.0 to Industry 4.0 smart factories in order to optimize operational efficiency and automation and to stay ahead in the competitive manufacturing space. Certain customers may require additional customization of products and faster output times, which factories also have to take into account. A large part of optimization involves leveraging and implementing new technology such as IoT architecture and Industry 4.0 systems while reducing waste. Implementing new technology in a factory can be quite an undertaking, and it is advisable for factory owners and manufacturers to avoid costly technology investments which yield no net benefit to the factory at hand.

‘No islands of automation’ is now ‘no island without a cloud’

During the previous decade, many factory owners moved to automation due to the benefits and gains such as higher accuracy, higher productivity, job scheduling ability and availability that increased mechanization offered. They often heard the phrase and the principle of “no islands of automation” that meant they were to avoid automated sub-systems that were not integrated into the overall factory processes and automation and thus provided no benefit to the larger systems in the factory. The aim was to have complete, integrated production and assembly lines that manufactured products seamlessly and without lag time. Automation in and of itself had a significant effect on the factory floor and factory owners experienced an increase in productivity and a decrease in downtime and lag time.

Now those same factory owners are hearing, “no island without a cloud”, since there is a push from IoT companies to promote cloud-based connectivity and solutions and store all the data the factory at hand is generating, in the cloud. The industrial sector is approaching standard cloud-based solutions with caution since there are concerns about the security of data, cost, bandwidth and latency. Even though the cloud does confer benefits to the Manufacturing Execution System (MES). Newer, emerging approaches are looking at using open standards such as OPC UA to control any machine in real-time and implementing machine to machine communication to reduce data storage requirements. The data is then collected and sent to a fog computer or processed at the edge closer to where the machines actually are located, to reduce the concerns with the standard cloud options such as cost and security.

What are the main types of benefits offered by technology suppliers?

Some of the key functionality related to Industry 4.0 technology that suppliers can provide and factory owners should take into consideration are:

1) Data-Driven Plant Performance Optimization

Data-driven plant performance optimization refers to collecting and using data generated by the factory machinery, sensors, HMIs, PLCs, staff and SCADA systems in order to enhance plant operations and processes. The data cycle for plant optimization involves recording and monitoring data, uploading data, analysis of the uploaded data and the reporting of this data using IoT gateways and IoT architecture in the Industry 4.0 context. This optimization should strive to maintain Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE), which is a measure of how effective the plant and its industrial equipment are. A process that receives a 100% OEE score means that it has a high-quality output that is as efficient as possible with no machine downtime.

2) Data-Driven Inventory Optimization

Data-Driven Inventory Optimization refers to the process of using real-time data to manage inventory. For example, consider a construction industry scenario where units of supply are labelled with RFID tags and an IoT system can count them. As soon as the supply units drop below a certain level, the sensors trigger an alarm and more supply units are purchased. Consequently, downtime is avoided and the project is more likely to be completed in the scheduled time frame.

3) Data-Driven Quality Control

Due to the ability of IoT systems to collect and manage big data, the IT provider should provide software that is able to develop quality-control models and profiles based on the data. Therefore, each product can be compared in real-time to these profiles (which were based on thousands or hundreds of thousands of data samples) and either rejected or accepted.

4) A Machine as a Service Business Model

This model allows factory owners to turn their machines into stand-alone income generating streams, in addition to the revenue the machine generates from being part of the internal factory processes and production line. So in this model, a specific machine in the factory can be outsourced to a customer or another company that needs it for a set amount of time, and this customer can, through the IoT platform, receive real-time data about the products or services for which they are using that particular machine. A technology supplier should be able to provide HMIs or other systems that enable this multifunctionality. So the factory should be able to receive data about the internal processes the machine is part of and the company hiring the machine should also be able to receive data about the machine and its outputs relevant to their needs.

5) Human Data Interface

The Human Data Interface refers to the platform used for humans to engage with the data, this could be via calls to a database, an HMI, or even a smartphone. The technology provider at hand should provide an interface that allows personnel to engage with the data and draw insights from it.

6) Predictive Maintenance

Predictive maintenance refers to the use of data generated by a certain machine, in order to predict the chances of failure of that specific machine before the actual failure takes place. The maintenance of the machine then takes place proactively rather than reactively. This reduces downtime significantly.

7) Remote Service

Remote service refers to the ability to remotely monitor or repair machinery. This allows repair and maintenance to take place from anywhere and saves the factory owner the cost of transporting machinery to a repair site to be fixed.

8) Virtual Training and Validation

Virtual training refers to training that is provided in a virtual capacity through the use of AI glasses. So, personnel can access this training and learn more about the factory processes in an online environment. Validation refers to the ability of the IoT system to check that the training received was actually beneficial to the staff and the factory. This is done by using sensors to compare the finished products of the factory before and after the completion of training, in order to see if there is a positive difference. Validation also involves using AI glasses to see if the staff member is actually implementing the training received on the shop floor.

Using Lean Manufacturing as a technology filter

Lean manufacturing is based on the concept of eliminating waste from factory processes while ensuring that the customer or client receives the maximum value. Lean manufacturing looks at optimizing the delivery of products in horizontal value streams that ultimately connect to customers. It is about evaluating what is adding value to the customer versus what is adding waste or is not beneficial to the factory.

It is systematic and there are five main principles involved in lean manufacturing:

  • The first principle involves identifying what value actually means to the customer, which will help the factory estimate how much the customer will be willing to pay for their products and services. If waste is removed, then the customer’s price can be met at the best profit margins for the company.
  • The second principle involves mapping the value stream, which means looking at the flow of input materials required to produce the product in its entirety. Emphasis is of course placed on reducing waste.
  • The third principle looks at removing operational barriers and interruptions to this flow.
  • The fourth principle looks at using a pull system where nothing is bought until there is a demand for it. The pull system is based on effective communication and flexibility.
  • The fifth principle looks at continuously improving and striving for perfection in the process.

Lean manufacturing principles can be beneficial for factory owners since they can be used as a technology filter or criteria in order to ensure that any technology implemented in the factory contributes to the reduction of waste and horizontal value streams. The technology in other words should contribute to the reduction of waste, the reduction in standing inventory, increased factory outputs, decreased production costs, and increased labour productivity.

How can Industry 4.0 concepts help with Lean Manufacturing?

…with Data-Driven Plant Performance

Data-Driven Plant Performance as discussed above refers to the use of data in real-time to increase production. This happens simultaneously while using the data to identify areas of waste and unproductivity. Data-driven plant performance contributes significantly to all the five main lean manufacturing principles since customers receive value, the mapping of the value chains are guided by actual data received in real-time, and the data helps identify the barriers such as when there is downtime and which machine/process is causing the downtime, so this can be instantly rectified. Additionally, since there is constant delivery of data from multiple sources in the factory to the staff and personnel of the factory – they can develop pull systems due to the ease of communication and the constant analytical processing of the data. Furthermore, the continuous development of useful models based on big data and real-time data allows for continuous improvement.

…with Data-Driven Quality Control

Data-driven quality control as mentioned above looks at comparing a sample or material to a profile developed from big data rather than conducting many expensive quality-control tests on every single sample in the production line. This fits in with the concept of lean manufacturing since the number of tests is reduced but quality control is maintained.

…with Virtual Training and Validation

Virtual training and validation look at providing training in virtual environments using AI glasses and validating through the use of AI glasses that the training was beneficial, effective and actually implemented. One of the main aspects of lean manufacturing focuses on training staff about lean principles in the factory since staff are a critical component in any factory environment. Therefore, through the use of AI glasses, staff can be trained and guided on lean manufacturing principles in the factory environment they are operating in. Additionally, the AI glasses can validate that staff actually are implementing the training they received in the factory. Consequently, the lean manufacturing concepts of waste reduction and optimization of product delivery will be felt throughout the factory as a result of both virtual training and validation.

Conclusion

Industry 4.0 concepts such as connecting multiple machines, machine-to-machine communication, human-machine communication, real-time data delivery, big data processing and analytical operations really tie in with the fourth principle of lean manufacturing.

Most manufacturers not using lean manufacturing principles rely on a push system which is based on standard forecasting techniques. Production is aligned to those pre-determined set forecasts. This can be problematic since some standard forecasting techniques are inaccurate, increase waste and are not effective. The lean manufacturing pull principle of not producing anything until there is a demand relies heavily on effective communication. With the correct choice of Industry 4.0 technology, this effective communication system can be developed and thus reduce waste and optimize overall factory efficiency.

cropped-cmafh-logo-with-tagline-caps.pngCMA/Flodyne/Hydradyne is an authorized Exor distributor in Illinois, Wisconsin, Iowa and Northern Indiana.

In addition to distribution, we design and fabricate complete engineered systems, including hydraulic power units, electrical control panels, pneumatic panels & aluminum framing. Our advanced components and system solutions are found in a wide variety of industrial applications such as wind energy, solar energy, process control and more.

The product carousel turns – cabinet free into the future

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Guest contributor: Reinhard Mansius, Bosch Rexroth

Do you ask yourself how to produce smallest quantities in an economically viable manner? That is no problem in the factory of the future: You are able to move your machines within the factory hall or take processing stations out of a production line, reposition them and then continue production at the push of a button. Cabinet-free drive technology is a key technology here with decentralized intelligence and comprehensive communication capabilities.

Looking in any supermarket will reveal promotional packs with twenty percent extra free or special products for Easter, summer, Halloween and Christmas. The product carousel is turning at an ever increasing pace. However, the life cycles of furniture, electronic products and cars are becoming shorter and shorter as well. At the same time, online retail accounts for an increasing share of the market. Consumers like to use online configurators in order to customize their products. As a result of this, you as a manufacturer may have to make production changes several times a week instead of producing the same products over many years. In the future, even this might not be enough and refitting may be necessary on an hourly basis.

On the basis of customer applications and numerous automation projects in our own plants, we have analyzed the requirements of such varied production processes and developed a vision for the factory of the future. Only the ceiling, the walls and the floor of the factory hall will be immovable. In contrast, it will be possible to configure machines and processing stations to create new production lines which will communicate wirelessly with each other. As a result of this approach, control cabinets will be obsolete or will no longer play a central role.

Control cabinets on their way out

The aim in automation: Making production changes primarily via software, with no manual cabling work. With traditional automation concepts, all cables lead from the actuators and sensors to the control cabinet and back again. In practice, this represents a bottleneck when it comes to installation and refitting. In contrast, the IndraDrive Mi servo drives are geared to and integrated into motors. They reduce the amount of cabling work required and take up no space in the control cabinet. They are installed with all necessary supply components in a decentralized manner in the machine or processing station. Up to 30 servo drives form a drive group on a hybrid cable string for power and communication. Only the first drive has an external connection to the higher-level control systems so that changes do not require cabling work on the control cabinet.

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The IndraDrive Mi servo drives are geared to and integrated into motors.

Switch off, reposition, switch on and carry on producing

This flexibility is available for a wide power range – from 0.4 kW to 11 kW. The drives without control cabinets have as standard four digital, freely configurable I/O connections for peripherals and sensors on board. Two of these can be used as quick measuring probes. By decoupling control communication, constructors can integrate further I/O modules, sensors and actuators for pneumatics or hydraulics. This means that automation is completely decentralized. As a result, it is very easy to make changes to the factory of the future later on. Simply switch off the station, pull out one or two plugs, push the machine to its new location, switch it on and carry on producing.

Simple, reliable commissioning

You as a machine manufacturer have scarce engineering resources which need to be used efficiently. Pre-defined, pre-programmed technology functions allow many tasks such as those involving cam discs or cam gears to be performed more quickly. With the integrated Motion Logic for individual axes, the drives take on axis-related processes independently of the central control system.

Engineering tools geared to the tasks make integration into modern concepts easier and save time. The Drive System software allows quick and reliable commissioning because its reads and applies the mechanical data from the motor encoders of the Rexroth motors. At the same time, the IndraDrive Service Tool offers easy access to service and diagnostic functions and also allows the software to be parametrized and updated. The tool which is independent of operating systems runs on HTML5-capable browsers and uses the web server which is integrated into the drive. This architecture makes it easier to replace components, while the tool offers practical access management with guest and service rights.

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Regardless of the sector – cabinet-free drive technology is revolutionizing mechanical engineering, significantly reducing costs and improving flexibility.

Communicative in a wide range of environments

Another key requirement for the factory of the future is that it can fit into connected environments and share information flexibly. You as a machine manufacturers are looking for drive solutions which allow them to cater for the different protocols in specific regions and sectors with a single item of hardware and thus simplify their entire logistics from ordering to the supply of spare parts. Cabinet-free drive technology meets this requirement with its multi-Ethernet interface. It supports all common protocols via software selection.

Ready for high-level language functions

Bosch Rexroth’s Open Core Engineering software technology allows you to access core drive functions and the integrated Motion Logic alongside PLC automation with high-level language programs.

In the future, you will be able to use Open Core Engineering for Drives to develop or purchase previously unseen web and cloud-based functions in high-level languages. This will establish a link between intelligent servo drive and server- and cloud-based applications. High-level language programming will open up entirely new connectivity options for you. Without complex PLC interfaces, you will be able to digitize the value stream – from recording an order in the ERP system and the MES systems to the drive.

Are you ready for new flexibility?

By modular concepts you will be able to streamline your processes or machines and stations and set them up flexibly and without control cabinet modifications to create new production lines geared to specific order requirements: the factory of the future is an evolutionary process which has already begun. Cabinet-free drive technology is helping you to meet the new requirements as regards flexibility economically, intelligently and safely – today.

cropped-cmafh-logo-with-tagline-caps.pngCMA/Flodyne/Hydradyne is an authorized Bosch Rexroth distributor in Illinois, Wisconsin, Iowa and Northern Indiana.

In addition to distribution, we design and fabricate complete engineered systems, including hydraulic power units, electrical control panels, pneumatic panels & aluminum framing. Our advanced components and system solutions are found in a wide variety of industrial applications such as wind energy, solar energy, process control and more.

DIGITAL ASSISTANT REDUCES MACHINE DOWNTIMES

Guest Contributor, Stefan Saul, Bosch Rexroth

Service app makes it easier to diagnose faults and passes on expert knowledge.

Time is money! – This is particularly true when it comes to maintaining machines and systems in factory automation. Every minute that production is stopped costs money – often a lot of money. Maintenance technicians are measured by how quickly they can get a defective machine running again after a stoppage. The challenge: they usually have to deal with machines and systems of various ages and from various manufacturers. The new Digital Service Assistant (DSA) app reduces this complexity and offers quick help when servicing is required. The app allows a maintenance technician standardized, wireless access to the error memory of machines fitted with Rexroth control systems and enables them to contact local service specialists quickly. The app also helps to clearly identify spare parts and order them straight away.

 

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An everyday scenario for maintenance staff: a machine operator reports that a machine is not working. In practice, a maintenance worker is alerted and runs to the machine, looking for the cause of the fault on the operating display. Where was the error memory again? Then they find out that the problem is with a drive motor. Now the search begins. Where in the machine is this motor? It is then a case of unscrewing the machine cover, finding the motor and cleaning the name plate. In case of doubt, it may be necessary to remove the motor. The maintenance worker can then return to their office and, with the help of the service hotline for the machine or motor manufacturer, identify the necessary spare part with all options. In many cases, how quickly the machine can be repaired depends on the experience and inventiveness of the individual maintenance worker and how quickly they find the correct information.

Digital access to all information

This is where the Digital Service Assistant comes in. The idea: maintenance technicians using a standard mobile device have wireless access to all relevant error messages and service information for new and installed machines with Rexroth control systems, can contact local service specialists via telephone or Skype, can clearly identify components using a camera and can then order them straight away. As part of a growing digital service portfolio, the app which was developed for iOS and Android devices makes it easier to find and rectify the causes of faults and thus reduce downtimes.

If an error message is received, the maintenance technician logs on to the defective machine from any location via the production WLAN network and reads the error memory. The technician has access to the stored parameters and can see immediately where the problem lies. At the push of a button, they can download the documentation to their mobile device or send it to their e-mail account via a link. In the event of more complex problems, the maintenance technician can call the helpdesk of the control system and drive manufacturer. Geotagging is used to determine where the nearest service centers are and a suitable center can then be selected. If required, the diagnostic information and the unique device identification data can be passed on transparently to Rexroth. Thanks to this precise description of the error, help can be provided quickly because the specialists on the helpdesk can access all the necessary information straight away without having to ask questions or carry out research. On this basis, they can help end users via telephone or Skype in their national language.

Clear identification of spare parts using serial numbers

Identifying spare parts is a common problem for maintenance technicians. With special machines, tailor-made components which differ from the standard designs are often used. And when the components are produced by a number of different manufacturers, the name plate often does not provide the necessary information. To make matters worse, the software version of intelligent modules also plays a role. If the spare part has a different version, this can mean a great deal of extra work. Time-consuming research is often necessary when ordering spare parts or requesting repairs.

This is not the case with Rexroth: for each control and drive component produced, the manufacturer allocates a unique serial number for which a digital twin with all options is saved. Using the DSA, the maintenance technician either brings up the electronic name plate from the control system or scans the QR code or serial number on the component. This information is then sent to the customer portal. Here, Rexroth identifies each component with all options and software versions and the user can order the relevant spare part electronically or request a repair without further questions. This saves a significant amount of time in practice.

Installed in two steps

Users can download the app in the 1st quarter of 2019  free of charge from the relevant app stores and install it on their smart device. Many services can be used straight away even without registering. The service app is also suitable for previously installed machines with Rexroth control systems. Installation requires little work and involves two steps: the control systems must be online via WLAN so that the app can access them. In a second step, the data which may be read out are defined in the machine’s PLC: log book, error memory, operating hours counter and the serial numbers of individual components. As a result, the app is suitable for universal use.

End users always attach particular importance to data security, i.e. security during production. Protecting machines against unauthorized access and manipulation is a matter of top priority. Accordingly, the DSA establishes the connection to the control systems using the internal company WLAN in accordance with IEEE 802.11i. This network is encrypted using the WPA2 key. The app can therefore only read out data that were defined individually beforehand. As a further built-in security feature, it has no write rights for the control system.

Registration optimizes services on offer

The DSA is another building block in Rexroth’s rapidly growing range of digital services. End customers can also register their machines on the customer portal on a one-off basis. As a result of this, the machine data are stored so that service issues can be dealt with quickly and easily by the helpdesk. At the same time, end users themselves can gain an overview of all components used. They receive information regarding relevant service issues such as updates or what they can do to ensure the serviceability of their control systems and drives.

Registration helps Rexroth to optimize its service both regionally and on a customer-specific basis. On the basis of the information regarding the type and number of installed components, the company can put in place suitable service capacities and keep a stock of spare parts.

Part of the OEM service solution

The Digital Service Assistant was specially developed to allow OEMs to integrate it into their digital service concepts. As a modular building block, it fits into manufacturer-specific service tools. Here, OEMs can provide all functions and for example link their own contact data to the geotagging system. If required, Rexroth can remain in the background for the end user and will only update the data stocks and the software.

Modern digital service offerings such as the DSA open up access to all necessary information in order to diagnose and rectify faults quicker than before. They help maintenance staff to find the right solutions more quickly and reduce machine downtimes. They are a further building block for the digital transformation towards the factory of the future.

cropped-cmafh-logo-with-tagline-caps.pngCMA/Flodyne/Hydradyne is an authorized Bosch Rexroth distributor in Illinois, Wisconsin, Iowa and Northern Indiana.

In addition to distribution, we design and fabricate complete engineered systems, including hydraulic power units, electrical control panels, pneumatic panels & aluminum framing. Our advanced components and system solutions are found in a wide variety of industrial applications such as wind energy, solar energy, process control and more.

Innovative automation solutions for additive manufacturing 2.0

Guest contributor: Peter Berens, Bosch Rexroth

Additive manufacturing is a growth market – sales worth tens of billions of euros are expected by 2020. However, innovative automation solutions are needed if this disruptive technology is to achieve a breakthrough and make the leap from prototype construction and toolmaking to industrial mass production.

If machine manufacturers want to achieve the productivity needed for mass production, they need to reduce the amount of manual work involved, the reject rate and the quality assurance outlay and successfully integrate the machines into the production line. Both challenges can be met through high-performance, intelligent and connective automation.

IoT as a key technology

In the factory of the future, AM machines will be connected horizontally and vertically to higher-level and neighboring IT systems. When it comes to the industrial Internet of things, Bosch Rexroth relies on open i4.0 standards such as OPC UA. With full server/client functionality, processes, cycle times and energy consumption can be evaluated in real time and optimized to achieve better productivity and quality. In conjunction with intelligent algorithms in drive and control technology, Bosch Rexroth also carries out predictive maintenance.

3D printing and the factory of the future

Thanks to decentralized intelligence, drive technology without control cabinets and open standards, the next generation of AM machines is ready for the factory of the future. Wireless communication and modular production lines increase flexibility while reducing set-up times. As a result, the factory layout can be geared to current and future requirements. The next logical step is the decentralization of the control system which will then receive its programs as necessary from the cloud.

What the hardware must be capable of

Whether it be metal, plastic or ceramic: the output in the relevant AM procedure depends very much on the performance of the CNC or motion control system. The shorter the cycle times, the more quickly the NC programs run. The higher the performance, the quicker 3D data can be computed on the CNC and process data collected and processed in real time. The MTX CNC system from Rexroth achieves this with a combination of a high-performance dual core processor and decentralized intelligence allowing fast reaction times. As a result, many additional tasks can be performed by the machine. Planning, programming and the commissioning of all system components take place in a standardized manner via IndraWorks Engineering.

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Software makes all the difference

In order to be able to control the application of additive materials precisely and to influence it easily with process variables, the control software too must be particularly powerful. The MTX system software includes numerous AM-specific CNC functions for this purpose. These include an intelligent temperature control system and a 3D online simulation with collision recognition which automatically visualizes the construction time, positioning and printing head travel. The standardized G code is supported by any slicer software. Integrated NC encoding systems protect manufacturer-specific know-how.

Digitizing the workflow

Another key development area is the digitization of the workflow with typical tasks such as print configuration, job management, machine monitoring including online process modification or controlling intralogistics. Because this is not possible without interfaces to the software programs involved (e.g. CAD/CAM systems or simulation solutions), the MTX CNC system has an open system architecture and the Open Core Interface. As a result, machine operators can easily integrate their workflows. In a pre-production context, there are numerous benefits including material simulations or the certification of quality-related parameters. The CNC system thus fits seamlessly into simulation environments as “hardware in the loop”.

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Efficient, intelligent and connective: the MTX CNC system from Rexroth. (Source: Bosch Rexroth AG)

Industrial 3D printing in practice

Norsk Titanium AS demonstrates just how efficient industrial 3D printing can be. The world’s leading provider of additive manufacturing technologies for aerospace-grade titanium established the first additive production facility on an industrial scale. In its Rapid Plasma Deposition™ machines, an MTX system controls not only plasma burners but also ten servo axes for producing components and conveying or handling the titanium wire. The MTX system also takes care of process optimization in real time by evaluating sensors and calculating correction values. Bosch Rexroth contributed to the partnership through the experience that it gained during more than 100 group AM projects along with various system components such as drive controllers, supply units, motors and linear systems including the IMS high-precision integrated measuring system.

The German machine tool manufacturer Weisser presented its Weisser additive manufacturing exhibit for the first time at the EMO 2017 and the Metav 2018. Equipped with an additive friction welding unit (AFW), it allows fine layers of metal to be deposited on metal materials and then precision-machined using metal-cutting techniques. As a result, the final contour is maintained with minimal material use. This technology too benefits from the MTX CNC system whose user interface can be integrated seamlessly into the multi-touch operating panel thanks to the open architecture.

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The future will be even simpler

With high-performance and high-connectivity automation solutions, industrial 3D printers will be fast and reliable enough for use in mass production. Open interfaces will help to digitize workflows. IoT connectivity is paving the way for the factory of the future. At the same time, experienced system partners such as Bosch Rexroth who provide not only engineering and application support but also complementary technologies such as decentralized drive or linear technology with integrated sensor systems can help manufacturers to acquire the necessary know-how.

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CMA/Flodyne/Hydradyne is an authorized Bosch Rexroth distributor in Illinois, Wisconsin, Iowa and Northern Indiana.

In addition to distribution, we design and fabricate complete engineered systems, including hydraulic power units, electrical control panels, pneumatic panels & aluminum framing. Our advanced components and system solutions are found in a wide variety of industrial applications such as wind energy, solar energy, process control and more.

Time is money: snappy automation of testing machines

Guest contributor: Andreas Sokoll, Bosch Rexroth

Usefully combining automation and IT is not only typical of Industry 4.0. In the engineering of measuring and testing machines, open interfaces also unleash great potential for efficiency. With the aid of National Instruments’ LabVIEW graphic programming environment and Open Core Engineering, they can now be modelled and automated in an integrated manner without creating a separate PLC code. The effect: a significantly quicker time to market!

Why complicate things if they can be actually be done simply

The idea of precisely modeling customer-specific measuring and testing machines without having to acquire and coordinate an additional PLC programmer is very attractive to many manufacturers. That’s because, until now, they had to program I/O queries and axis motions separately and transfer them into a joint machine program throughout all the development phases. An irksome and time-consuming task, which introduces additional sources of errors. However, this cost and quality-related factor can be minimized if the development environment communicates directly with the control core.

Modeling measuring and testing machines without additional PLC programming: in National Instruments’ LabVIEW programming environment, manufacturers can execute the motion sequences as well as measuring and testing tasks. The Open Core Interface acts as an open interface between the control system and the PC.

Parameterizing instead of programming

National Instruments’ LabVIEW graphic programming environment, which is widely used in the measuring and testing machines field, satisfies this requirement by supporting Bosch Rexroth’s Open Core Interface. Development engineers therefore get direct access to the control functions via their usual interface. Device drivers and functions can consequently be quickly and simply selected as graphic modules (Virtual Instruments) and then only need to be parameterized. This also speeds up commissioning. This is because, in addition to the measuring and testing applications, the full machine workflow can now be mapped in LabVIEW, and consequently in a joint project. There’s no need for the PLC code to be written in parallel and continually coordinated.

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Reduced engineering workload: Since LabVIEW supports Bosch Rexroth’s Open Core Interface, machine developers no longer have to work in two environments. The axis motions can also now be produced directly in LabVIEW.

Over 550 VIs to be parameterized

With its Open Core Interface, Bosch Rexroth has established the basis for not only the graphic LabVIEW language but also other modern high-level languages, software solutions from the simulation and model-based engineering fields, and open i4.0 standards such as OPC-UA being able to access control functions directly. The seamless integration in the respective programming environment is achieved by using a software development kit (SDK). In the case of LabVIEW, it contains more than 550 Virtual Instruments (VIs). They control the connection set up (ApiLib), access to direct motion commands (MotionLib), and access to the control system (SytemLib) or the drive and control parameters (ParameterLib) among other things. They are clearly structured in function libraries and they can be simply dragged & dropped into the project and then parameterized.

Motion PLC, drive and control functions: The LabVIEW SDK contains eight libraries with over 550 additional Virtual Instruments.

Fully fledged HMI for M2M communication

Both the “front panel” and “block diagram” programming windows that are typical of LabIEW now form a fully fledged user interface for man-machine communication. The block diagram shows the flow logic in the form of VIs and links, and all the control and display elements appear in the front panel, e.g. buttons, switches or graphical displays. So direct operation of the machine is also possible. For instance, in order to move an axis, the programmer simply activates the corresponding VI. The SDK provides numerous example projects illustrating the initial steps. The HMI templates that they contain can be quickly adapted to the respective requirements.

BlockdiagrammSimple block diagram: In this example, the logically linked Virtual Instruments read a value from the control unit.

Force measurement practical example

Force measurements are by far the most common form of test task. Including handling tasks, an estimated 90 to 95 percent of all measuring and testing tasks can in practice be carried out just by using LabVIEW. Here’s an example of the monitoring of a joining process:

A DIN 625 industrial bearing is to be pressed into a tolerance ring in a controlled manner. In order to control the linear axis motion, measure the pressing force and compare it with the tolerance range, the programmer divides the project into five steps: Connect, move (axes into position), start force control and measuring, measurement completed, and retract axis. The programming takes place purely in LabVIEW with the aid of self-explanatory VIs such as “Standstill”, “MoveVelocity”, “Continuous Motion” or “Stop”. The VIs are linked by connections in the graphical user interface and are activated and deactivated via target and transfer values such as “TRUE” and “FALSE”.

HMIQuick access to the desired operating interfaces: The SDK for LabVIEW comes with lots of example projects in which the HMI can be quickly and easily adjusted.

Complete control set from a single source

In addition to pure modeling and programming in LabVIEW, as a system manufacturer Bosch Rexroth provides even more ways of increasing engineering efficiency. In the practical example shown for instance, the press-fit procedure is carried out via an energy-efficient electromechanical cylinder (EMC) with an integrated force sensor and drive. In combination with an IndraControl XM control this produces a fast, higher-level control loop in which the mechanical and electrical components work together optimally with short cycle times of 250 µs. The test system is quick to set up so it can precisely control the force moments which arise, run at constant speeds and position the work piece in a highly dynamic, flexible and precise manner depending on the requirements. A Bosch Rexroth linear motion technology tolerance ring is used as a frictionally engaged connection element for the insertion of the bearing.

Quicker to market due to large time savings

With the aid of LabVIEW and the Open Core Interface technology, together with Bosch Rexroth’s modern automation solutions, precise movements can be carried out in measuring and testing machines even without any PLC programming – including interfaces, handshakes and synchronization. For users this results in an enormous saving of time, especially since troubleshooting can also concentrate on one instead of two programming environments. This considerable time saving enables manufacturers of measuring and testing machines to bring innovative and complex products to market much more quickly and also inexpensively than before – but without compromising on quality.

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CMA/Flodyne/Hydradyne is an authorized Bosch Rexroth distributor in Illinois, Wisconsin, Iowa and Northern Indiana.

In addition to distribution, we design and fabricate complete engineered systems, including hydraulic power units, electrical control panels, pneumatic panels & aluminum framing. Our advanced components and system solutions are found in a wide variety of industrial applications such as wind energy, solar energy, process control and more.

The digital twin is the key to the Factory of the Future – Part II

Guest Contributor: Hans Michael Krause, Bosch Rexoth
The modular assembly line of Dassault Systèmes and Bosch Rexroth presented at the Hannover Messe is the result of a change in perspective. Planning production processes coming from the product, instead of the machines – that is what the digital twin can put into effect. Marketplaces for digital twins, IoT Gateway software and open standards will mark the route into the factory of the future.

The demo assembly line from Bosch Rexroth shows how digital twins completely reverse the logic of production, if you think of the Factory of the Future. It is no longer the machines that determine the processes, but the products. A customer’s order automatically leads to the creation of a digital twin. This is connected, for example via an RFID chip as a reference to the blank to inform the machines later about the respective processing steps. As a crucial precondition for this evolution, Bosch Rexroth has already created behavioral models for many automation components, which are available on request for systems engineering. As part of the online configuration, customers already receive the CAD models of the components in the appropriate data format automatically.

Next evolutionary step: Marketplaces for digital twins

In a future scenario that is interesting for mechanical engineers, digital twins could be made available from automation components but also via a marketplace in order to bring them into the simulation environment with a single click. As a result, the OEMs could parameterize the automation immediately, test it and put the entire model into virtual operation quickly and safely. In addition, the marketplace could become a PLM platform, where all digital twins for current and past solutions are available. To prepare for this scenario, Bosch Rexroth is currently seeking a dialog with its customers in order to jointly define the exact requirements for the simulation models.

Pioneering: IoT Gateway software and open standards

In order to achieve continuous improvements in production using the digital twin, the real operating data from the assembly line can be compared with its simulation. This allows the quality of the manufacturing process to be monitored in real time and the maintenance to be modeled and optimized based on the current condition. The assembly line shown at the Hannover Messe also depicts the current state of the art in this respect. The IoT Gateway software from Bosch Rexroth, which is installed on a pocket-sized box PC, collects data from the controller via the Industry 4.0 standard OPC UA and transfers it to a higher-level IT system for visualization and analysis using 5G technology. With regard to the investment security of IoT solutions, Bosch Rexroth consistently relies on open standards such as OPC UA.

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In future, it is no longer the machines that determine the processes, but the products.

Important stage on the way to the Factory of the Future

Dassault Systèmes’ and Bosch Rexroth’s partnership is a powerful testament to the competitive advantages that machine builders and end users derive from a seamless workflow, from virtual engineering to intelligent automation. The digital twin of the demonstration line not only forms the basis for the fastest possible start-up, but also for the quickest possible production changeover and easy continuous process optimization with the help of IoT services. The close partnership of both companies is another stage win along the way to the Factory of the Future.

For more information about the collaboration with Dassault Systèmes and the road to the factory of the future, please read our blog post “With the digital Twin to the Factory of the Future”.

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CMA/Flodyne/Hydradyne is an authorized Bosch Rexroth distributor in Illinois, Wisconsin, Iowa and Northern Indiana.

In addition to distribution, we design and fabricate complete engineered systems, including hydraulic power units, electrical control panels, pneumatic panels & aluminum framing. Our advanced components and system solutions are found in a wide variety of industrial applications such as wind energy, solar energy, process control and more.

With Digital Twin to the Factory of the Future – Part I

Guest contributor: Hans Michael Krause, Bosch Rexroth

Bosch Rexroth and Dassault Systèmes will use a modular assembly line to show how the Factory of the Future can be efficiently planned, implemented and continuously improved using digital twins. The key ingredients for this recipe for success: model-based systems engineering, intelligent controls and drives with open interfaces, and continuous improvement through IoT services.

Manufacturers of complex products and machines face the challenge of meeting the most diverse requirements in even shorter development cycles. With a demonstration assembly line, Dassault Systèmes and Bosch Rexroth will show at the Hannover Messe how time-to-market can be shortened with the greatest possible flexibility if production and product engineering seamlessly mesh on the data side. In addition, the turnkey assembly line highlights the added value that machine builders and end users can generate in conjunction with IoT services. The cornerstone of all this is the ‘digital twin’, a realistic depiction of product, production and performance.

 

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At the Hannover Messe, Bosch Rexroth and Dassault Systèmes will demonstrate the seamless and profitable interaction of line and product engineering.

“Single source of truth” for the product, production and performance

Dassault Systèmes integrates the sample project from Bosch Rexroth into the integrated engineering workflows of the 3DEXPERIENCE platform, which provides a central source of information for designers, electricians and programmers. All platform functions for virtual engineering access a common database. For example, the simulation software receives direct access to the design data from the CAD program. In addition, it enables visualization in real time, so that visitors to the Bosch Rexroth booth can observe the 3D model of the demo line connected with the real object in real-time via sensors.

Shortened initial start-up through model-based engineering

The demo assembly line has a modular structure and is based on intelligent, decentralized automation components that are networked horizontally and vertically via open standards. The product that is assembled on the assembly line, the SCD – Sense Connect Detect sensor introduced by Bosch Rexroth, controls itself along the line using an RFID identifier. As in previous projects, such as the WestRock packaging machine, this system has also been developed, put into virtual operation and implemented in a very short time using models in the framework of Dassault Systèmes’ 3DEXPERIENCE platform. In addition to the CAD data, the behavioral models from the automation also flowed into the digital twin.

DC-AE_SMP4_Dassault_AE_Demonstrator_4-768x898The assembly line at the Hannover Messe.

Collaboration between production and product engineering

The 3DEXPERIENCE platform also acts as an interface to the end user. If the user also depicts a product using a digital twin, the system can adjust to their requirements within a short time. An example: a manufacturer of construction vehicles wants to use the SCD sensor in a future excavator to measure vibrations from the hydraulic pump. He uses the sensor model in the virtual prototype of the excavator and defines a required housing modification. Bosch Rexroth then creates a new digital twin, inserts it into the virtual line model and validates the production capability in the simulation environment. In the same way as in this example, machine builders can use their digital twins to test in advance how new variants affect space requirements, stability, geometry, storage life or transport. In addition, the simulation also exposes critical areas for product quality, thereby reducing the risk of product recalls.

Economical production of batch sizes of 1

The close interlinking of product, production and performance via digital twins also allows for much more flexibility in production. This aspect is also illustrated by the joint demo project from Bosch Rexroth and Dassault Systèmes. To economically produce different sensor variants in small quantities down to a batch size of 1, Dassault Systèmes’ 3DEXPERIENCE platform works with the system via its MES functions. It transmits the jobs individually to the assembly line via the OPC UA interface, and from there receives the production and quality data for each manufactured SCD sensor.

Dassault Systèmes’ and Bosch Rexroth’s partnership is a powerful testament to the competitive advantages that machine builders and end users derive from a seamless workflow, from virtual engineering to intelligent automation.

The digital twin is the key to the Factory of the FuturePart II  Blog Continued here:

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CMA/Flodyne/Hydradyne is an authorized Bosch Rexroth distributor in Illinois, Wisconsin, Iowa and Northern Indiana.

In addition to distribution, we design and fabricate complete engineered systems, including hydraulic power units, electrical control panels, pneumatic panels & aluminum framing. Our advanced components and system solutions are found in a wide variety of industrial applications such as wind energy, solar energy, process control and more.