Internet of Things



Smart-Factory Solutions Will Minimize Non-Value-Added Processes

Monday, January 1, 2018

The recently opened Trumpf Smart Factory, in Chicago, IL, displays solutions designed to equip metalformers for Industry 4.0. Noting that as much as 80 percent of operations consist of indirect processes, such as upstream and downstream job handling, the Smart Factory concepts promise to help companies reduce their non-value-added processes.

The star is a production-control system that processes data in real time, simplifying nearly every step in the production process, from initial inquiry to invoicing. Trumpf officials summarize the benefits for metalformers:

1) Fast processing of purchase orders and quotations

Online commerce has set new standards, where customers can order products online in just a few clicks. Within this online store for fab-shop customers, Trumpf’s TruTops Fab app and TruTops Boost software solutions automatically calculate costs and prepare quotations.

2) Reliable, automated operation

Digital production control facilitates automated night-shift operations. The system automatically reports any malfunctions, and the night-shift supervisor can take immediate action without having to be onsite.

3) Fewer mix-ups because each part knows its destination

The metal sheets processed in smart factories “know” what parts the machines will cut and bend. In addition to cutting the blanks, a laser-cutting machine can mark the parts with a QR code containing job information, such as the customer ID. If required, the code also can include data referring to the next step in the fabricating process, and thus be used to specify processing parameters—in a press brake, for example. Then, all the press-brake operator must do is scan the code and the appropriate bending program is automatically selected.

4) The next part arrives without asking

In the Chicago Smart Factory, parts generally travel through the entire production facility. However, standalone stations also are on hand. The parts transport from one station to the next by an autonomous transport system—carts moving freely between stations.

5) Efficient inventory management

Unnecessarily full warehouses are yesterday’s news; the TruTops Fab app tracks the number of unprocessed sheets available in the warehouse, and knows of storage locations are full or empty. This real-time information makes it easy to see whether enough material is available to process a certain job; it also can track remnants.

6) Certainty replaces guesswork

TruTops Fab, thanks to the use of miniature transponders, knows which parts are where in the manufacturing process. Shop workers no longer must search for parts.

7) Customer response from anywhere

Managers can call up the processing status of job orders at any time, from anywhere, using a smartphone or other mobile device.

8) Filling idle time with productive work

The production-control system provides a complete, real-time overview of order status. Job lists show which machines are processing which orders, and indicate idle machines. Buffer times can be used to complete rush jobs.

9) Lastly, “smart” predictive maintenance drives machine uptime. Sensors monitor the condition of machine components essential for quality of fabrication—cleanliness of the cooling water in a laser-cutting machine, for example.

Trumpf Inc.:


See also: TRUMPF Inc.

Related Enterprise Zones: Software

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