Industry 4.0: How To Turn All Factories Into Smart Factories

Oct 14, 2020

Industry, 4.0 concept, Icon flow automation and data exchange in manufacturing technology, Manager industrial engineer using tablet check and control automation robot arms machine in intelligent factory industrial on system software interface. Welding rob

The global pandemic continues to highlight the need for manufacturers to sense—and even predict disruptions—and to make decisions in real-time. Which requires lots of data about your customers, sources of supply, manufacturing facilities and supply chain.

Industry 4.0 has the potential to provide the capabilities across your supply chain to capture this information, yet, in many cases it is unfulfilled because of the challenging task of connecting hundreds of legacy machines to the cloud.

Retrofitting a factory to be a “smart factory”
SAMSON AKTIENGESELLSCHAFT is a 113 year old German based leading international manufacturer of control valves and process automation. SAMSON products are successfully used in a wide variety of markets like the chemical and petrochemical industry. They have 4,500 employees, across 16 production facilities and over 50 subsidiaries in over 40 countries worldwide. The forward-looking company develops smart systems, to “transform process automation to the benefit of our customers and to achieve greater flexibility, safety and reliability in industrial processes”.

The reality is that like many companies, SAMSON didn’t have the opportunity of building a “green field” facility from the ground up. They were dealing with a combination of both new and in most cases old(er) machines and equipment that lacked the ability to capture and provide real time information, needed to enable a truly “smart” factory.

They worked with their Start Up Partner 3d Signals to digitalize their factory by installing non-invasive, off-the-shelf sensors and a proprietary IoT edge capabilities on older manufacturing equipment. 3d Signals provided an industrial IoT solution combining hardware and software to bring real-time visibility, analytics, and AI to the shop floor. This data integrates into SAP’s Digital Manufacturing Cloud solution, to enable SAMSONs, for the first time, to digitalize the entire value chain, from purchase order to successful delivery.

The benefits of Industry 4.0
SAMSON were looking to Industry 4.0 to increase efficiency and productivity and reduce manufacturing costs. The company identified several goals:

  • Prevent delays through real-time updates from equipment on the shop floor
  • Resolve bottlenecks and identify the “weakest link” in the process
  •  Accurate cost estimation, based on real unit manufacturing time
  • Planning and scheduling accuracy of both labor and raw materials
  • Track order progress in real time
  • Run a sustainable factory that is paperless, and energy efficient

“The mission of the pilot project for machine center parts, to measure KPIs using SAP’s Digital Manufacturing Cloud with real-time shop floor data from 3d Signals is more than accomplished,” said Norbert Tollas, SAMSON Head of Global Production & Innovation. “This is only the first step in the digital transformation of SAMSON manufacturing, in order to increase productivity and reduce operating costs.”

This sentiment was echoed by the company’s CEO, Dr. Andreas Widl who said after completing the major technological leap of digitalizing the shop floor and improving machine availability, it was only natural to take the next step up the value chain to improve planning and manufacturing efficiency.

“The integration of machine data, harvested by 3d Signals, into the SAP Digital Manufacturing Cloud helps reduce manufacturing errors and delays while improving our planning and on-time delivery, and therefore allowing us to guarantee better service to our customers,” said Widl.


Source: FORBES

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