AMB 2022: All-digital production, live and on location
“SmartFactory” – Digitally connected collaboration in manufacturing
Whether in the business or the private consumer context: Custom products, a.k.a. Lot Size 1, present manufacturers with tough challenges. A key requisite of efficient, commercially viable production is optimal collaboration between the players involved in the respective value-adding network – both digitally and on the real-world shopfloor. At the AMB expo in Stuttgart (September 13 to 17,2022), six participating companies plan to assemble a “SmartFactory” to demonstrate how digital collaboration in production actually happens on the ground.
Step by step, visitors will be able to witness how a pen is created to their custom specs – and how the digital twin supports and accompanies the process.
Digital plant twin and digitally connected machines
The digital production twin will be brought to life on location via a 3D plant model created by IT and software provider CENIT, a digital factory specialist. The twin is based on CENIT’s 3D software FASTSUITE E2, which interconnects all the components and facilities of the virtual shopfloor and lets them exchange information continually. For the “SmartFactory” demo, CENIT will also connect the digital plant model with technology- and manufacturer-independent offline robot programming that will drive the actual production. This lets the demo team prepare the desired production variants in parallel with ongoing production.
The real-world production process begins once a randomly selected AMB visitor defines the custom design requirements. ERP and MES software maker GEWATEC will provide the necessary input system.
Special-purpose machine maker HÄBERLE will provide the production cell and ensure that the chips can fly as soon as the order comes in, along with the visitor’s special wishes. For reasons of space economy, the small parts required for production have already been pre-produced by lathe maker MAIER. These are then processed in a cell equipped with robots, tool changers and an auto-feed system, and subsequently engraved using a precision laser also supplied by MAIER.
Since all industrial production processes must be subject to quality control, the finished gift articles will then be tolerance-tested by ZEISS, who also issues a measurement and test protocol.
The control technology and the robots are provided by plant automation firm FANUC.
However, the collaboration between the six players involved in the “SmartFactory” demo is more than just a useful example of a real-world digital partnership. “Digitalization is a core aspect of successful collaboration in value-adding networks. More than that: It is a key prerequisite of sustainable production”, says Michael Dengler, Senior Vice President, Digital Factory Solutions at CENIT.