Industry 4.0 – The Intelligent Production

Source: Kuka Systems GmbH

What is Industry 4.0?

The “fourth industrial revolution“ describes the transition of production towards the intelligent factory. The increased combination of production and IT processes makes this flexible, efficient and sustainable. In the future, products will plan, control and optimize their own production process without human intervention. Humans will continue to dictate the pace, but with the best possible support in their work.

Visions and Benefits of Industry 4.0
  • Production becomes highly flexible, highly productive and resource-efficient 
  • Individualization (batch size of 1) under efficient high volume production conditions
  • The increasing complexity of production and processes becomes manageable
  • Autonomous production units organize themselves on and “ad hoc” basis – the product determines its own production process

Energy and Process Control Data as a Basis for Industry 4.0

The basis for intelligent functions is that all of the relevant process data is available in real time. Schmalz provides an entire range of so-called smart field devices for this purpose: They are fitted with comprehensive energy and process control functions, they gather and interpret data and make it available. This allows Schmalz to support its customers to gear up for Industry 4.0 – the switch to the intelligent factory.

Visible and Intelligent Smart Field Devices Provide Valuable Data for the Smart Production of Tomorrow

Intelligent compact ejectors, for example, allow for both efficient product operation and efficient control of the entire process. All of the parameters that are relevant to energy and performance throughout the vacuum system are recorded, monitored, and analyzed via IO-Link here. Compatible systems and services connected through IO-Link, such as intra clouds or cloud services, are used to make the information visible in the different integration stages and output channels. This enables a higher degree of transparency and productivity in automated processes. The energy monitoring function guarantees optimal energy consumption throughout the system. The system status is monitored using condition monitoring, which increases system availability substantially. The predictive maintenance function improves the performance of the gripping system.

Automation Technology in Transition

The increased networking in production involves the gradual break up of the traditional automation pyramid with rigid hierarchical information structures. An automation cloud is formed in which intelligent devices and services interact with one another and organize themselves.

Intelligent Process Communication Using the Compact Ejector X-Pump from Schmalz as an Example

Intelligent process communication with the compact ejectors X-Pump

Real-time availability of all process data is the basis for the implementation of Industry 4.0. Intelligent field devices from Schmalz, such as the compact ejector X-Pump, gather this process data, store it and make it available in the network. Its diagnosis and predictive functions deduce information from this regarding the condition of the system (e.g. wear or contamination). They detect gradual changes as well as imminent malfunctions. This enables avoidance of unplanned machine downtime and an increase in system availability.

Vacuum Components with Integrated Intelligence
Ready for the Future

Our Smart Field Devices Understand „Industry 4.0”

Vacuum generators, as well as vacuum and pressure switches and needle grippers from Schmalz, come with the intelligence to communicate in the factory of tomorrow. They gather all important process data, interpret the data and communicate via IO-Link up to the master level.