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How experts view Industry 4.0 in Asia

Source:International Metalworking News for Asia - December 2016

Date Published:12/21/2016 10:12:29 AM

Today, equipment manufacturers are facing another form of advancement—the rise of new digital industrial technology, referred to as Industry 4.0. 

Manufacturing is no longer simply about making physical products. Changes in consumer demand, the nature of products, the economics of production, and the economics of the supply chain have led to a fundamental shift in the way companies do business. Customers demand personalisation and customisation, as the line between consumer and creator continues to blur. 

Today, equipment manufacturers are facing another form of advancement—the rise of new digital industrial technology, referred to as Industry 4.0. But how do industry experts view the development of Industry 4.0, how do they see the adoption in South East Asia altering the competitive landscape and what range of solutions can they provide the industrial market in the region.

Göran Näslund, Head of Digital Machining, Sandvik Coromant

Göran Näslund, Head of Digital Machining, Sandvik Coromant

We see the adoption of Industry 4.0 in South East Asia altering the competitive landscape as the trend of automation and data exchange in manufacturing technologies via cyber-physical systems, the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and cloud computing sets the fundamental for ‘smart factory’ implementation.

For manufacturers, the ability to allow the key elements of the production process to communicate with each other will provide significant competitive advantage and growth potential. This is because digital connectivity solutions will help companies to improve every aspect of the end-to-end production process – from design and production planning through machining to post-process analysis and intelligence. Enhanced connectivity and interoperability will open up new opportunities to improve productivity, profitability and security through better planning and decision-making, more optimised processes, lower levels of waste, increases in efficiency and the rapid identification and resolution of production issues.

With machines, software solutions and cutting tools interconnecting in such a way that they can collect and communicate data from and between every different step of the value chain,  the so-called ‘dark data’ – data that would previously have been either unavailable or, at best, difficult to obtain - can now be analysed. And in line with the old saying that ‘if you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it,’ this will allow companies to identify how their production processes can be made less wasteful and more efficient.

By making it much easier to configure and modify key parameters from the machine control or even by using browser interfaces, smartphones and tablets; the time it takes to set up a process for a new machining job would be significantly reduced. And once up and running, the same remote configuration capability could be used to further improve the process until the optimum set-up is achieved. Ultimately, combining digital solutions with data collected from other areas of the machine opens up the potential to build systems that can ‘self-optimise’ with little or no programming or operator intervention.

Manufacturing “skills gap” (the lack of availability of technically competent individuals) will also be addressed. Digital solutions that are emerging in support of Industry 4.0 allow a greater ability to monitor and record every aspect of the production process. The remote monitoring and control capabilities that IIoT facilitates will also augment the skills within a manufacturing organisation. For example, a scenario where connected solutions might allow key tool parameters to be set via a modern touch screen. This would probably make manufacturing more attractive to the young generation entering the workforce in the next coming years.

Sandvik Coromant’s position in the industry 4.0 process

Strengthening our offer in Industry 4.0 areas like digital transformation, intelligent machining, digital product and application recommendations and tool data in ISO format, just to mention a few, Sandvik Coromant is actively influencing the ongoing industrial revolution. We continue to develop our Industry 4.0 position with modern advancements such as data exchange and manufacturing automation.

Recently acquiring Prometec GmbH, a sophisticated process monitoring company, and opening the Additive Manufacturing Center positions Sandvik Coromant as an industry front-runner in new manufacturing technologies

Range of solutions

We have recently unveiled CoroPlus™ - a suite of Industry Internet of Things (IIOT) solutions aimed at helping manufacturers prepare for Industry 4.0. The concept is designed specifically to improve the control of productivity and costs through a combination of connected machining and access to manufacturing data and expert knowledge.

The concept of CoroPlus (a new platform of connected tools and software; essentially comprising technologies that can send and/or receive data) makes it possible to reduce data waste and improve manufacturing processes, from pre- to post-machining, through the use of connected technology and machining knowledge from Sandvik Coromant. 

With CoroPlus, we are partnering with machining tool builders, cloud suppliers and network companies. In this way we can help users to capitalise on new technology developments. Our role is to increase productivity and flexibility through value-creating technological advancements in digital machining. Our customers can expect more offers from CoroPlus, which spans from connected cutting tools to software solutions and IoT devices next year and beyond.

Stephanie Riegel-Stolzer, Member of the Board of Management, KASTO Maschinenbau GmbH & Co. KG

Stephanie Riegel-Stolzer, Member of the Board of Management, KASTO Maschinenbau GmbH & Co. KG

Industry 4.0 is transforming the business models of distributors, manufacturing plants and service providers throughout the world, and South East Asia is no exception. Machines, goods, raw materials, load carriers, transport equipment and locations are no longer isolated; they are globally linked and interconnected by means of information networks. Production and logistics are merging, and the integration of processes is increasing. Handling tasks are becoming more and more automated. Digital technology controls the value chain from the producer of raw materials to the final customer.

This has created immense opportunities for companies, but it has also confronted them with new challenges. Competition is becoming more international and thus more intense. Only by standing out from the crowd and offering customers genuine value can a company stay competitive in the long run. At the same time, expectations in the market are increasing. Customers are demanding more and more different products, and these must be produced in smaller batches. Production must be fast, free of defects, flexible, inexpensive and reliable.

In the metalworking industry, for example, sawing technology must meet increasingly tough requirements. Machines and tools must not only be fast and versatile, they must also produce cut parts with precise dimensions and surfaces of excellent quality. When the parts are burr-free and reproducibly precise, less work is required for reworking. This raises production efficiency. Moreover, users want to minimise losses at the start and end of the cut and other kinds of waste in order to make optimum use of the material. For this, high-quality sawing technology tailored to the given requirements is indispensable.

KASTO’s position in the industry 4.0 process

Many of our sawing machines offer a high level of automation even in the standard version and can be integrated without difficulty into a uniformly controlled materials flow. This is also true of combined sawing and storage systems in which all the storage, handling, sawing, marking, palletising and bundling processes are performed fully automatically – from the entry of the raw material through to the commissioning of the cut parts. These tasks are increasingly carried out with the help of industrial robots. The requirements relating to performance, efficiency and flexibility are steadily increasing, and these are areas in which robot technology offers enormous potential.

At the software level we also supply intelligent solutions that are perfectly adapted to industry needs, for example in the form of our well-designed machine control systems and KASTOlogic Warehouse Management System (WMS). This software automatically controls all the processes between goods reception and dispatch, including the connected sawing machines. Users can check the machine utilisation and other parameters by means of an integral production management system and modify the material flow as required. The system can also track the progress of current jobs and the location of individual goods throughout the process chain. The intelligent functions of the WMS allow users to control and monitor their production networks even as the complexity increases.

Product offerings

We are a global market and technology leader in the manufacture of systems for sawing and storing bar stock and sheet metal. Our success is based on innovative, top-quality products on the one hand and expert, personal service on the other. Our products range from compact, standalone storage towers through to fully automatic high-rack honeycomb systems with thousands of storage cassettes for bar stock, sheets and residual materials which are being returned to storage after machining.

Southeast Asia is a promising market for KASTO. There is a huge demand for innovative and high-quality sawing and storage technology and efforts are being stepped up in all industries to deploy networking and automation to rationalise production processes. This is where we can provide users with optimum support. We help companies to achieve significant improvements in production efficiency while at the same time reducing their costs – two outcomes which in today's economically challenging climate are in especially great demand.

We already have many long-standing and loyal customers in Asia. In fact, we opened a branch in Singapore last year and are now able to offer users even more extensive, faster and more flexible service. Our location has an excellent infrastructure and we are very close to all the other countries in Southeast Asia. Here we have excellent access to the market. The operators of our sawing and storage systems expect quick, comprehensive and personal service from the manufacturer – this is why we expanded our network. We support users in every phase of a project: from planning and development of a plant through construction and commissioning all the way up to maintenance and servicing. It is a big advantage for us to be able to get to our customers more quickly now.

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