Companies are also entering into cooperation to realise the large-scale project as comprehensively as possible. For example, Leoni and Relayr, specialist for industrial solutions in the Internet of Things (IoT), entered into a strategic partnership to increase production efficiency in the automotive industry. The objective is to marry intelligent cable and automation systems with IoT technologies. “Solutions created should enable automotive makers and suppliers to reduce unscheduled standstills of robot lines and to increase production efficiency, and so to improve Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE)”, explains Leoni.
Both companies are planning this year to realise initial test installations in automotive production, with the aim of offering their solutions to a broad customer base from 2020 onwards. HSB (Hartford Steam Boiler), as well as Relayr (part of the Munich Re Group) are also part of the partnership. Leoni: “This broadens the technological IoT portfolio of the amalgamation with the addition of financial services and risk management – that turn the business model for customers into a direct value-add from security and financial viewpoints.”Intelligent remote maintenance
Schwarze-Robitec has delivered to a US customer working in the automotive sector a fully electric multi-radius tube bending machine with transport boost technology. According to the company, a NxG controller achieves time, displacement and speed optimisations of all CNC axes, accompanied by a reduction of production time of up to 35%. With the current development in mind, Schwarze-Robitec has also already prepared this tube bending machine for future requirements in the context of Industry 4.0. “For example, the intelligent remote maintenance solution from the machine constructor is integrated into the gigantic machine”, stresses the company.
ThyssenKrupp is deploying networked value-added chains. For one of its hot-rolled strip plants, the company “has implemented an Industry 4.0 solution that extends far beyond the bounds of a single company”. The processes of the supplier, hot-rolled strip plant (as manufacturer) and customers are digitally networked here.Influence of “just in time”
ThyssenKrupp: “From a distance of about 80 kilometres, the production of steel blocks (as the basic material for the hot-rolled strip) is controlled by steel manufacturer Hüttenwerke Krupp-Mannesmann. “So even for primary materials we are able to respond at short notice to the delivery requirements of customers”. Conversely, a customer has with this networked hot-rolled strip plant the ability to influence “just in time” hot-rolled strip production. “They can book their orders directly into the IT system at the plant, and then define themselves when their orders are processed”, explains the company. Also, up to shortly before the start of production, customers are able to make changes to material specifications, so changes to width and thickness for example.
ThyssenKrupp: “For production and logistics of the hot-rolled strip plant, it is a challenge that necessitates integration of commercial, administrative and technical data. So this process chain extends beyond the company boundaries. “It offers flexibility as well as other benefits for all involved. Because this enables space and costs for storing basic materials and products to be reduced, the capital previously ring-fenced for this is released for more productive purposes.”Need to catch up
Industry 4.0 is on the minds of industry sectors – but more intensively in some countries than others. “For many Central and Eastern European businesses, there is no longer any way round the digitalisation and intelligent networking of production processes”, stresses GTAI (Germany Trade & Invest). If they are looking to participate in cross-border production networks and supply chains in the future too, they must continue to force the pace of deployment.
Russia is one of the countries with a great need to catch up. The Russian government has therefore started various high-tech initiatives. According to GTAI for example, coming years will see the creation of 10 high-tech IT companies, new industrial platforms established and about 120,000 IT specialists trained every year.
So digitalisation is also gaining significance in Russia too. A necessary step considering the Russian economy is four to five years behind the US according to Germany Trade & Invest. Companies should therefore invest in the best available technologies and Industry 4.0 solutions. This could mean productivity increasing by 30% by 2035. According to consultancy firm McKinsey, the digital economy is currently contributing only about 4% to the Russian GDP. If the industry enjoys dynamic growth however, as it is expected to, its contribution towards the GDP in 2021 could climb to 4.7%.The path to success
This offers software vendors the opportunity to assist Russian companies with attractive orders. Some have already taken up this chance. For example, software developer SAP is operating, with Russian steel producer Nowolipezker Metallurgisches Kombinat (NLMK), an innovations lab in which digital solutions for mining and the metal industry are developed.
So across the world, providers of intelligent digitalisation solutions are driving forward the conversion from production industry to Smart Factory. Despite the distinct advancement of Industry 4.0, it is still not possible to fully foresee the opportunities arising in the future for the wire, cable and tube industries. All are on the way. But only it will also be the path to success.
Innovative technologies will be presented at wire and Tube from 30 March to 3 April 2020 at Düsseldorf Fairgrounds. More information under www.wire-tradefair.com
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