Don‘t be afraid of industry 4.0
Industry 4.0 was suddenly there and everyone looked up at it with awe, sometimes with natural skepticism about the new. What is the point of this, how should all this be implemented and how useful is this Industry 4.0 actually? Now it has been with us for several years and here at transfluid we have not only become accustomed to it, no, we have learned to appreciate it, to use it and to further develop our products with it. transfluid is a mechanical engineering company whose employees are naturally tech-savvy, interested in everything new and have been open to technical developments for over 33 years.
transfluid and its customers have been developing solutions across all industries for over 30 years. In that time you get insights into industry sectors where the Internet of Things was already used before the term Industry 4.0 even existed.
Keywords like automotive and aircraft construction or projects in which transfluid was allowed to co-develop for a space station. This way you know first-hand how important absolute transparency is in planning, production, logistics and assembly and what advantages it brings.
Predictability and traceability are not only the focus of Industry 4.0 in high-tech industries: they support every manufacturing business, big or small, and they are more important than ever, especially for suppliers.
The programmers and engineers at transfluid dealt with the digital enrichment of production plants at an early stage. In addition to that, the systems can be individually and suitably equipped with a wide variety of components according to customer requirements. Integrated memory and communication options, wireless sensors, embedded actuators, scanners and digital measuring systems communicate with the in-house software t-project, which can be described as the heart and link between the virtual and the physical world. The use of this cyber-physical system enables the customer to use materials and machines in the production process in unprecedented ways. Especially for small quantities, one-off productions or spare parts, digital networking makes it possible to coordinate machines with each other, save time and resources and produce individual requests economically, even in small quantities.
Production Management System
This can be illustrated well with a case study. Tubes in the shipbuilding/offshore sector are known to be subject to extreme weather conditions. If a control of the supply network shows it has become necessary to replace a tube that has been bent with a transfluid machine, the maintenance technician scans the applied barcode, either by mobile phone or scanner, thus setting the repair process in motion. The scanned data is transmitted to the corresponding supplier or shipyard. The Warehouse Management System checks the availability of the required raw material and triggers an order, if the result is negative. The system then compares machine availability and plans production and shipping. It is therefore possible to include the position of the ship and the arrival or layover in the next port in the process.
Back atproduction, the system recognizes via the resource allocation plan whether and when the right machine with the required tool is available. The possibility of equipping transfluid CNC bending machines with several bending levels increases flexibility by eliminating changeover times.
The stored bending data is retrieved from the system and assigned to the blank. Cutting is carried out without waste and thus conserving resources via a transfluid t-cut pipe cutting machine or directly in the t-bend tube bending machine. This bends the workpiece into the desired shape, hands it over to a photometric measuring cell for quality control, if required, and, if the result is positive, passes it on to logistics. The maintenance team is constantly informed about the status and can schedule the replacement of the tube. At the same time, the entire ordering and billing process is handled in the background. Fully automated and transparent for all trades/departments involved. If required, a fully traceable collection and storage of all data is generated for each individual manufactured product, which ensures complete availability of each individual process parameter.
If you consider how time-consuming the handling of such a process was a few years ago and how many sources of error and unknowns can now be excluded, the advantages of this new industrial revolution become clear once more.
Machine Data analysis
What applied to the tube bend from the ship also applies to the transfluid machines themselves. Sensors, embedded actuators, faster data connections and the expansion of mobile networks create the possibility of monitoring and controlling the machines almost anywhere in the world. This allows the transfluid service team and customers to be constantly informed about the condition of each individual machine or production cell. What is the operating status, does it run within the specified parameters, what feedback do the servo-hydraulic motors give, what is the utilization, what was produced and when, when is the next service due? The option of remote maintenance, updating or reprogramming of the software are many times more convenient and faster.
In general, software is increasingly proving to be a key technology for future development and production. The requirements in the field of software for complex machines are constantly increasing and becoming more and more individual. Here, transfluid has succeeded in creating a standard with the in-house t-project software, the basis of which can be expanded like a modular system and thus remain flexible and individual, but also always transparent and understandable.
The advantages of Industry 4.0 can be used in a variety of ways. If the customer provides us with the hall plan of his production facility, the t-project software determines the optimal position of the machine, taking into account the components to be manufactured, or automatically adapts the bending program to the environment in order to avoid collisions with the workpiece in the bending process.
transfluid has not only dealt with the change in the basic framework conditions in industry, it has made the best possible use of it and implemented it.
transfluid is a valued partner all over the world for the production of tube bending and tube processing machines. transfluid have been developing their customer-focused technologies for tube processing since 1988 and offers tailor-made solutions for the construction of plants and machines, for the automotive, energy and shipbuilding sectors and the manufacturing of medical equipment.
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All machines integrated in the process can be controlled by using a single software platform. With the in-house software t-project, the integration and automation of third-party products is also possible.
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The stored bending programs can be called up via lasered QR codes.
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For quality control, measuring cells from different manufacturers can be easily integrated into the production process.
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It does not always have to be complex cells, even simple loading and unloading processes can be automated and digitally controlled.