WIM SERRUYS – DIRECTOR OF ENGINEERING
Disruptive innovation, simply put, fundamentally transforms the way we do the things we do. These innovations are creating shifts in every sector. Thanks to the internet, children in developing countries now have a better chance than ever to receive an education. The mobile phone, e-mail and social media overturned the communication market. In manufacturing, the next looming innovation is deemed so disruptive that it is considered the fourth industrial revolution or, Industry 4.0.
Sectors like the auto industry have already emerged as early-adopters to the concept of Industry 4.0, but how will this revolution effect the sheet metalworking industry and what is LVD’s plan for integration?
The innovation, developed by the German Academy of Science and Technology, and its namesake follow the first, second and third industrial revolution; the development of the mechanical loom in 1784, the realization of mass production at the beginning of the 20th century and the automation of production through technology of the 70′s, respectively. How will Industry 4.0 radically change manufacturing across the globe? It certainly has a lot to live up to, each preceding industrial revolution introduced technologies that have helped us manufacture products quicker, cheaper and all in all, better.
Industry 4.0 changes the game by adding intelligence to the mix and not just aiming for smarter machines or software, but a smart factory; a factory where machines, products, tools and software communicate, with each other. This is where we’ll see the most adoption in the sheet metal industry; machines will become social, sharing information with Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES). Decision-makers get real-time insights from the shop floor and instant control of production processes.
For LVD, Industry 4.0 is the logical further step in our integration philosophy. All of our products are already social, enabled through our software suite, CADMAN. Our Touch-X series controls are seamlessly integrated with all CADMAN modules, covering the entire value chain of sheet metal; starting with a 3D CAD file, guiding the production team to a finished part with the shortest lead time and best quality.
Industry 4.0 is a technology that allows access to any information you might need, but information is not the same as knowledge. In our daily lives we’re bombarded with more information than ever before. The key is understanding how to filter this information to extract what is valuable. The same applies to Industry 4.0- with all machines being social, there will be a lot of data, but extracting the meaning of the data is the most important, and perhaps the most daunting part.
Having human-centred products has always been a must for LVD and we make no exception in our Industry 4.0 technology. We present the data using different viewpoints, offering complete transparency of the entire value chain. We do not impose a production control strategy as a cost based or time based approach will yield conflicting results. We offer the tools to measure the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that matter: Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE), lead time, Work in Process (WIP), delivery performance, giving you the true insight of your overall performance.
The changes Industry 4.0 bring will be substantive enough to alter the sheet metal industry. We’ll have more information about our production and performance than ever before. Having the right tools to decipher this data and what its true implications are, will give you the ability to take advantage of the new developments Industry 4.0 brings.