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On a wave of Industry 4.0

The Industry 4.0, also called the fourth industrial revolution, is a designation of a contemporary trend of digitalization with which the automation of manufacturing is related.

The digitalisation and accessibility of information are more and more important, and the number of devices connected to the Internet is constantly increasing. Interconnection with the computer network is growing most rapidly especially in production. It is estimated that the number of new machines and devices connected to the Internet is increasing by 160 connections per second and nearly a third of overall investment is represented by the technology of the Industry 4.0.

Establishing connection, gathering and analysing data allow for a new way of collaboration between people, people and machines and even between machines themselves. The machines carry out their own monitoring and analysis and they optimize operational conditions and production as well. This is manifested by higher effectiveness and productivity.

In TAJMAC group we are keeping up with contemporary trends in technical progress and we try to use all offered opportunities. The TAJMAC–ZPS technicians are intensively developing a universal optional equipment for the machines with the Industry 4.0 design. This equipment enables easy integration of the machines into so called smart factories. Using the OPC US universal industrial interface, it is possible to upload necessary data for production to the machine or to obtain information on the production progress or the machine operational load. The gathered data can be subsequently used for communication with the ERP or MES systems.

During our Customer Days 2019 it was possible to see and test this option. The Industry 4.0 option was installed on the exhibited MCFV 1060i with an automatic pallet changer. Interested visitor could acquaint themselves with three applications. The first one offered monitoring of the operational conditions of the machine via a web client, available on mobile phones or tablets. The second application demonstrated a dialogue between the machine and its operator which is important mainly for identification of the operational conditions of the machine and its idle times. This application was developed for installation in our own production line. The third application was a demonstration of collection of data needed for the machine condition monitoring function and subsequent predictive maintenance.

These applications are a part of a robotic cell, developed in collaboration with the ABB Company. The main part of the cell is the vertical machining centre MCFV 1060i with an automatic pallet changer. Pallets are fully powered both on the changer and in the machine workzone. The robotic cell ABB Flexloader FP800 with optical recognition of part’s shapes and the Blind Picking function is integrated into the machine. The robot will control different workpiece clampers on two pallets. The robotic cell is developed and recommended to customer with mass and large-scale production.

The ideas of the Industry 4.0 movement are in the centre of further development. Apart from continuously improving the Industry 4.0 option, a team of experts is working on implementation of an intelligent production cell intended for piece and small-lot production. Pilot introduction of this cell is planned in our own production.

The Industry 4.0 concept is a long-term process and the speed of implementation depends on the development in the digital technologies field. The fact that up to the present day we have already sold eighteen MORI – SAY multispindle automatic lathes equipped with the Industry 4.0 option to our customers in USA and Italy proves that we are on the right track.

Ing. Martin Machálka, technical director of TAJMAC-ZPS, a.s.

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