The widely admired ‘Smart&Human Factory’ is SCM’s vision of the factory of the future. It is a system of automated, modular and easily reconfigurable flexible cells, integrated with articulated and collaborative robots and AMR self-guided shuttles that can be programmed according to the production unit plant, capable of moving and working alongside the operator in complete safety.
It is a new digital and smart factory but one that is still user-friendly, designed to satisfy the challenges of Mass Customisation and Industry 4.0 even more effectively and faster and which goes beyond the traditional automated systems.
Already presented at Ligna 2019, after numerous implementations on cutting-edge markets in Europe, the US and China, SCM’s Smart&Human Factory has been enhanced with new additions to further increase productivity and flexibility, reduce waste and optimise the quality of the end product even on more sensitive materials.
A new human automation
One of the major impacts emerges from autonomy, especially the transition towards fully automated lights-out factory. This future factory requires extensive automation and networking of the manufacturing processes. SCM’s Smart&Human Factory is a new model of interaction between man, robot and machine, in open and safe cells. A further improvement is also achieved on the work front, with operators relieved from risky and repetitive activities, so that they can focus on tasks with greater added value.
The state-of-the-art SCM cells can be put together by clients as they wish to satisfy the vastly varying processing needs. SCM’s Smart&Human Factory concept can also be expanded to create complete furnishings - bathrooms, kitchens, living areas, bedrooms – within the same production unit by using a series of combinations between the shuttle routes and flexible processing cells.
Digital production has a particular impact on environmental sustainability. As well as helping to improve a company’s CO2 footprint, it also offers: more efficient energy and water usage; enhanced waste management due to optimised machine handling; and recycling of a large share of production materials. The process aims to optimise as much as possible the cutting, edgebanding, routing and drilling operations of the panels, as if it were a standard production, in order to reduce rejects, leftovers and changes to the machine setup when changing orders, and it recomposes the orders at the end of the process, moving the customisation to this phase.
In the Smart&Human Factory conceived by SCM, the whole system is optimised by the Digital Integrated Woodworking Process. Software and digital services can assist the customer at each stage of the process in creating the piece of furniture: from the planning and preparation of the data to machine production, production monitoring, maintenance and after-sales service.
- Planning – in response to production planning needs, SCM offers a new MES solution integrated into the SCM machines to assist customers with programming and managing the production flow. Thanks to the MES, any item of the production orders is tracked and the material flow managed in order to keep the output efficiency at the best. The mix of many different processing technologies, usually escalates the risk of bottle necks. That’s why having a supervising software guarantees a proper efficiency and smooth flow of the components passing through the production process.
- Production – a better interaction with the machine. The new HMI multi-touch “Maestro active” demonstrates how it is possible to have a control and even simpler, better interaction with the machine, at the production stage.
- Monitoring – all of SCM automation systems (ie lines and cells) come always equipped with different systems to monitor the efficiency and the performance of the production line.
Maestro Active Watch supervision software, integrated with SCM MES or other company’s IT systems, allows the production process to be managed and controlled, for example, by monitoring in real time the state of individual machines and the entire line, optimising production performances.
Maestro Active Watch also creates a two-way interconnection with the MES, allowing part programs to be loaded remotely from office to factory and returning production reports that can be analysed in the office.
Finally, the machine can be monitored in real-time every time and everywhere thanks to “Maestro connect” production monitoring digital services.
- Maintenance and after-sales – The IoT Maestro Connect platform collects and analyses the data about the actual use of the machines, improves the availability and reduces the downtime offering a full range of digital services related for example to the maintenance of the machine, the service support, or the performance analysis.
The SCM smart technologies for Industry 4.0
SCM is by its customers’ side to support them in the digital transformation process. The term Industry 4.0 describes a new industrial revolution driven by the digital automation of factories and by the Industrial Internet of Things (IIOT).
It has become a byword for industrial digitalisation, manifesting itself in company strategic agendas and research projects, and driving the use of buzzwords such as digital factories, Big Data, artificial intelligence (AI), industrial internet of things (IIOT) and collaborative robots (cobots).
Five key macro-economic trends have been identified and assessed – summarised in the acronym IDEAS – along with their impact on these value chains, players and markets. Mastering and using those trends to their advantage will be the key for many companies:
- I – Individualised: Batch to size one
- D – Digital: Smart connected factory
- E – Enabling technologies: Advanced HW and SW Tech
- A – Autonomous: Lights-off operation
- S – Shared b2b assets: New service model
Manufacturers are integrating enabling technologies, including Industrial Internet of Things, cloud computing and analytics, and AI and machine learning into their production facilities and throughout their operations.
These smart factories are equipped with advanced sensors, embedded software and robotics that collect and analyse data and allow for better decision making. Even higher value is created when data from production operations is combined with operational data from ERP, supply chain, customer service and other enterprise systems to create whole new levels of visibility and insight from previously siloed information.
Developing smart factories provides an incredible opportunity for manufacturers entering the fourth industrial revolution. Analysing the large amounts of data collected from sensors on the factory floor ensures real-time visibility of manufacturing assets and can provide tools for performing predictive maintenance in order to minimise equipment downtime.
SCM technologies for Industry 4.0 lead to increased automation, predictive maintenance, self-optimisation of process improvements and, above all, a new level of efficiencies and responsiveness to customers not previously possible.