Industry 4.0: Information technology for production
Industry 4.0 (definition wikipedia) in metal carpentry means first of all the connection of the systems. It is the possibility of integrating the various information in order to improve management: from planning, monitoring and maintenance of the systems themselves.
In our workshop for several years already some machines are connected remotely to the manufacturer. It was originally designed to allow remote assistance to reduce downtime. Today, however, the machines are connected for the entire daily management.
Furthermore, we have just completed the update to the control units of two press brakes. The new CNCs have enabled us to connect to the corporate network, favoring the archive of programs, faster setups and production control.
Finally, we introduced the use of bar codes in such a way that each phase of production is monitored in real time by eliminating all the back office activity that was done. Now from a simple reading we can know the beginning and the end of the single processing, the processed and discarded pieces, the storage point and the reference operator.
But the activity doesn’t stop there. We are extending the use of barcodes to all business functions, from purchasing with supplier involvement, to sales and shipments. Furthermore, with the update of the internal IT network, we will equip each workstation with a PC. This will allow us to fully digitize all documents, a situation that already occurs for office activities.
The Industry 4.0 or smart factory project cannot be a single episode or investment. But it must be a continuous improvement, an innovation process that involves the whole company and its collaborators and we are confident of being on this path.