The theme of automation has been one of the core issues in thefurniture industry for years. In the context of , it hasbecome the focus of Ligna 2015, the world's leading trade fair ofthe wood and furniture industry: the notions of "smart factory"and "networked production" refer to intelligent, networkedproduction systems that provide innovative solutions for theentire value chain in the furniture industry. With PC-based control,Beckhoff provides the basic technology for production conceptsthat are ready for .
In the furniture industry, customer demands in terms of colours,shapes, haptic properties and materials are becoming more andmore individual. This presents major challenges for manufacturers, particularly in high-wage countries: the growing product variety,small batch sizes and short lead times have to be managedcompetitively, i.e. at costs that are comparable to mass productionand with rapid availability, while at the same time focusing onoptimised resource and energy efficiency. The solution is provided by networked, intelligent production systems with a high degree of automation, i.e. a control concept that leverages the increasing convergence of information and automation technology and enables seamless communication.
Industry 4.0 increases the flexibility, efficiency, and sustainability ofproduction through the networking of products, production resourcesand facilities along the global value creation chain. Here, PC-based control technology from Beckhoff is a key enabler: The PC as a control platform with open communication interfaces provides the prerequisites for an optimal implementation of the vertical and horizontal integration required for Industry 4.0 and the networked production.
With PC-based control it is already possible to seamlessly integrate production systems and modules into existing and new production systems, and to communicate with these and with higher-level production planning and control levels on secure channels. In this way, it is possible to adapt ongoing operations to changes in order planning or the production process. TwinCAT 3 automation software provides the required modularity, object orientation and integrated engineering throughout the whole product lifecycle.
PC-based control delivers the prerequisites for implementing Industry 4.0 concepts:
- Integrated networking via standardised interfaces from the sensor to the ERP/MES level
- M2M communication via the Internet of Things
- Process safety, realised by means of integrated measurement technology and Condition Monitoring
- Sustainable production through power monitoring and power management
- Integration of robotics and new drive technologies
- Integration of safety and security
- Integrated engineering
- Reduced commissioning times through real-time simulation
- Worldwide remote production maintenance
ScAut research project focuses on enhancing the intelligence of technical systems
The research project "ScAut" is part of the Industry 4.0 concept. It explores the integration of engineering and scientific knowledge from various disciplines into automation to enhance the intelligence of technical systems. ScAut is one of more than 45 research projects of the technology network "it's OWL" (Intelligent Technical Systems OstWestfalenLippe). ScAut was awarded Leading-Edge Cluster status by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) in 2012 and is the first major Industry 4.0 project. The aim is to create a Scientific Automation platform for the development and operation of intelligent, self-optimising machines and equipment. Smart, reusable automation solutions are provided as software modules or intelligent Bus Terminals. These developments are intended to enable production facilities to automatically anticipate wear, reduce emissions and environmental impacts, optimise energy consumption and avoid production faults. As a result, rejects, lead times and harmful emissions are reduced while the service life of tools and the sustainability of systems are increased, without significant increases in the cost of the automation technology.