Modular, digital, automated and intelligent factory

Smart factory for Industry 4.0

Smart factory is the core element that constitutes Industry 4.0. In the smart factory, not only the individual equipment is required to be smart, but also all the facilities, equipment and resources (machines, logistics appliances, raw materials, products, etc.) in the factory are required to be interconnected to meet the requirements of smart production and smart logistics. Through the Internet and other communication networks, everything inside and outside the factory is connected to form a new business model.

In a sense, Industry 4.0 uses the CPS system to intelligently upgrade production equipment, so that it can intelligently analyze, judge, self-adjust, and automatically drive production based on real-time information, forming an autonomous distributed system (ADS) The smart factory will eventually realize large-scale, low-cost customized production in the manufacturing industry.

When building a smart factory, we must focus on the four major technical topics of modularization, digitization, automation and intelligence. Modularity is a prerequisite for the realization of large-scale production of smart factories and personalized customization of customer needs. This requires major component suppliers to transform to module suppliers and participate in product design, supply mode selection and unitized logistics planning throughout the process.

Digitization is to realize the digital modeling and interconnection of all levels in the factory and even each device in the vertical view; in the horizontal view, it is to create a full-process supply chain integration system from customer needs to product design, supplier integration, manufacturing and logistics services .

Intelligent, manufacturing enterprises should build a virtual and real fusion system to realize virtual design, manufacturing and assembly according to customer’s personalized customization needs, and then complete the production and manufacturing process through smart factories, effectively solving the long cycle, low efficiency, and high cost of customized products problem. In the smart factory, companies can achieve zero-distance dialogue with customers, and customers can also participate in the whole process of “intelligent manufacturing” of products in a variety of ways.

Smart production for Industry 4.0

In the era of Industry 4.0, with the full penetration of information technology into the manufacturing industry, highly flexible configuration of production factors and mass customized production can be realized, thereby breaking the traditional production process, production mode and management method.

The future is the era of intelligent networked production. Not only a single factory, but a virtual manufacturing system will be established through networking between multiple factories of the enterprise to provide comprehensive intelligent support for enterprise production. Standardization, modularization and digital product design are the prerequisites for intelligent production.

The German automobile industry has taken the lead in introducing the concept of low-cost customized customization, product design has achieved standardization and modularization, production and manufacturing have achieved comprehensive information and deep automation, and have basically achieved intelligent production, intelligent assembly, intelligent logistics and intelligent supply chain management .

Take the BMW 3 Series as an example. The engines of multiple models from 325i to 335i share the same production line. Most of the hardware is common. It is only through the selection of different electronic control and software products to achieve diversification of engine products. The core basis of cost and customized production is standardization. For this reason, BMW can realize that every off-line model can meet the market demand for mass customization without changing the production cycle, that is, every BMW car is produced according to customized customization.

Manufacturing companies in the Industry 4.0 era no longer promote production from top to bottom, but start from customer needs to achieve full-process pull production from orders, customized design, procurement, logistics, production planning, and production, and realize each through the integration of virtual and reality. The interconnection of links. This efficient and flexible way of pulling production also represents the future development direction of the manufacturing industry.

Smart logistics for Industry 4.0

In the era of Industry 4.0, customer needs are highly personalized, product innovation cycles continue to shorten, and production cycles continue to accelerate. These are not only important issues facing smart production, but also huge challenges to the logistics system that supports production.

Smart logistics is a core component of Industry 4.0. Within the framework of Industry 4.0 Smart Factory, smart logistics is an important link connecting supply, manufacturing and customers, and it is also the cornerstone of building a smart factory in the future. Intelligent unitized logistics technology, automatic logistics equipment, and intelligent logistics information systems are the core elements of creating intelligent logistics.

As an authoritative research organization for logistics planning and application in Europe, as well as the forefront of industry 4.0 logistics technology research and development and application research, the German Institute of Logistics (Fraunhofer IML) independently developed the in Bin intelligent turnover box technology. By installing a perception and intelligent control unit on the turnover box, the intelligentization of the logistics unit is realized.

The smart box can not only manage the inventory in the box independently, but also report the status of the smart box to the superior system in time, so as to realize the function of automatic replenishment and replenishment. The conveying system based on the smart box can adopt decentralized control technology. The smart box is no longer a passive unit, but the “master” who issues orders to the conveying system. Under the command of the smart box, the conveying system can automatically deliver the box to the destination.

On the other hand, smart boxes can be integrated with smart logistics equipment (such as shuttles) to realize an intelligent, efficient, and flexible logistics system for Industry 4.0. In 2003, the German Logistics Research Institute took the lead in developing the world’s first light-duty high-speed shuttle Multi Shuttle, opening a new era of highly flexible automated logistics systems. On the basis of Multi Shuttle, the German Logistics Research Institute developed in 2011 the amphibious shuttle “Magic Float” Multi Shuttle Move that can walk on shelves and the ground, breaking through the traditional barriers in logistics and production.

In 2014, the Rack Racer, a spider car that can climb on its own, was launched, breaking the last bottleneck of shuttle technology-the restriction on flow by the hoist. Different from traditional shuttle cars, each car in Multi Shuttle Move can “think” independently. That is, during the walking process, which devices need to be connected to the Internet, how to deal with obstacles… can be solved intelligently and independently.

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