Vision of complete networking
The term “Industry 4.0” is used to describe the vision of complete networking of all processes in production. One day, complete factories will be able to communicate with each other, production processes will react intelligently, machines will order replenishment themselves, and staff and customers will be involved in the process. “Our focus in implementing Industry 4.0 in plastics processing is on production efficiency, flexibility, automation, availability and quality,” explains Christian Blatt, CEO of the KraussMaffei Group in China. The KraussMaffei Group already has numerous products in its portfolio which support customers in terms of these requirements. And in the years ahead, the KraussMaffei Group is aiming to intensify this competence. “This is a great opportunity to position ourselves as a premium manufacturer, because Industry 4.0 requires both first-class machines and correspondingly high-performance control systems and interfaces. We have all that,” adds Blatt.
Under the umbrella name Plastics 4.0, the KraussMaffei Group is classifying solutions into three categories: Intelligent Machines, Integrated Production and Interactive Services. Intelligent Machines means self-optimizing machines for improved productivity and quality. This includes, for example, the APC function (Adaptive Process Control) developed by KraussMaffei. APC recognizes process fluctuations, which can be caused by changing environmental conditions or fluctuating viscosity, and independently adopts counteractive measures. Integrated Production symbolizes seamlessly networked production, in which the individual machines and components communicate with each other and autonomously control the processes accordingly. Interactive Services can, on the other hand, be compared to fast and global service using the example of remote maintenance tools.
Growing interest in China
There is great interest in Industry 4.0 solutions in China. “Customers ask us about it and want to know what specific solutions we can provide for networking production systems. One motivation for Industry 4.0 is increasing wages, but another is the automotive industry’s desire to store all process parameters for five to ten years to enable production to be traced in the event of a claim. The KraussMaffei Group helps its customers to make use of the potential offered by intelligent and flexible production with state-of-the-art information and communications technology, and supports them in their efforts to optimize the value chain and to strengthen their market position.