Inox House

Interconnection of a New Production Line in Key Industry 4.0

 

The Challenge

Inox House S.r.l., leader in the application of the aluminum induction bottom, wants to create a new production line totally integrated into the factory information system according to the Industry 4.0 model. The new production line consists of various machines built by different suppliers. Inox House intends to become a Smart Factory and take advantage of modern technologies to achieve the following objectives:

  • To minimize setup and configuration times, automating all the interaction activities with the machines
  • To program the parameters of each machine according to the items to be produced
  • To historicize the variations of the process parameters with total traceability of the workings
  • To integrate the work order management with line activities
  • To eliminate the use of paper and human errors resulting from manual data management
  • Having in real time the status of each machine in the line and of all the process parameters
  • Having a line supervisor easy to use, immediately understandable to anyone
  • Having an open platform for the future integration of new machinery and new sensors to monitor all the signals of interest

 

The new production line consists of:

  • A set of robotic arms that automatically feed and direct the pieces to work.
  • Parts preparation line with a 160 kVA inverter projection welding machine, supply arms and three disk warehouses to automate the spot welding of the parts. The machinery is equipped with a control system of delivered energy to guarantee high quality in the operation, made difficult by the fact of having to join two very different materials such as aluminum and steel.
  • 240 KW oven with eight different temperature controlled temperature zones and a 800 mm conveyor belt with variable speed from 500 to 1500 mm/min to create the most suitable thermal curve for the molding process. Particular attention was paid to the relative position of the different heating zones in order to heat the material to the heart.
  • 3500 ton screw press that joins the pieces through the differential sliding of the materials to be joined.
  • System to cool the parts with inverter fans to optimize the cooling curve, and conveyor belt also at variable speed.
  • Automatic robotized line with 75 Tonn hydraulic press to calibrate the pieces after molding according to European   regulations.

Particular attention was paid to the choice of the screw press, a machine that allows, through a large flywheel, a multi-pronged screw and above all a heavy hammer, to develop large energy values ​​in a very short time, to allow a high performance welding since the materials to be joined interpenetrate each other. This press exerts a force of 3500 tons.

 

Solution

To achieve the goals of Inox House, T4SM has designed a solution capable to communicate with all PLCs and computers of the various machines in the line. It was created a data exchange module with the company management system to allow managers to have control of production and above all of the process in a simple and effective way. The supervision system interface has been designed side by side with the client, creating several intermediate versions to understand the pros and cons of each proposal, up to the final version that allows production managers to see the important production and process data in a clear and immediate way.

 

Industry 4.0 Case Study Diagram - Interconnection of new assembly line

Solution diagram

 

The developed software constantly monitors the configuration parameters of the production line, since any small setting error significantly changes the final result of the operation. This therefore means:

1. Ensuring product quality and drastically reducing waste, optimizing production;

2. Ensuring the correct functioning and setting of the machinery, thus avoiding serious losses due to damage caused by incorrect setting;

3. Having all the parameters set under control and track any changes made by expert technicians.

 

Benefits and Results

Thanks to the T4SM solution all the pre-established objectives have been achieved. The main benefits experienced by Inox House are in particular:

  • Business interconnection: management and machinery exchange data thanks to the developed software
  • Total and real-time view of the production line: through the software interface you can have a clear and total view of the general production and of each single machine, being able to see alarms, warnings, and the data that interests the most.
  • Government incentives for the adoption of Industry 4.0 technologies
  • Reduction of errors and time and consequent increase in productivity
  • Automatic tracking of all process data for a history to be consulted
  • Automatic tracking of all production data and integration with the company management software
  • Sending the article and the number of pieces to be produced to each machine, directly from the interface.

For Inox House and T4SM, adopting the Industry 4.0 model means working in a simpler, faster way, reducing errors and running costs, and monitoring a production process with many setting variables, being more efficient and competitive to respond to new market challenges. Both in economic terms, but above all in terms of quality, being the product destined for a medium-high market segment where the attention to the energy efficiency of the piece is important.

 

 

 

I’m very satisfied with the realization of this new production line that fully achieves the objectives and expectations I set in the design phase.

In particular I’m extremely happy with the collaboration with T4SM, both with Mr. Vivante, and with all the staff, because, in addition to a precise and timely availability, they have shown a remarkable technical and design expertise proposing unexpected innovative solutions.

Furthermore, the attention in coordinating the various suppliers was very useful and very precious to me. I rarely came across a supplier who solicited the customer. Surely in the future it will be very useful for me to collaborate on implementing a process control in other departments of the company.

 

Alberto Bugatti - Founder - Inox House

 

 

Challanges

  • To become Industry 4.0
  • Interconnection of new custom machines different from each other and from different suppliers
  • Interconnection between production line and company management software
  • To historicize the variations of the process parameters
  • Having an open platform for future integration of new machinery and sensors

 

 

Solution

  • Custom software - predecessor of Fabbrica Digitale 4.0

 

Resources

  • iDaq
  • Multidriver
  • Lilium (—worker DBMS)
  • Touch screen PC monitor

 

 

 

 

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