Friday, 20 July 2018 08:21

Industry 4.0: an opportunity for all

Industry 4.0: innovative ideas that use technologies to improve quality and efficiency of production process and of all businesses. Evolution towards the industry of the future is not a subject for great companies only, but instead an innovation path about production process in all its aspects. BLM GROUP systems provide advanced solutions to face this important phase of change.

The industry of the future is based first on the use of modern production systems, with advanced technological solutions to meet the requests for integration, interconnection, automation, ease of use and remote control. All of them are subjects on which BLM GROUP has been developing on for years.

Smart Factory

The feature of the “smart factory” is undoubtedly the IT connection among the production centralized control system and the other business entities: the warehouse to know the exact availability of material to be machined, the workshop to know the actual availability of production systems, possibly the business ERP. The entire factory of the future becomes a combination of interconnected elements that exchange data.

BLM GROUP fulfils this need with ProTube Enterprise, a MES (Manufacturing Execution System) able to integrate into factory management process communicating with the IT system, the warehouse and the production systems. With ProTube Enterprise multi-part and multi-technology job orders can be created and managed, production is planned by distributing work programs to the various workshop systems and production process is monitored in all its phases.

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Communication among systems

BLM GROUP controls all tube machining process and makes the most of this opportunity, made of knowledge and experience, to optimize production process. When to realize a part, it is necessary to use several technologies, such as cutting and bending, downstream system (usually the tube bending machine) communicates with the upstream system (a Lasertube or a sawing machine) sending data about geometric changes that will apply to tube so that these can be considered during machining. The result is a correct part the first time.

It is now part of the famous concept All-In-One, characterizing the BLM GROUP offerings and that aims at a full automation of multi-technology management of components, from design to realization. Besides systems communicating among each other, the Artube CAD/CAM can process bent and cut components, automatically identify the various machining and generate machining programs for the systems involved.

Machine intelligence

Modern production systems have functions that free operator from complex operations and decisions. We could say that systems are becoming “smarter”, meaning that they are able to make automatic choices in a fast and efficient way.

The Active Tools of the BLM GROUP Lasertube systems are a good example of this evolution. Active Piercing, optimizes the piercing phase by checking parameters of laser beam in function of the information coming from sophisticated sensors in the work area. Active Scan monitors, with its cameras, the real section dimensions of the tube being machined and automatically adapts machining position to obtain the desired result also in presence of imperfect tubes. Active Speed automatically adjusts cutting parameters to the instantaneous speed to optimize cutting quality; operator is exempted from complex evaluations or choices that, without this functionality, would require a deep process knowledge.

In general, this concerns operations that require great expertise in using the Lasertube system, expertise that today BLM GROUP has passed to its systems by means of functions and automatisms that make the process more efficient and reliable.

Manufacturing process automation

Today, production process automation is available to all. BLM GROUP has been producing work islands for a very long time. These islands consist of bending and end-forming systems connected by robots in complex work sequences. Today, the possibility to connect different systems in a single automatized production cycle have increased in number and have better flexibility.

At Tube & Wire 2018 BLM Group showed a tube bending line from coil with a 3-RUNNER system, a SMART and an E-FORM, illustrative of these concepts, but also laser systems can be connected automatically to other processes. We think of the possibility of robotized loading of LT FREE system starting from a crate containing parts to be machined positioned at random or of robotized unloading of parts of a Lasertube system.

Remote management

Another aspect specific of the industry of the future is the possibility to be connected to production processes in any situation and in any place, using the internet. BLM GROUP responds to this need with different services.

Operation of the system can be monitored from remote on your own mobile device using Syncro. Tool Designer is an effective instrument to quickly obtain via the web the drawings of the bending fixtures necessary to realize a specific bent part. E-training is the instrument by Web Conference through which it is possible to obtain dedicated training courses on specific subjects.

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