What impact does Industry 4.0 and digital production have on your factory?

Customer demands have changed drastically over the last few years. Key words include, faster, prompter, more precise, smaller, more customisation, cheaper, environmentally-friendlier, more complex, higher quality, etc. Manufacturing companies have to transform their factories into "factories of the future" in order to meet these challenges.

A Factory of the Future stands out from the rest in the way it deals intelligently and flexibly with variability. The integration of innovative (digital) technologies - Industry 4.0 - into existing production systems makes it possible to respond to these challenges. 

However the transformation process is not straightforward in view of the large range of innovative technologies on offer. Making the right choices demands technological expertise, as well as setting up tests for estimating the feasibility and making proper risk/benefit analyses. 

Sirris provides companies with intensive guidance and support for setting up and implementing the transformation plan for a ‘factory of the future’. 

 

Creating transparency on the production floor

In order to improve operations such as logistics flow, planning and control on the production floor it is essential to have a clear picture of the current production situation: where is each batch located? What is the status of the machinery? This can be done by connecting the production entities and extracting the relevant data. The production data obtained can then be used to make connections and build up intelligence in order to increase production quality. 

Making quick response possible

Being able to respond quickly to customer demands and manufacturing within ultra-short delivery times provides a strategic advantage. The first, important step in this process concerns a number of organisational changes in accordance with the ‘quick response manufacturing philosophy’. Close involvement of the employees via self-managing teams, combined with making continual improvements (Toyota Kata) are essential here. Innovative/digital technologies are important instruments in this process. Sirris has interpreted this as the 'QRM meets Industry 4.0’ strategy. 

  • Sirris has accumulated years of experience in quick response manufacturing (QRM) quick response manufacturing (QRM) for production in offices (Q-ROC) and in combination with Industry 4.0 

Operator support

In tomorrow’s production environment the operator will fulfil a key function: their expertise will be deployed to carry out value-added activities. Where possible, operators will be supported by digital tools including work instructions, AR/VR and robotised production assistants such as cobots. Mobile robots or cobots will ensure optimal logistical flow where unnecessary movements and actions by the operator are eliminated. It goes without saying that safety is a priority with man/machine collaboration. 

cobots

Taking additive technology to the production floor

At the moment additive production is still mainly used during the design and prototyping stages. Although this technology is gradually making its way into the production departments. And it’s not just for specific production purposes, but also for integrating post-processing, automation, etc . 

  • Sirris is able to remain on top of this thanks to the development of its AM Integrated Factory, which is a production line demonstrator that includes additive manufacturing.. 

Hybrid manufacturing

Combining technologies to obtain more, linking benefits, and extending the domain of application are all possible with hybrid production technologies. 

  • Sirris continues to explore this in detail.

First time right production

Error-free production and first-time-right production ensure lower costs and shorter lead times. This is now (financially) feasible for small production series and complex items, and is achievable for SMEs.

Expertise & infrastructure

Sirris has extensive expertise in a wide range of technologies

 

Different application labs with state-of-the-art infrastructure that can be deployed for feasibility studies in specific ‘use-cases’

  • The application lab at Kortrijk focuses on operator support within the context of the assembly of large mixes of product variations: collaborative robots, digital operator support, digital integration of various entities, optimal material presentation and logistic flows.
 

 

  • The application lab in Heverlee focuses on robots and cobots as well as versatile tools for supporting operators with moulding processes involved in sheet metal working, composites, …    
  • The application lab in Diepenbeek focuses on operator support and flexible automation in reduction processes: mobile collaborative robots, connecting machinery, data extraction and visualisation, precision processing, the functionalisation of surfaces and the integration of 3D printing into existing production processes.            
Precisie bewerken         AM Integrated Factory Cobots