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Industry 5.0: The Future Of Manufacturing In 2035

Industry 5.0: The Future Of Manufacturing In 2035

The Factory of 2035 will look vastly different than the factory of today. Ever since the first Industrial Revolution when mechanisation, water, and steam power started to automate work previously carried out manually, more work has been taken on by machines. Each technological advancement – from computers and robotics to the Internet – has brought about additional automation. Advancement in technologies will remain significant, but the trend of “human touch” will also be in demand in Factory of 2035.

People, machines and fear

Today, internet-enabled “Industry 4.0” – including the robots that form a growing part of its connected technologies – has given rise to new fears that technology is replacing human workers. Representing Industry 4.0 as they do, robots are also bearing the brunt of the latest “technology is replacing us” myths. People have misconceptions that automation technologies and robots threaten people’s livelihoods. Automation does not replace jobs, in fact, it creates new jobs.

According to a recent Harvard Business Review article on automated tasks, 20 percent and 80 percent of a given job can involve automatable tasks, but no jobs are 100 percent automatable. This means that even with all the advancements, robots will not replace humans entirely. The fact is that robots help to increase productivity and companies are in the position to employ more people. Hence, robots will create jobs instead of eliminating them.

A new type of factory

The promise of the latest industrial revolution, Industry 4.0, is not just complete factory automation. Manufacturers move towards “light out factory” setups where they can produce goods people demand quickly, with consistently high quality, at unprecedented low cost, and with little human intervention. However, when the ‘lights out factory’ has started to gain traction in actual manufacturing setups, different global consumer trend has emerged – The return of human touch in Industry 5.0.

Mass demand for the human touch, or what is often described as “mass personalisation,” will never be met by large scale lights-out type manufacturing nor by traditional craftspeople working in their own small shops. Today, people want to experience the human touch in mass-manufactured goods. The type of factory needed to produce such goods at a scale and cost that makes production economically feasible will depend on technology. It is not the technology operating without human involvement in a lights-out factory. It will be the technology that collaborates with workers and, where the human touch is involved, serves as a tool that enables the workers to contribute the value they add to the product.

A new type of worker

The workers who will be needed in these new setups are workers who have particular value to add to the product. They must have expertise in an area that is required to give the product the degree of human touch the market demands of it. They may practice a craft or use a discerning eye or other senses to assess work and make adjustments. They may have a special understanding of materials and manufacturing processes. They may be experts in the practice of creativity. What will not be needed are workers who spend their days performing boring, repetitive tasks, or dangerous work. Robots and other machinery can and will do this work better. The days of the old-school line worker will be over.

The factory job in 2035

In 2035, Industry 4.0 and lights-out factories will be a vital part of product manufacturing. The world needs millions of products that do not require any human touch in order to be valuable. There will also be many more Industry 5.0 factories in 2035, and these factories will employ workers, with uniquely human skills. Requiring uniquely human talents like creativity, artistry, materials and process understanding, discerning tastes, understanding of various customs, and complex judgement, these jobs will be nothing like the factory jobs we think of today. It will be jobs that defy the definition of work as “doing things I don’t like to do”, instead, people will love their jobs. These jobs and trends will help humanise labour and make the world a better place to work.

In the current global age, Industry 4.0 is a marriage of IT and manufacturing operations. We have seen the maturation of digital technologies in the manufacturing industry. The smart factories of 2035 will accommodate the new collaborative model. The collaboration between man and machines, in which robots do the strenuous and repetitive work while humans act as the “creative architects”. Human creativity and smart technologies will become a decisive force in 2035.

By: Darrell Adams, Head of Southeast Asia & Oceania, Universal Robots

 

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KUKA Launches KR IONTEC For The Medium Payload Category

KUKA Launches KR IONTEC For The Medium Payload Category

KUKA is launching the successor to the KR 60-3—the KR IONTEC, setting new standards in terms of flexibility in the medium payload category. It is designed for operation in conventional and digital production worlds and stands out in particular for its large work envelope.

Utmost flexibility and cells with a small footprint

The KR IONTEC can be used in any installation position – on the floor, on the wall or inclined. The option of converting the payload capacity of the installed robot from 30 to up to 70 kg also makes it extremely flexible. Furthermore, with a maximum reach of 3,100 mm, the new KR IONTEC has the largest work envelope in its class. Thanks to its long reach, the ability to work particularly close to the robot itself and the enlarged workspace beneath the robot, the KR IONTEC optimally exploits its work envelope. The reduced space requirements of the robot, with a 30 percent smaller footprint and a 10 percent more streamlined disruptive contour, additionally enable a more compact cell design.

“Powerful, slim, flexible – and fit for the digital production world of the future: With the new KR IONTEC, we are delivering exactly what the market expects from a robot in the medium payload category. And even more,” says Gustavo Moscardo, Chief Sales Officer of KUKA Robotics.

Best values for total cost of ownership (TCO)

The KR IONTEC features the lowest maintenance requirements in its class. The maintenance costs are reduced, for example, by the fact that the robot requires fewer spare parts and that, on average, an oil change is only necessary after every 20,000 hours of operation. Due to the reduced energy consumption, resulting from the improved drive technology and decreased weight of the robot, the running costs are also lower. The new KR IONTEC excels in terms of TCO and life cycle efficiency. Technical availability is over 99 percent and the mean time between failures is around 400,000 hours of operation.

Ready for the production world of the future

The KR IONTEC is ready to use in both conventional and digital production worlds and is equipped with various Motion Modes. These software add-ons can be used to adapt the robot flexibly to different production processes at the press of a button, so to speak: Performance Mode ensures high performance, dynamics and efficiency as standard. Path Mode enables exact continuous-path motion at all velocities with absolute accuracy and precision. Dynamic Mode can be used to minimise cycle times. For Asia Pacific countries, delivery of the first models is scheduled from June onwards.

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MACH 2021 Leading The Way To Recovery

MACH 2021 Leading The Way To Recovery

January 2021 is going to be a hugely important landmark for UK manufacturers. After the disruption of 2020 getting supply chains moving and investment flowing are going to be big priorities for the new year. The place to do that will be the NEC, which will not only play host to MACH, the UK’s national engineering and manufacturing exhibition between 25-28th January, but will also be packed with other events.

After a gap of nearly a decade, Subcon will return to being co-located with MACH alongside a number of other shows, including Drives & Controls, meaning it will be a huge week for UK manufacturing.

The organisers have partnered on the events before, but in the current climate the collaboration takes on added significance as the need to kickstart the manufacturing sector after the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic becomes of crucial importance to the wellbeing of the UK economy as a whole.

By pooling their resources, expertise and experience, the two organisations said they would be better able to support UK manufacturing and engineering businesses to bounce back as the economy starts to rebuild and adapt to this ‘new normal’.

The highpoint of the week will be the Manufacturing Technologies Association’s Annual Dinner which the Association, which owns and runs MACH, will be holding onsite at the Vox, on Tuesday 26th January.

James Selka, CEO of the MTA, said: “Our intention is to ensure MACH is not just a showcase for the manufacturing technologies sector, but a celebration of the manufacturing industry at its best. MACH is a content-led event and brings together the latest advanced engineering and manufacturing technologies – in operation and all under one roof.”

“Highlights for the show will include a significant focus on the digital factory, with more automation and connected manufacturing processes, power by the hour and new cost efficiency solutions that will dramatically improve production processes and help shape the industry over the next decade.

“MACH has always been the place to see real innovation come to life. Manufacturers and engineers come out in force to support the UK’s national show and see first-hand how technology is developing. As such, MACH will be the perfect way to kick start 2021 and we are delighted that other complimentary shows will be taking place alongside MACH for what should be a celebration of UK manufacturing at its very best.”

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LVD Introduces Movit Line Of Automation Systems For Lasers

LVD Introduces Movit Line Of Automation Systems For Lasers

LVD introduces MOVit, a comprehensive range of automation systems, including new TAS (Tower Automation System) and WAS (Warehouse Automation System) options for LVD Phoenix and Electra laser cutting machines. MOVit systems also include LVD’s Compact Tower (CT-L), Flexible Automation (FA-L) and Load-Assist (LA).

New tower & warehouse systems

MOVit TAS is a single or double tower storage system that can be integrated with up to two laser cutting machines. This tower system offers 16 different configurations available for 3015, 4020 and 6020 laser machine formats.

MOVit WAS offers a custom number of towers beginning at a minimum of three towers, in single or double row configurations. Each pallet has a capacity of three or five tons and a stack height of 90 mm. Multiple laser cutting machines can be connected to the system using integrated load/unload devices. Output stations can be added to WAS to deliver cut sheets to a sorting area or sorted parts to other machines such as press brakes. WAS is available for 3015 and 4020 laser machine formats.

Both TAS and WAS offer the option for unloading directly on the machine/s. Cut sheets are unloaded on a third table where parts can be sorted and made available for additional processing.

The automation systems feature highly customisable configurations. They are designed to keep material flow continuous, production uninterrupted, and sheets and parts organised efficiently. The standard TAS and WAS configurations allow for full lights-out production as finished sheets are returned to available storage.

 

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Mouldmakers Turn To Process Automation In Race To Recover

Mouldmakers Turn To Process Automation In Race To Recover

As production begins to ramp up in some sectors, mould and die manufacturers turning to automation of design and manufacturing to regain lost revenues.

Swoosh Technologies & Solutions, a certified-Smart Siemens Digital Industries Software business partner, has noticed more interest in mould and die-specific programs that automate tasks in the design and manufacturing of moulds.

“By automating some of the more tedious and predictable steps in the production process like creating parting surfaces or feature recognition for CNC programming, manufacturers can step up the speed of production throughput with the workforce they have in place,” notes Dan Wibbenmeyer, Managing Partner at Swoosh Technologies.

“And in an industry like consumer products or automotive, speed of delivery and cost will determine who receives the order.”

A recent survey from the American Mould Builders Association found that most plant operations fared well during the first few months of the COVID-19 pandemic operating at full capacity, while only two percent had to shut down operations entirely. Those who specialise in the medical device market are seeing the highest production levels with 91 percent of companies reporting they are 90-100 percent staffed and 55 percent looking to add staff.

 

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Automation And Digitalisation Pave The Way Forward For Smart Metal Industries

Automation And Digitalisation Pave The Way Forward For Smart Metal Industries

High precision robots working in a digitally driven factories are creating new avenues of growth for the sector. Article by Jorge Isla, ABB.

The standardised design of the FlexArc gives manufacturers the flexibility to shift the welding robot systems between cells without having to make major modifications.

As one of the most versatile and yet demanding parts of manufacturing, metal working has been preordained to undergo every technological advancement that transpires in the industrial world. The needs of the metalworking sector are as diverse as the end customers they serve. Be it a small job shop, a large automotive supplier or a foundry, metal working is a process that requires flawless execution even in harsh working conditions.

Today, trends such as the growing demand for tailor-made goods, continued globalisation that has led to a crowded market, and the everlasting pursuit for quality and efficiency, pose significant challenges to the current structure of the metalworking industry. Organisations that want to stay ahead of the curve have to pull all stops to ensure that their equipment and practices are capable enough to handle the many challenges that they encounter in this diverse industry. Automation in the form of robots and machining tools, when enhanced by digitalisation, offer the best way to improve productivity while maintaining a high level of flexibility to meet the needs of end customers. 

A significant factor that contests the efficacy of a factory that we are seeing today is ability to manufacture a wide variety of parts while maintaining the capacity to constantly introduce new variants to the process without having to disrupt the normal workflow in the factory. Achieving this requires a two-pronged approach to enhance both the hardware and the overall production process.

Forging flexibility with robots

Collaborative robots are adept at adding flexibility to assembly processes that need to make small lots of highly individualized products, in short cycles.

A sure shot way to increase the flexibility of the metal working process is through robotic automation. The range of robots for metal working have not been as comprehensive as they are today. From simple material handling tasks such as shifting parts to and from the conveyor system to sophisticated robotic welding cells that perform multiple complex tasks, robots have proven to significantly improve uptime, productivity and consistency. 

In the era of mass customisation, hard automation processes that execute only specific tasks offer very little in the way of agility to perform quick changeovers. On the other hand, flexible automation, typically in the form of a robot with “arms” that are capable of six axis movements with interchangeable grippers can perform a variety of tasks and are exceptional at handling large product mixes.  

The IRB 14000 single and dual- arm robots from ABB are highly collaborative machines and one of the latest technologies in flexible automation. Popularly called YuMi, these robots come with the added benefits of being able to safely and seamlessly work closely with human operators and enable greater space savings as they do not require large fences or cabins. The small size, but highly dexterous robot is well-suited for picking and placing tasks as it does for a leading French automotive interior parts supplier. The dual-armed YuMi robot is installed in the small space between two simultaneously running conveyor systems where its job is to fit plates on pump handles that are used to adjust the height of vehicle seats. The plug-and-produce concept of the YuMi allows it to work well in unstructured environments. 

Automation can also enhance the ability for manufacturers to perform tasks for various end customers using the same assets. Take for instance a Polish company that makes exhaust systems for the automotive industry. A significant variable in the company’s operations is that it does not have guaranteed quantity demands from end customers. To mitigate some of this uncertainty, the company installed a range of ABB’s FlexArcs at its factory in Poland. The FlexArc is a complete welding solution that features welding robots enabled with superior motion control software, positioners and other welding equipment, all built on a common platform. 

What makes the FlexArc ideal for the company is that one welding cell can be easily adapted for other products. Depending on the forecast by the end customer, the company can set up the welding process and use as many or as few FlexArcs that they would need. The flexibility of the FlexArc allows the company to use the same jig to make products for different customers with minimum changes to the design, which otherwise is an expensive and often lengthy process. Ultimately, along with increased productivity and superior weld quality that the welding cell offers, it also enables the company to quickly respond to the changing demands of its customers. 

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Bystronic Acquires Weber Laserservice

Bystronic Acquires Weber Laserservice

Bystronic Benelux BV has taken over its long-standing service partner Weber Laserservice BV. The integration of Weber Laserservice will enable Bystronic to provide its customers with even more efficient service, while also strengthening its market position and boosting its second-hand machine market.

“With the acquisition of Weber Laserservice, which has an excellent 15-year track record on the Benelux and German markets as well as in other countries and specializes in Bystronic machines, we are achieving several goals at once,” said Marco de Jong, Managing Director of Bystronic Benelux: “This move will make us the largest and most potent service and support organization in the increasingly dynamic market, and this both on-site with our customers and in the back office. A highly experienced and superbly trained team of technicians can now provide even more effective and prompt support for customers of every size and for every generation of Bystronic machine.”

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Patrick van den Berg and Martin van de Weg, former owners of Weber Laserservice, added, “We are delighted that we will now be an integral part of our preferred partner Bystronic. The pooling of the strengths of these two companies will lead to significant additional synergies, which will translate into a considerable added value for the customers.”

Weber Laserservice specializes in the maintenance, training, installation, and sales of Bystronic laser cutting machines and also plays an important role in the second-hand market for laser cutting systems. The company has been a Bystronic certified partner for many years and has in the past been awarded the title of “Best Service Partner” of Bystronic Benelux.

In addition to service and support for flatbed lasers, pressbrakes, automation and software, these services will now also be offered for tube processing. Thus, Bystronic’s customers can rely on expert support from a single source.

“There will be no staff layoffs, because customer support is of the utmost importance to Bystronic, both now and in the future,” de Jong said. “With the integration of Weber Laserservice into Bystronic Benelux, we now cover all categories. The benefits of this increased efficiency will be felt by each and every one of our customers, regardless of which laser cutting system they are using.”

 

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PC-Based Control For Covid-19 Rapid Testing Production Lines

PC-Based Control For Covid-19 Rapid Testing Production Lines

The rapid testing equipment production lines made by Ginolis Ltd. in Qulunsalo, Finland have proven themselves in the market for almost a decade. Because of the coronavirus pandemic, previously delivered lines are now being converted to the Covid-19 rapid testing configuration. The compact automation technology from Beckhoff contributes significantly to the production equipment’s modularity and high quality.

Since its foundation in 2010, Ginolis has offered high-quality automation solutions for the production and assembly of medical devices and rapid diagnostics have turned out to be an especially quickly growing field in health technology.

Modular production lines are adaptable

All of Ginolis’s production lines are modular in order to be able to offer customers custom-tailored capacities with lots of opportunities for subsequent scaling. As Ginolis CEO, Teijo Fabritius explains: “Thanks to our modular approach, the customer does not need to worry about future volume requirements when he makes his investment, because to increase his capacities he only needs to add more modules. The various standard modules for things like assembly and inspection provide a huge competitive advantage since they are usually available and can ship very quickly. We have lead times of only a few months, which is very unusual in our industry.”

The individual production modules are controlled via a CX2040 embedded PC from Beckhoff that is equipped with an Intel Core i7 quad-core CPU running at 2.1 GHz. The control software is TwinCAT 3 NC I. Most production lines have several hundred motion axes and hundreds of I/Os. The individual modules generally have 50 to 100 EtherCAT I/O connection points and multiple Beckhoff drive axles that are controlled via EL72xx servomotor terminals, EL70xx stepper motor terminals, and EL7411 BLDC motor terminals. The intelligent XTS transport system is used in Ginolis’s high-capacity assembly lines.

PC-based control is integrated, compact and powerful

According to Teijo Fabritius, Genolis believes in Beckhoff’s PC-based technology for several reasons: “PC-based control allows us to seamlessly integrate multiple software-based functions into the automation system. In addition, the embedded industrial PC systems are very compact and powerful. Particularly where automation components are concerned, compactness is critically important since space is usually at a premium, especially in cleanrooms. And the more functions we can integrate through software, the more compact, flexible and easily upgradeable we can make our solutions. PC-based control technology provides an outstanding platform for meeting all these requirements. In addition, Beckhoff has developed many additional products that fit well into our automation concept, such as the software-based TwinCAT Vision real-time image processing system and the compact EJ-series EtherCAT plug-in modules that speed up the installation process considerably.”

A capable automation system is also essential to ensuring the quality and reliability of the production process, says Teijo Fabritius: “A good example is the so-called marker for myocardial damage. It must be determined from a blood sample, which makes it easy to understand why getting correct results is so important. The same applies to the handling of fluids, for which Ginolis has developed a technology that ensures the super-exact dosing of antibodies.”

 

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LVD Discusses Challenges And Opportunities In Thailand

LVD Discusses Challenges And Opportunities In Thailand

Joshua Tan of LVD talks about the company’s Thailand market, the challenges and opportunities they are seeing in the region, and how they are helping customers move to Industry 4.0. Article by Stephen Las Marias.

LVD Discusses Challenges And Opportunities In Thailand

Joshua Tan

Established in 1952, LVD Group is a sheet metal machinery company, producing laser cutting, punching, and bending machines, as well as software. Founded by Jacques Lefebvre, Marc Vanneste and Robert Dewulf, the family owned company is now being managed by the second generation of the three founding families. Based in Gullegem, Belgium, the company has production facilities in Belgium, United States, France, Slovakia, and China, and is active in more than 46 countries around the world.

In Thailand, LVD has been present for around 35 years now. The company currently has about 12 employees covering sales and marketing, as well as service support for customers in the region.

At the recent METALEX 2019 trade exhibition in Bangkok, Thailand, Asia Pacific Metalworking Equipment News spoke with Joshua Tan, general manager of LVD (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd, about the company’s Thailand market, the challenges and opportunities they are seeing in the region, their latest innovations, and how they are helping customers move to Industry 4.0.

TELL US MORE ABOUT YOUR OPERATIONS IN THAILAND.

Joshua Tan (JT): We have sold around 1,100 machines now in Thailand, for which we continue to provide service and support. Right now, Thailand is a bit flat because of certain situations such as the US-China trade war, and then the government infrastructure projects have not been really benefitting the local fabricators or local companies. Our customers are not seeing a lot of projects that are needed for them to invest in more machines.

Nevertheless, Thailand remains a huge market, and a very competitive one. Apart from the European brands, we are now also competing with a lot of Chinese manufacturers who are coming in. Although some are touch-and-go, others are being represented by a lot of different agents.

So, in terms of the competitiveness of the market, I would say it is quite challenging in Thailand. But LVD has been present here for a long time, and we will are still seeing the market on a stable growth mode.

WHAT OPPORTUNITIES ARE YOU SEEING IN THE REGION?

JT: In terms of opportunities, the government is still putting investments in infrastructures: ports, airport expansions, highways, and others all over Thailand. With all these investments, we are seeing there’s a demand for machineries to support these kinds of projects. These are opportunities—but we hope this will not be only for a specific country or a specific contractor to benefit from; it should benefit the local players in Thailand.

Secondly, I would say automation. Even though automation in Thailand has already matured, especially in the automotive sector, it is still rather new when it comes to sheet metal machinery. There are still a lot of opportunities for us to get into the automation area—this is also in line with Industry 4.0, where customers actually want to upgrade themselves to this vision. But they don’t know where to start and what to do, so we need to actually go in and make some proposals, and offer them our solutions into Industry 4.0 machines and software. 

The third is probably in the telecommunications area. We are now moving from 4G to 5G. When it comes to telecommunications, you need towers and communications boxes—these have to be made by sheet metal machines. With this migration to 5G, I would say there’s an opportunity for the local players to get these kinds of projects, and this will help increase the production for this type of products in the market.

WHAT ABOUT CHALLENGES?

JT: We often encounter customers looking into their budget to invest. Most of the time, they probably do not understand fully what machines can do for them—they would rather look into how much they have and how much they can afford to buy.

In reality, at that kind of budget, they probably won’t get the production capacities that they really need—so they will end up spending more money than if they bought a more-expensive machine that can actually commit to the productivity or efficiency they require. So, this is more about the education of customers, how much information we can provide them, and of course, how much they are willing to invest. And it is understandable—many customers are buying cheaper machines so that they can charge lower for their parts, because it is also a competition between customers. Therefore, when it comes to initial capital investment in machines, it is a very critical decision, and critical cost calculation for them.

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Round-the-Clock Environment Disinfection With SESTO Autonomous Mobile Disinfectant Robot

Round-the-Clock Environment Disinfection With SESTO Autonomous Mobile Disinfectant Robot

SESTO Robotics has launched a dual-function Autonomous Mobile Disinfectant Robot – SESTO HealthGUARD. Addressing the urgent need for tiptop hygiene standards and minimum environment infection risk during COVID-19, the robot can efficiently and effectively disinfect facilities 24-hour, round-the-clock, with its dual functionality, eliminating 99.99 percent of bacteria, germs and viruses.

The robot is designed to self-navigate and manoeuvre around tight places, avoiding obstacles and people, making it suitable for many indoor facilities. Made in Singapore, the robots are currently in production and ready for deployment. SESTO autonomous mobile robots are versatile and safe, and automate labour-intensive and repetitive tasks in healthcare and manufacturing facilities.

Powered by SESTO’s proprietary user interface, operators can easily set up cleaning missions, schedules and deployment on a tablet or laptop. This means operators can conveniently change and update the robots’ cleaning routine as necessary.

Manual cleaning and disinfection may be inadequate and subject to human error, especially in large spaces. The multi-nozzle sprayer targets high-touch surface areas and enables facilities owners and operators to disinfect large surfaces more efficiently and thoroughly. It is also equipped with six UV-C (254nm) high-output germicidal lamps, disinfecting an area of 100 square metres in approximately 45 minutes.

 

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