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Data Literacy In Heavy Industries

Data Literacy In Heavy Industries

With Industry 4.0 and the rise of the Internet of Things (IoT), the heavy industries of manufacturing, construction, transportation and utilities are becoming ever more connected. Gartner forecasts that 25 billion connected things will be in use by 2021, capturing huge amounts of data information, including videos, images – all with the help of AI.

In order to do that, organisations are required to have the ability to understand data. In other words, they need to be data literate.

If organisations are to develop data literacy, the opportunity present is significant. Qlik’s Data Literacy Index states that if companies improve corporate data literacy levels, their enterprise value may increase between three and five percent, which equates to a staggering $324 to $534 million.

 

However, improving data literacy might be challenging for businesses operating in heavy industries. Leaders in the manufacturing, resources and construction, transportation and utilities industries admitted that they lack confidence in their organisation’s data literacy. In fact, businesses are falling short when it comes to data literacy. It is reported that although 78 percent of the global workforce are willing to invest more time and energy into improving their data skill set, only 34 percent of firms are currently providing data literacy training and just 17 percent “significantly encourage” employees to become more comfortable with data.

Part of the issue may be the value which leaders in heavy industries place on data literacy, or the lack thereof. Despite the ongoing conversation of Industry 4.0 and the increasing use of IoT, less than half of business leaders from the sector believe that data literacy is relevant to their industry.

This might be unlikely to change soon – just under a third of business leaders surveyed think data literacy is a very important factor when hiring, suggesting that it is not of priority for all.

This might seem like a contradiction – to have smart factories, meters, wind turbines, and connected housing; yet, limited desire to understand the data that all these innovations generate. One of the current issues is that, whilst leaders recognise the value of connecting production lines, processes and hardware, many are only looking at each part in isolation. So, for instance, that might mean investing in sensors to monitor heavy goods vehicles for maintenance, and separating the technology used for tracking locations, without thinking of how the two can work together. In effect, this creates data silos, where the lack of a complete view amounts to extracting a limited value.

The research results confirm this challenge, with few leaders expecting employees to be data literate – only 14 percent of heavy industry respondents significantly encourage their workforces to be comfortable with data, and less than a third (32 percent) provide data literacy training. Most tellingly, just a quarter of the sector communicated that they are willing to extend a higher salary to employees who are data literate.

That said, there are some areas which the heavy industries are focusing on. While the heavy industries reported a lower usage of data decision making than other sectors in the Index, they outperformed the cross-industry average when it came to data analysis. 37 percent of heavy industry respondents reported that data analysis influences the corporate performance measurement and demand forecasting, 11 percent ahead of the average. A deeper dive into heavy industries finds that 73 percent of engineers use data analytics, well ahead of banking (54 percent), the commercial sector (56 percent) or services (58 percent).

Is this light at the end of the tunnel, or merely a silver lining? With data analytics often being the first step in cohesive data comprehension, I hope the former over the latter. As with any industry, there are examples of manufacturers, utilities companies and logistics businesses understanding the power of data or rejecting it completely. Most sit somewhere in the middle, perhaps wrestling with contrasts and contradictions within their own organisation.

What is clear, though, is that ongoing investments are being made in technology to unlock new opportunities. In spite of that, true success will be out of reach without an increase of data literacy level. If these remain low, companies in the heavy industries run the risk of losing valuable ground on competitors and struggling to thrive in this data-driven era.

Article by Jeremy Sim – Senior Director, Industry Solutions, Global Manufacturing & HighTech and Retail

 

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Manufacturing Sector Maintains Growth Trajectory Amid Challenging Market Conditions

Manufacturing Sector Maintains Growth Trajectory Amid Challenging Market Conditions

Manufacturing business growth has continued to rise over the past year, but at a much slower rate than the previous 12 months. Despite challenging market conditions and the difficulty in recruiting and retaining skilled staff, there has been a marginal one percent rise in the number of businesses reporting growth. These findings are survey results unveiled today from the annual Global Growth Index by Epicor Software Corporation—a global provider of industry-specific enterprise software to promote business growth.

For those companies who have experienced growth, maintaining it hasn’t been easy over the past year. Fifty-three percent admit it has been challenging, whilst a fifth (23 percent) have found it stressful. Thirty-five percent of businesses cite market conditions as having a negative impact on growth, and 32 percent feel that staff skills and experience have also played a detrimental part in maintaining growth.

Political volatility and uncertainty also continue to be a common cause for concern across the globe. Fifty-five percent of respondents cited the China-US trade dispute as likely to have a negative impact on future business growth. A quarter of businesses (26 percent) stated that the uncertainty surrounding Brexit is also still a big threat.

“The manufacturing industry plays an integral role in our global economy and people forget that it is responsible for delivering important products we use every day,” said Epicor CEO, Steve Murphy. “As such, the health of the manufacturing industry is something we should all be concerned about. While it’s good news to see that growth in this industry is still taking place, we need to keep a close eye on what factors are contributing to this growth and what factors are causing a lag. The information in the Global Growth Index empowers businesses so they can make strategic plans that will best position them for the future.”

The table below shows the Global Growth Index results for 2019 across six key indicators, compared with figures from 2018 and 2017. Percentages represent the median average number of businesses that have reported growth in each of the key growth metrics.

 

Growth performance indicator % reporting growth
2017 2018 2019
Sales/turnover 65 70 65
Profits 64 68 67
Product range 61 65 63
Exports and overseas sales 49 50 52
Workforce/headcount 48 48 54
Geographic coverage 51 49 53
Average % recorded across all six attributes 56 58 59
Index (year one=base 100) 100.0 103.7 104.7

 

“Investing in the right technology, such as enterprise resource planning (ERP) solutions, can help businesses better plan for change by improving visibility and insights into current operational workflows. This can help alleviate stress and enable people to deal with challenges more effectively, by providing the flexibility, agility, and adaptability needed to respond to market conditions and customer demands. Technology can also have a positive influence on other factors including work ethic and staff recruitment and retention,” concluded Reid Paquin, research director, IDC.

 

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Siemens On Data, Digitalisation, And Umati

Siemens On Data, Digitalisation, And Umati

In an interview with Asia Pacific Metalworking Equipment News, Uwe-Armin Ruttkamp of Siemens Digital Industries talked about how digitalisation is helping machine builders and users, the utilisation of data to improve manufacturing processes, as well as how umati will help push the metalworking industry forward. Article by Stephen Las Marias.

Uwe-Armin Ruttkamp

One of the highlights of Siemens’ booth at EMO Hannover 2019 is the latest generation of its Sinumerik One, the first digital native CNC aimed at driving the digital transformation in the machine tool industry. Siemens has also extended its Industrial Edge offerings for Sinumerik Edge to include more new applications to help machine tool users improve workpiece and process quality, increase machine availability, and further optimise machine processes.

With Sinumerik One, machine tool manufacturers can virtually map their entire development processes, significantly reducing the product development phase and time to market for new machines. This helps machine builders significantly reduce the duration of actual commissioning. Its virtual model opens up new possibilities for manufacturers and operators—machine concepts and functions can be discussed even before real hardware is available.

Sinumerik One enables machine users the programming of workpieces in the virtual environment and the setup and operation of machines completely on the PC. Employee training can also be carried out using the digital twin instead of the actual machine. These hardware and software innovations help machine builders and operators speed up processing steps significantly.

In an interview with Asia Pacific Metalworking Equipment News, Uwe-Armin Ruttkamp, Head of Machine Tool Systems, Motion Control Business Unit, Siemens Digital Industries, talked more about the benefits of these new technologies and how digitalisation is helping machine builders and users. He also discussed the utilisation of data to improve manufacturing processes, as well as how umati will help push the metalworking industry forward.

When we look at the current potential for these technologies and all that they involve, are they more suited to advanced markets such as Europe or the US?

Uwe-Armin Ruttkamp (UR): I wouldn’t say so. You have all kinds of industries also in Asian countries. Not everything is low-cost and price-driven; they are also technology driven, especially aerospace, automotive industries, or the upcoming additive manufacturing.

So, there’s a lot of technologies driving the industries. In addition to this, labour is not staying on this low-cost level—in Asian countries, people want to earn more money as well—so saving time, and saving cost by saving time, is also an issue for Asian countries.

How does this technology play out in the smart factory concept?

UR: It plays perfectly into that concept, because with our Digital Enterprise (DE) Portfolio we offer a holistic end-to-end solution including industrial software and automation that allows the use of a seamless value chain. This value chain consists of five steps for the machine user, and five steps for the machine builder. If you build a machine, you start with a concept, mechanics, you go to electrical design, you go to engineering, you go to commissioning, and sometimes, it also needs service.

For the machine user, there are also several steps needed to build a part. Get the machine on the shop floor, create a part, build the part, check it for quality, and ship it. And this complete concept is the basis for running a smart factory.

In a lot of these steps, Sinumerik One brings great benefits. For example, in machine engineering, people in the offices can engineer the machine. You don’t need to have a test rack next to your desk, and you don’t need to go to the shop floor to test the applications. You can do it all in the virtual world. That’s one perfect example of an Industry 4.0 application that people will get from our Sinumerik One concept.

How do you see digital twins being implemented by customers in Asia?

UR: I see a lot of customers thinking about it. We talk to many customers, including those in Asia. We, for example, are customers of our customers. We have factories ourselves. And we only buy machines where we can get a digital twin beforehand. We make it a prerequisite for purchasing a machine, that it comes with a digital twin. And I believe in future many other users are going to do the same. The benefits are huge. You can train the people, who are going to operate the machine, before the machine is even delivered. And even more, you can also do the run-ins, do the first test of the programs, and know the cycle time of the production, before the machine is delivered.

Does siemens have a benchmark so that when machine users’ data are analysed, they will determine whether they are doing okay or they are falling short?

UR: We offer from our service department a digitalisation check. Together with our customers we examine their factories and give them advise what digitalisation measures are in place to get to another productivity level. It’s a consulting approach not a benchmark.

More and more people are talking about the lights out factory. how are you helping customers go into that level of manufacturing?

UR: Lights out factories are not new. When you go into an automotive factory, for example they produce the same part over and over, it is relatively an automated production. So, what they have done, of course, is to use a CAD/CAM chain, which, out from the design of the piece, create the program to build the piece, download it into the machine, and run it. Of course, this is something we support with our DE portfolio. You can put a program into the machine remotely, and then run it automatically. But of course, it requires in-feed of the materials and taking out the material and the pieces produced. But then again, you need automation, and the complete tool chain and software, like NX for example, or TeamCenter, to have a data backbone for all the production information about the part. But there are other companies focusing on job shops, so they produce many different parts every day according to customer specifications. For them it does not make sense run a fully automated line. So, a lights-out factory for them is not possible.

UMATI - Universal Machine Tool InterfaceOne of the highlights of emo 2019 is umati. How are you supporting this initiative?

UR: We support it 100 percent. We are part of the initiative and helped it to get to the point where we are today. At Siemens our solution to serve a universal interface for machine tools is based on our industrial edge concept. Edge computing is the perfect solution for this. For example, one wants to have a central dashboard, which shows the amount of cooling liquid used per hour. Cooling liquid per hour is not stored as one piece of information in all the machines in the same way. You need to have some sort of programming that knows where that data is stored in the machine and sends it out in a uniform way. Our Siemens industrial edge concept is perfectly suited for this, because OPC-UA is built into our edge devices. This allows the machines to communicate the data provided based on OPC-UA, and the user can program a little piece of code into it to acquire the data out of the machine.

The specifications for umati is still being finalised. during its early development, what were the challenges that you experienced, and are they still a challenge now?

UR: From a technical perspective, it’s not difficult, because it is OPC-UA, and it is a definition of data. It is basically a companion stem based on OPC-UA. The difficult part was to get an agreement among all parties which data they want to support, or which use cases they want to support. Once umati defines which piece of information has to be programmed, it’s done. It’s relatively simple.

 

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Taking Metal To The Cloud

Taking metal to the cloud

Here’s a look at how cloud computing is transforming metalworking. Article by John Young, EU Automation.

Metalworking has played a pivotal role in the evolution of mankind, so much so that there are entire periods of history named after metals. While the Iron and Bronze Ages are behind us, society is framed by a whole other frontier of technology — The Information Age. But can the legacy of metalworking and the evolution of digitalisation work in unison?

Despite its deep-rooted history, metal fabrication remains an essential process in modern manufacturing. Rising urbanisation and industrialisation, burgeoning automotive and aerospace industries and new advancements in metal forming are just some of the many reasons why metalworking faces increased demand and expanding production.

As the Internet of Things (IoT) hits the shop floor, insight into its vast network of communicating machinery is accompanied by an ever-increasing access to the internet. The more machines ‘talk’, the more information they produce and as we enter the dawn of a data-driven era, managing this information is integral to its value.

Up in the Air

Also called ‘The Cloud’, cloud computing refers to software applications that run on remote servers instead of a user’s onsite IT infrastructure. The on-demand computing resource is gaining significant traction across industries that are looking to easily manage and access their data from anywhere in the world.

Regions all over the world are beginning to adopt the technology—and the Asia-Pacific region is no exception to the trend. In fact, the APAC region has been keen to reap the benefits of cloud computing across many of its industries.

Established in 2010, the Asia Cloud Computing Association (ACCA) represents the stakeholders of Asia’s cloud computing ecosystem and works to accelerate the growth of the technology across the region. According to ACCA’s 2018 Cloud Readiness Index (CRI), Singapore is APAC’s most cloud-ready region and, alongside Hong Kong, is a global leader in cloud readiness. Far ahead of larger economies such as the United Kingdom, Germany and the United States, Singapore represents the APAC region’s swift adoption of the technology.

Blue Skies Beyond

Effective implementation of cloud computing goes beyond connecting your shop floor devices to the sky—it means connecting your shop floor to the rest of the business. With one accurate record on hand, employees, suppliers and partners can all refer to a single source of reliable information to increase consistency.

The innate scalability of cloud computing means that manufacturers can easily accommodate changes and growth to their projects. Resources can be leveraged on a pay-as-you-go or on-demand basis, which gives access to additional assets when required and without the need to invest in an expensive network of internal infrastructure.

Cloud computing can also accommodate product development with ease by facilitating collaboration with engineers and other members of the product development team much earlier in the design process, reducing the time frame from conception to launch.

Pass the Test

Quality often overtakes quantity in metal working, as errors can jeopardise both the function and appearance of products. One hurdle that manufacturers in the metal industry need to overcome is passivity.

Stainless steel doesn’t rust—in theory. Stainless steel is often corrosion resistant, but that doesn’t mean that it is completely impervious to rusting. To combat corrosion, the metal undergoes a treatment process known as passivation, which involves using an acidic solution to remove the free iron from the metal’s surface.

Once the surface iron is removed, the other components of the alloy—namely chromium and nickel—are left behind as a surface layer over the steel. Once these elements react with air, they form a protective oxide layer that prevents the steel from rusting.

More frequently, customers are asking for a passivity guarantee to ensure the quality of their steel. But measuring, verifying and reporting on an invisible layer of protective coating can be difficult, time-consuming and expensive. During testing, a section of steel that has undergone the same treatment as the end product is sent for verification from an independent lab.

However, concluding that the results from this sample are the same as those of the finished component is little more than an assumption—leaving manufacturers with little choice but to hope that the product passes the test. What’s more, receiving the test results can take hours, which could delay shipping if correction is required.

Cloud computing can provide a solution. With the help of a wireless tester, smartphone and cloud-based technology, data can be captured and reported from any location. Not only can IoT-enabled remote testing speed up the passivity process, but uploading the results to the cloud means that they can be shared with other departments and customers in an instant.

One surface technology company has already developed a cloud-based solution to streamline passivity testing. Walter Surface Technologies helps machine shops and fabricators leverage IoT technology with its cloud-based passivation app, which allows technicians to chart oxidation levels of stainless steel to measure its passivation state and seamlessly communicate it with the company’s customers.

Maintaining Efficiency

Perhaps one of the best uses of the cloud is as part of asset maintenance. Sensors that collect data on the health of equipment can send this information to the cloud for analysis. There, a streaming data processor transmits the sensor data to storage, otherwise known as a data lake.

The data is still raw at this point, so may contain irrelevant items. To turn the data into insightful information, it is sent to the big data warehouse where it is analysed with machine learning algorithms. These algorithms reveal correlations in datasets and detect any abnormal patterns.

This data collected can then be fed back into planned predictive maintenance (PPM) schemes and remote monitoring of equipment. Unlike reactive maintenance, which involves waiting for a piece of machinery to break, PPM can be used ahead of time to prevent breakdowns and downtime.

For example, a brake press used to bend sheet metal into complex shapes requires accurate control for precise bending. To maintain a high level of product quality, it is crucial that all the machines’ components are in perfect working order.

Let’s say a motor in the brake press is running at an abnormally high temperature. Data in the cloud would be able to flag this abnormality to prompt plant managers to get in touch with a parts supplier such as EU Automation before a breakdown occurs, drastically reducing the amount of associated downtime.

The days of the Bronze Age are long gone—but there’s no questioning that we’re in the golden age of digital manufacturing. Cloud computing boasts several benefits that allow the technology to deliver a scalable and insightful solution to a variety of industries. Metalworking may be one of society’s most ancient processes, but cloud-based solutions can help breathe life into the sector by monitoring its core processes, improving product quality and providing workers with actionable insight to increase efficiency.

 

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ITAP 2019: Stay Ahead, Stay Relevant

ITAP 2019: Stay Ahead, Stay Relevant

Stay ahead and relevant with Industrial Transformation ASIA-PACIFIC ITAP 2019 – A HANNOVER MESSE event, held from October 22 to 24 at Singapore EXPO & MAX Atria, brings together a growing ecosystem of Industry 4.0 (I4.0) practitioners and connects attendees to all aspects of their I4.0 needs, from learning and networking to problem-solving and retrofitting.

With trade tensions, slowing Chinese economic growth, and an uncertain Eurozone casting a shadow on a strained global economy, there is no better time than now for businesses to progress with transformation efforts and leverage available initiatives to enhance competitiveness through innovation, productivity growth and internationalisation.

ITAP 2019 SMEs in Asia-Pacific will not only hear from thought leaders, but will also be treated to an immersive experience through a showcase of actionable I4.0 solutions for companies looking to future-proof their businesses. Mr. Heng Swee Keat, Singapore’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance, will be the Guest-of-Honour at the event’s Opening Ceremony.

Simon Lim, Executive Director for Manufacturing & Engineering, Enterprise Singapore said, “Industrial Transformation ASIA-PACIFIC ITAP 2019 brings together leading manufacturers and solution providers to exchange best practices, discover new technologies and catalyse partnerships in I4.0. Singapore has a strong manufacturing industry, which has enterprises in both manufacturing and the provision of manufacturing expertise and solutions. They are excited to be participating in the event, contributing to the exchange of best practices and technology in the industry. Enterprise Singapore is working closely with these enterprises to facilitate partnerships and support their move towards building smart factories of the future.”

Organised by SingEx Exhibitions and international partner, Deutsche Messe, Industrial Transformation ASIA-PACIFIC won the “Best Exhibition Organiser” award at the Singapore Tourism Awards for last year’s edition. The seminal event serves as a catalyst for the development of I4.0 thinking from awareness to driving adoption.

“With the comprehensive personalised learning opportunities provided for attendees, the show will help them – especially beginners and early adopters – find the right fit of I4.0 solutions with their stage of business development. SMEs, in particular, will find a support system where industry players can provide customisable and cost-effective solutions to help them optimise manufacturing processes or reinvent business models that satisfy client demands; and expand into new markets to grow their customer base,” shared Aloysius Arlando, CEO, SingEx Holdings. “We have also developed a digital engagement platform to help companies and practitioners learn, network and collaborate beyond the show.”

“The manufacturing industry today faces very different challenges compared to only a few years ago,” said Dr. Jochen Köckler, CEO, Deutsche Messe AG. “For example, customers want individualised products and same-day delivery at lower prices. In order to remain competitive in the global marketplace, companies need to embrace digitalisation. Industrial Transformation ASIA-PACIFIC brings together users and providers of all sizes to actively shape the Fourth Industrial Revolution in Singapore and the surrounding region.”

An immersive learning journey

Designed as a personalised learning journey with LIVE demonstrations, the “Gateway to Industry 4.0” is a curated gallery powered by TÜV SÜD on the evolution of I4.0. It aims to inspire delegates on how to implement I4.0 concepts by contrasting old-technology exhibits versus the new, showcasing the transformation and outcomes of practical applications demonstrating real benefits. Two new areas of interest are:

  • Collaboration Lab – Co-creation and demonstration areas for solution providers and manufacturers to discuss test-bedding and retrofitting solutions for a stepped approach towards progressive adoption of I4.0.
  • Robotics Experimental Zone – Future Lab featuring an innovative robotics display and interactive exhibits. Deepen the understanding on robotics application via talks, presentation sessions and workshops, and ideal for System Integrators, Product companies, Roboticist & Technologists, Procurement Engineers, I4.0 solution providers, Regional Robotics and automation stakeholders.

Other curated platforms that have been added to maintain momentum for I4.0 learning include: Over 60 Sandbox sessions providing practical learnings based on industry-specific challenges; a Research and Technology Zone to activate business collaborations through open innovations with technology providers and seekers; over 100 Guided Tours with 8 tracks covering 12 industries; and island-wide Technical Tours to leading R&D centres.

 

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One Technology—Many Benefits

One Technology—Many Benefits

Here’s a look at punching technology innovations and and the benefits like helping manufacturers toward their Industry 4.0 journey. Article by Trumpf.

Punching encompasses far more than just making holes in sheets. You can manufacture complete parts on a punching machine. Reshaping processes open up new dimensions for you. The versatility of the technology is the result of the wealth of tools used. With appropriate loading and unloading aids, you can even automate your production.

Monotool Punching Head Principle & Rotating Tools

The monotool punching head principle means that different tools can be exchanged into the punching head, and all of them can be rotated 360 deg.

It offers higher process reliability as the punches are always connected to the punching head in a form locking manner. Not only does it perfectly guide the tools down onto the sheet metal, it also guides them off the sheet metal in a controlled manner after the punching process.

Its reduced setup outlay provides easier handling. Tools can be used for multiple applications due to their rotational ability, resulting in fewer tool change and setup operations.

And fewer punching tools mean lower costs. Imagine the ability to create an oblong hole with every conceivable orientation in the sheet metal—with just one tool! This is really easy if the punching head is 360 deg rotatable, this works with all contours that you have a tool for, regardless of whether it is a standard or special tool. The ability of all your tools to rotate multiplies your processing options and reduces your tool requirements, and therefore your costs.

Tooling for Punching

With the increasing complexity of market requirements, sophisticated components can no longer be solved with standard tools. The need for manufacturing highly complex components in shorter amount of time require special tools, and using the right tooling is the prerequisite for successful punching.

For punching, there exists different tooling options. The Classic punching tool system is the leading tool system for punching machines. Due to the broad range of forms, shears, coatings, and accessories, you can use it with flexibility.

Another tooling option is the MultiTool, which integrates up to 10 different punching and die inserts in one tool adapter, increasing flexibility, efficiency, and productivity as different punching operations can be carried out by one tool. Additionally, forming and embossing can be carried out. Another benefit is the reduction of non-productive times due to reduced setup and tool change times.

Scratch Free Processing

When it comes to punching, the end result heavily depends on the right process, and it is crucial that the products are scratch free at the end of the process.

The basis for scratch-free processing is the use of brush tables, which provide soft support to the sheet and thereby preventing scratches and reduces noise. During positioning, the sheet slides over the brushes, which, due to their length, bend in the direction of movement.

Also, through raising brush field and support plates around dies, the contact between sheet and die will be reduced, leading to less scratches during the punching and forming.

  1. Solutions for punching-tools

Adhesive pads are pre-formed, self-stick polyethylene film and can be attached to dies, strippers and intermediate rings to prevent scratches on the workpiece. To avoid imprints and scratches on the sheet surface, a specially coated stripper can be used. The coating is also is wear-resistant and keeps material abrasion chips from sticking to it.

  1. Special die solutions

To reduce scratches for intermediate rings and dies, brushes or Ampco can be used. Ampco is a soft alloy that avoids scratches on the bottom of the sheet because of its softness and lubricant effect. Another option are descending dies that, by moving downwards during the positioning of the sheet, eliminate the contact of metal between workpiece and processing station. Active dies additionally operate a second punching head able to perform an active forming stroke from below, broadening the rage of processing strategies and tool usage and enabling new forming sizes and heights.

  1. Gentle material handling through intelligent automation

By using different automation solutions, scratches can be easily prevented before and after production. A conveyor belt with soft surface, where finished parts are ejected from the punching machine, ensures gentle handling.

Loading, unloading, stacking can be automated as well and by using a vacuum technology during these steps, scratches during part pick up, transport and deposit can be eliminated.

Skeleton free processing

Material usage optimisation not only boosts your production but also helps you save a lot. By implementing skeleton free processing, companies can increase their sheet utilization by 10 percent on average—thereby reducing material costs. Additionally, smaller bits of residual material simplify logistics and yield higher scrap prices.

Another advantage is the enhanced process-reliability achieved through the safe unloading of finished parts and small parts even when the part chute is open and through the automatic cut up and removal of residual pieces of sheet metal. Working without a scar skeleton also increases safety and is operator friendly.

Residual pieces of sheet metal can be sorted by material, and good parts and scrap are sorted to different containers. Other benefits of implementing skeleton free processing are savings in operational time by 14 percent on average, and the energy needed for the process itself: operating a punching machine instead of manufacturing a metal sheet consumes about 30-80 times less power, which in turn leads to energy savings equal to the power needed to operate a punching machine for 40 years.

Simultaneously, companies increase output rate through smaller workpieces and enhance their production, hence, significantly boosting their return on investment.

Programming

The software used to execute punching operations has a great impact on success and efficiency. Technology offers many different processing options and the right software should support users to make use of all these possibilities.

A good software should simplify the nestling process and thereby optimize material utilization and save costs. It should also reduce the effort required to generate the NC program for example by applying automatic repositioning and trimming. Choosing a software that has the option for offline programming can reduce machine down time as programmer can prepare the next programs already while the machine is running.

Additionally, settings can be predefined and adjusted to the specific needs of the company. If Industry 4.0 is a topic for your company, a software with the ability to automate processes and integrate systems to make use of Internet of Things (IoT) should be chosen.

Automation for Punching Machines

Automation can save costs and boost production, but it has to be reliable and safe to do so.

Automation can be applied to the loading of raw sheets or blanks and or pre-cut parts and the consequent unloading of finished parts, micro-joint sheets and scrap skeletons. Also, disposal of scrap skeletons and remainder strips and sorting of small parts and punching slugs can be automated with the right machinery.

There are plenty of benefits that automation in punching operation offers, for example, the increase in productivity due to high machine utilization, and reduced factory lead times. Additionally, automation increases process reliability, enhances efficiency, and improves safety during the punching process.

Automated systems typically perform the manufacturing process with less variability than human workers, resulting in greater control and consistency of product quality

Integrated tool management

Automation can come into play even before the punching process is carried out. Before punching, suitable tools have to be selected and set up in the machine. Tool availability, proper assembly and accuracy of tool data in the machine control have to be checked, which is all very time consuming.

With integrated tool management, these steps can be automated—reducing search and setup times. The central data management makes data available anytime, anywhere, and enables direct data transfer between machines.

Tool management automation also increases efficiency of inventory management, productivity and process reliability, as the tools and tool lengths and changes are recorded, while the punch-stripper and die combinations and tool suitability are checked by the system automatically.

The Future of Punching

Punching technology has continuously developed in the last few years, and high-quality punching tools now do not leave any punching burr. Set up, sorting and removal is easier than ever before.

The demand for customer’s quality requirements is increasing, while the batch sizes are decreasing. It is therefore important to make precise calculations, but this is not exactly easy when a part is manufactured on several machines. The solution? Combining two technologies: punching and laser cutting into a single machine. And the benefits are below:

  1. A combination that pays off

The punching head reaches standard contours and formings, while the laser cuts more complex contours, allowing you to produce a wide range of parts and even complete challenging orders on a single machine.

  1. Lean logistics: Gain freedom

Integrate cutting, punching and forming processes on a single machine will reduce your calculation risk and the floor space required. Reduced waiting times and workflows such as setup and handling allow you to make multiple savings.

  1. Combined processing: Best quality

Combining fits or forming with laser cutting not only reduces the waste you produce but allows you to manufacture high-precision components in a quality that was not possible to achieve when processing on several machines.

  1. Short process chain: Simple logistics

With the right automation, your machine handles all parts automatically—loading, producing, sorting, stacking, unloading, and storing. There are virtually no limits to its loading and unloading capacity, therefore your machine works around the clock as needed.

 

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Record Number Of Enterprises Becoming “Intelligent” With Growing IoT Investments

Record Number Of Enterprises Becoming “Intelligent” With Growing IoT Investments

Zebra Technologies Corporation has announced the results of its third annual “Intelligent Enterprise Index” which indicates a record 61 percent of enterprises worldwide are on the path to becoming “intelligent,” compared to only 49 percent in 2018.

This global survey analyses the extent to which companies connect the physical and digital worlds to drive innovation through real-time guidance, data-powered environments and collaborative mobile workflows. Their “Intelligent Enterprise” Index scores are calculated using 11 criteria that include Internet of Things (IoT) vision, adoption, data management, intelligent analysis and more.

Based on these criteria and driven by an overwhelming pressure to improve the customer experience, retail organisations have gained the most momentum in the last 12 months, graduating from the bottom of the 2018 vertical Index rankings to nearly the top of the 2019 list, second only to Healthcare.

The number of companies defined as truly “intelligent enterprises” by achieving a score of 75 points or greater on the Index has also risen year over year. Seventeen (17) percent of organisations with at least 250 employees crossed this threshold in 2019 versus only 11 percent in 2018. Interestingly, 37 percent of surveyed small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) with 50-249 employees scored 75 points or greater on the Index, indicating SMBs with an IoT vision are in many cases more “intelligent” than large enterprises.

“When we launched the Intelligent Enterprise Index three years ago, many enterprises were trying to understand where and how IoT solutions could be best applied within their unique business environments,” said Drew Ehlers, Global Futurist, Zebra Technologies. “We now see more urgency to improve operational visibility and facilitate the delivery of actionable intelligence all the way to the edge of the enterprise. I believe that is why enterprises are now demonstrating a much greater commitment to executing their IoT plans and why we’ll likely see a surge in investments over the next few years.”

“The edge of enterprise is becoming increasingly connected, thanks to the continued adoption of mobility and IoT. Inevitably, this unprecedented, growing level of connectivity has generated large amounts of actionable data that that businesses can leverage on to improve their performance and workflows. Zebra’s Savanna is a revolutionary data intelligence platform that integrates IoT end-point connectivity, configuration management, data transport, data storage, analytics, and machine learning into a single platform which converts raw data into actionable insights that can afford businesses with greater capabilities in delivering new levels of service, productivity, and profitability,” said Fang-How Lim, Regional Director for Southeast Asia, Zebra Technologies.

 

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CEBIT ASEAN Thailand 2019 Presents The Most Comprehensive IT And Digital Business Platform For SMEs

CEBIT ASEAN Thailand 2019 Presents The Most Comprehensive IT And Digital Business Platform For SMEs

CEBIT ASEAN Thailand 2019 (“CEBIT 2019”) is presents the most comprehensive IT and digital knowledge and business platform for SMEs to serve their needs in this digital era. The second edition is scheduled from 27 to 29 November, 2019, at Hall 7 IMPACT Exhibition & Convention Center, Bangkok, Thailand.

Digital transformation has disrupted businesses, including SMEs. In response, entrepreneurs are shifting their focus to technology to grow and sustain their businesses. 60 percent of SMEs in ASEAN are keen to invest in tech solutions and 73 percent of SMEs in Thailand prioritised ‘technology’ as their top investment. New development concepts to increase the business competitiveness require better innovations and implementation strategies. That is the key reason CEBIT 2019 is focusing on SMEs’ needs of technology to improve their businesses.

A wide range of SMEs and enterprise solutions at CEBIT 2019

CEBIT 2019 – ASEAN’s innovation and digitisation business platform for IT professionals and decision-makers, from startups to SMEs, is an important meeting place for professionals in the technology and digital industry; for business expansion; and knowledge fulfilment that cannot be missed. In the 2019 edition, CEBIT 2019 will be featuring up to 700 exhibiting companies and brands from 12 countries. Leading technology brands from across the world, specialising in business solutions; cyber security; data and cloud; smart solutions and IoT; as well as startups, will be at CEBIT 2019. Exhibitors include AML Systems Co., Ltd.; Data Wow Co., Ltd.; Gofive Co., Ltd.; Hitachi Systems Ltd; Humanise Co., Ltd.; Internet Thailand Public Co., Ltd.; Manage Engine; Pantavanij Co., Ltd.; SEC Consult Co., Ltd.; and whowho & Company. CEBIT 2019 is all set to bring together startups, top corporations, government agencies, incubators, investors and VCs.

Highlights @ CEBIT ASEAN Thailand 2019

A range of technology and digital industry experts have been invited to share their expertise and insights on current hot topics, including the following:

  • New Business Development with Innovative Management Concept in the Digital Disruptive Era by Software Park Thailand;
  • Smart Factory: IoT Process in Factory in Thailand by Thai Embedded Systems Association;
  • Trends & Opportunities in the SEA Region – Do global developments influence regional trends?
    by Thai eCommerce Association; and
  • Lifestyle Blockchain Platform by Thai Blockchain Association.

In collaboration Tech Talk Thai, Thailand’s top IT knowledge website, CEBIT 2019 is proud to present the CEBIT x Tech Talk Thai Conference – a gathering of more than 15 tech gurus to share key learnings surrounding the latest technologies, issues and trends. This is the opportunity to learn from industry leaders and practitioners, including Amazon Web Services, Bitdefender, Eaton, HPE Aruba, IBM, Netka, Nutanix, Oracle, Trinity Roots, and UiPath

Online registration to visit is available now at https://cebitasean.com/visitor-registration

 

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TRUMPF Discusses Opportunities For Growth In Vietnam

TRUMPF Discusses Opportunities For Growth In Vietnam

At the recent MTA Vietnam 2019 trade show in Ho Chi Minh City, Asia Pacific Metalworking Equipment News (APMEN) spoke with Patrick Kemnitz, General Director of TRUMPF Vietnam and Head of Business Development for Southeast Asia, and Edward Yuen, General Manager for Singapore and Vietnam, about the trends shaping the metalworking industry in the region, challenges and opportunities for growth. They also provided their insights on where the Southeast Asian market is headed in the next years.

WHAT OPPORTUNITIES ARE YOU SEEING IN VIETNAM?

Patrick Kemnitz (PK): Vietnam is a strong and steadily growing market, with a GDP of around five to seven percent. Vietnamese companies have been getting more and more jobs from foreign markets, especially with the ongoing trade war between the United States and China.

This is the current situation. But in the long run, we see huge potential in the Vietnamese market. Its huge population of labour entering the workforce is also a very high potential for growth.

In almost all industries where sheet metal products are needed, such as furniture, elevators, construction, automotive, bicycle, there is an opportunity for doing these metal products locally instead of importing them. So, the increasing localisation of all the industries is a very high potential for businesses.

Edward Yuen (EY): The market now is driven by infrastructure development. You see a lot of construction happening all over Vietnam. Tall buildings, highways, bridges are built—for all these infrastructures, sheet metal works are required. Also due to the tariff issue between China and the United States, you will see a lot of these industries basically restructuring their businesses instead of putting all their eggs in one basket, and some of the international companies investing strongly in Vietnam.

ARE YOU SEEING ANY CHALLENGES IN THE MARKET?

PK: For our customers, one of their challenges is having skilled workforce for their factories.

Therefore, education needs to be tackled: Vietnam needs to have the right education on future technologies. In line with this, we are working with educational organizations like universities and technical colleges to support them with technical input from the industry as investing in people is important for future growth of the whole country.

There are other issues, but I think the opportunities are bigger than these challenges. There is also the opportunity brought by Industry 4.0 and smart factory. This is our theme in this exhibition, ‘Your Smart Factory’, which is about how we can help our customers make the first steps in the direction of a connected production process and to provide all the advantages of having a smart factory. This is really a process that will require a step by step approach. And now is the time for our customers and the industry in Vietnam, because many new factories are being set up here. They are not just expanding their existing factories, but also building new ones. If you have these greenfield projects, you have the opportunity to plan really well from scratch.

HOW IS TRUMPF ADDRESSING THE WIDE SPECTRUM OF MANUFACTURING LEVELS IN SOUTHEAST ASIA?

PK: We established our product portfolio in such a way that we have a solution for customers from all levels. For instance, our entry level machines are strategically positioned to help customers grow their manufacturing process. We also have machines which allows our customers to upgrade into a combination machine to extend their production. And on the very high-end sector we offer fully automated machines and storage systems.

HOW DO YOU SEE THE INDUSTRY DEVELOPING OVER THE NEXT THREE TO FIVE YEARS?

PK: Three to five years in Vietnam, or maybe Southeast Asia in general, is a long horizon. At the moment we mainly still have a positive outlook for the economy. Of course, there are signs that the global economy is slowing down, especially in the machinery industry, but so far these still might be part of the cyclical developments over time. Here in Vietnam, there is positive development. Mostly, all the industries that are relevant for sheet metal production are growing, so we are quite positive for our customers, that they can develop their business in a very positive way as there is still a lot of space to grow. In this environment, we consider TRUMPF as an enabler of this growth.

EY: For Southeast Asia, I think there are good prospects for the next three to five years. The continuing trade war between the United States and China which is not going to end soon are driving a lot of companies to move to Southeast Asia. Whatever products that you are now manufacturing in China and if you have to export it to the USA, you want to avoid getting entangle into this tariff game. Now we see lots of job-shops in Vietnam are loading up with jobs that are shifted over from plants in China. Going forward I believe more manufacturing companies in China will slow their expansion there and instead build up their expansion in SEA instead. In a way you don’t want to put all your eggs into one basket. The other impetus, the cost of manufacturing in those big northern Asian countries are not getting any cheaper and it only makes sense to capitalise on the cheaper labour force; huge available cheaper land and better infrastructure of SEA to grow a business.

 

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The Role Of IoT Technology In The Metal Fabricating Industry

The Role of IoT Technology in the Metal Fabricating Industry

Ultimately, the metalworking industry needs differentiation and tools to help stakeholders to level up their products and services for customers. Here’s how. Article by Helen Masters, INFOR.

Singapore’s government, led by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, has in recent years identified four technology sectors that Singapore needs to build on; one of which is Internet of Things (IoT). For a small country with a population of just 5.64 million, Singapore has truly transformed itself into a hotbed for technology and innovation, becoming a magnet for foreign companies with regional headquarters and being an example for the rest of Southeast Asia.

With IoT technology, metal fabrication companies based in Singapore are in a position to once again lead the rest of the region with value-add to customers and streamline processes. But will adding condition-tracking sensors to equipment be enough? Is IoT technology the cure-all for tight margins, escalating customer demands, volatile pricing, and aggressive competition? Well, that depends.

The Background in a Snapshot

IoT has been generating buzz that spikes then ebbs, like the tides. Grandiose projections for potential economic impact create optimistic swells. Media pundits herald IoT technology as the key driver behind waves of digitalization. But, then, mixed feedback pops up. Some early adopters realize their tidal waves of data need to be aggregated and analyzed further in order to have practical applications. Data overload is a common issue to resolve.

As more and more projects move through proof-of-concept stages, it becomes clear that deploying an IoT plan is not as simple as flipping a switch. Often, several solutions are required in order to achieve the specific results desired. There is, though, one factor common to all successful initiatives: a foundational strategy and plan for data consumption must be in place to avoid data overload. Analytics with built-in artificial intelligence (AI) separates programs with marginal results from ones with game-changing, differentiating outcomes.

How Do Metal Fabricators Avoid Common Mistakes?

When designing programs to leverage IoT technologies, metal fabricators should focus on applications which will bring measurable impact on the bottom line. Because of the industry’s ultra-thin margins, any tactic which helps to control costs and boost productivity will be of value. Those incremental gains, though, may not be enough to be true attention-getters for customers.

Fabricators wanting to differentiate their business from the onslaught of competitors will need to aim for bigger, better, more unique gains in order to impress the highly demanding B2B customer.

Five Tips for Achieving Differentiation Through IoT

  1. Offer Servitisation. If you are a fabricator of industrial components or equipment, offering a product as a service is one of the most dramatic ways to use IoT technology. Thanks to data generated from sensors, you can monitor customer inventory levels at their location, consumption rates of your products, project needed demand, and provide a continuous as-needed supply. This service will help your customers optimize their inventory levels while building a relationship of trust.
  2. Productise Data. Data generated from sensors provides valuable insight about the way in which components are functioning in the field, how assets are performing, ways to improve field conditions, and lifecycle phases of fabricated parts and components. This data can be packaged and offered to customers. It can be a value-add service or a new revenue stream.
  3. Engage Customers. IoT technology can be used to capture and share insights with customers. IoT connectivity and sensor-generated data up-levels the ability to collaborate on component design, test results, and co-monitor fabricated parts through test stages. Even though you may be miles or continents away from you customer, the ability to collect, aggregate, analyze and share condition-based data from anywhere, brings you closer to your customers– when and where they are making decisions.
  4. Manage Volatility. IoT technology can help you monitor the location of delivery trucks, service fleets, shipments of raw materials, and inventory levels in your warehouse—or your customers. Fast changing stock conditions can be monitored in real-time, so timely decisions can be made about shifting inventory between warehouses or re-routing trucks as needed. This agility can be a marketable differentiator.
  5. Extend Asset Lifecycle. Sensors embedded in shop floor assets can be used to collect data about the physical condition of assets, like temperature and vibration, monitoring for early warning signs of maintenance requirements. Staying proactive and maintaining high-value assets properly can enable companies to extend their lifecycle, eliminate unplanned downtime, and improve productivity. This can ultimately improve the accuracy of capacity planning, on-time delivery to customers, and cashflow.

Getting Started

Each of these differentiating tips requires advanced IoT software, including cloud computing, a data lake for aggregating and storing large volumes of data, and analytics for drawing consumable insights from the data. Solutions need to tightly integrate and adhere to modern security protocols. Working with a solution provider or deployment consultant will help you leverage the benefits of experience.

As IoT technology is still relatively new, your internal IT teams will appreciate the help of professionals who are familiar with the complexities of IoT deployment. These experts can help you avoid common pitfalls and overcome any possible roadblocks that arise.

Ultimately, metal fabricators need differentiation and tools to help them level-up their products and service for customers. IoT technology can provide important abilities and help you leverage technology for insight.

But, to truly be effective and reap differentiating-level benefits, metal fabricators need to go beyond the basics. Involve experts to help plan the strategy. Set goals using advanced applications, such as the five listed here, to stand out from the competition. Most importantly, get started now.

 

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Predictive Maintenance and Machine Learning Will Revolutionise Reliability

Adapting Cutting Tools To Changing Trends

 

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