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Digitalisation and networking are rapidly gaining ground in metalworking – and the same trend is also taking place in storage & sawing technologies.

The Smart Future Of Metalworking

The Smart Future Of Metalworking

Digitalisation and networking are rapidly gaining ground in metalworking – and the same trend is also taking place in storage & sawing technologies. Manual and mutually-isolated processes are increasingly giving way to a continuously-controlled, intelligent material flow, in which all the components involved communicate autonomously with each other. KASTO Maschinenbau has various solutions that make metalworking more efficient, more flexible and more cost-efficient in today’s Industry 4.0 era.

In the steel trade, the automotive and supplier industry and in mechanical and plant engineering, metalworking companies across all industries have been facing increasing demands for years now. Customers increasingly want greater manufacturing flexibility, from batch sizes of one item to large-volume production, while variety of materials and sizes is steadily increasing. At the same time, quality standards are rising and there is continuous pressure to cut costs. To hold their own against international competitors, companies need versatile and efficient solutions for a wide variety of production tasks.

Production Can Organise Itself

One solution here is the digitalisation and networking of production and logistics processes – also known as Industry 4.0. In modern metalworking, machines, plants, goods and load carriers are connected via the Internet of Things and can communicate with each other. Intelligent sensor systems provide up-to-date status information in real time. All process-relevant data is recorded and analysed, enabling users to optimise their entire value chain in a decentralised, autonomous and demand-oriented manner. The route from raw material to the finished product becomes shorter, more flexible, resource-saving and cost-efficient – and it starts with storage.

Today’s metalworking companies are increasingly relying on fully automated storage systems for long goods, instead of the previously widespread floor and cantilever arm storage methods. These automated software-controlled systems have completely convinced users with their significantly higher storage density, fast access times and maximum stock transparency. Moreover, sawing technology – often the first processing station after goods have been removed from storage – is being increasingly carried out with no manpower. Sawing machines can be seamlessly connected to the raw material warehouse and supplied with the required materials using manipulators and conveyor technology. The sawing process itself also runs autonomously if the machine is equipped accordingly, resulting in highly-efficient systems that are seamlessly integrated into a continuous material flow – the intelligent factory.

Automation – From The Raw Material To The Finished Part

KASTO creates combined storage-sawing-robot systems, in which all the storage, handling, sawing, marking, palletising and bundling processes are performed fully automatically, from the raw material to the commissioning of the cut parts. Problem-free communication is particularly important, since all the components involved must “speak the same language”. This is achieved by means of integrated control systems and suitable interfaces. With KASTOlogic, for example, the company offers a modular warehouse management system (WMS), which is specially tailored to the requirements of long goods and sheet metal storage. The WMS maps all the processes between goods receipt and dispatch clearly and transparently, ensuring efficient control of the entire material flow – and that includes the warehouse, the associated conveyor technology and the processing machines with their material handling.

The Right Interface For Every System

Thanks to customised interfaces ranging from SAP, Infor and Microsoft Dynamics products to customer-specific software solutions, the WMS KASTOlogic can be easily connected to a higher-level host system within the company, as can individual machine control systems. The resulting uniform communication structure significantly increases transparency and efficiency. Users can easily control all the orders, and the data collected and recorded in the warehouses and sawing machines can be comprehensively analysed and utilised. This enables the continuous tracking of specific goods and workpieces and the uniform utilisation of the machine park with short non-productive times, improved quality control & the enhanced planning of maintenance measures. Even remnant lengths and warehouse stocks can be sustainably optimised with relevant information, significantly reducing production costs.

Robot-Assisted Sawing For Greater Efficiency

The KASTOsort robot link automates production processes upstream and downstream of the sawing process and integrates these into a uniformly-controlled material flow. Industrial robots can not only remove the saw cuts independently, they can also perform many other tasks such as deburring, chamfering, centring, threading, marking, printing, sorting, stacking and picking. This robotic solution can be further integrated with a container management or driverless transport system.

Mobile Application

The use of mobile devices is also gaining ground in industrial production and the KASTOapp displays the status of all the networked machines equipped with the SmartControl, AdvancedControl, ProControl or ExpertControl systems. Users can see the name, machine number and type of each saw at a glance. If a saw is running in automated mode, the app can also access the information stored in its machine control programme. This gives users exact information on all the relevant parameters, like the article, cut length, target and actual quantity, feed rate and cutting speed. If a malfunction occurs, the app displays a graphic visualisation of the relevant error message, enabling users to react quickly and reduce downtimes to a minimum.

VisualAssistance – Remote Maintenance With Augmented Reality

KASTO has a VisualAssistance system, which uses the concept of augmented reality to simplify the remote maintenance of machines and systems. An interactive app for tablets, smartphones and smart glasses lies at the heart of the system – and customers can use it to connect to specialists via video and audio streams. Users and technicians see the same view in real time, greatly facilitating mutual understanding and helping to quickly identify individual plant components and any faults that may occur.

 

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