Written by:  

Bram Erven

Toward the intelligent factory: think big, execute small

Case 2: Use augmented reality
Schunk Xycarb Technology works with complex reactors, enabled by Schunk’s advanced equipment engineering capabilities. The China factory opens up a new challenge: how to combine local and remote engineering support.

With Augmented Reality (AR), we found a solution. And so, we turned this concern into a very practical engineering test:

  • An operator performed reactor maintenance, equipped with AR glasses.
  • An equipment engineer hooked up to the AR glasses’ live stream from a different room, giving instructions and watching the operation in real-time.

This test gave us enough faith that we can make remote support work. And allows global engineering control within the Schunk Xycarb Technology business group.

Innovating together
Making steps toward the intelligent factory together with our customers means that we continuously invest in innovations to apply. New building blocks, designs, and solutions are constantly developed and released from our innovation lab. Examples of that: advanced process control that combines PLC software with self-learning algorithms, new MES solutions that bring together production insights and machine IoT data, and real-time OEE monitoring. By sharing experiences and subject expertise with the industry, universities, and knowledge institutes, we build the intelligent factories of the future together.

Industry 4.0, digital transformation, smart factory: how can you look beyond the hype, the buzzwords, and the abstract visions? We would rather talk about the intelligent factory and use a practical approach to translate the buzzwords into actual factory improvements.

We like to think big but start small: engineer simple yet smart solutions on the shop floor. Connecting digital know-how to manufacturing expertise. The trick is to work toward the bigger goal while delivering immediate results in the short term.

Helmond-based high-tech manufacturer Schunk Xycarb Technology (SXT) is a big thinker: the ambition is to build an advanced factory in China. We teamed up with SXT to make this ambition a reality. Starting with defining the factory’s new production line and shop floor processes, up to coordinating the design, prototyping, and implementation of systems like ERP, MES, data solutions, and shop floor control.

In short, a project with huge scale and complexity. Cutting down that complexity means having the big picture in mind while starting with small solutions.

Case 1: Data-driven quality control
For quality control, the moonshot ambition is to be able to continuously improve and control product quality and underlying production processes. With full, immediate insight into production and the right optimization mechanisms in place to prevent yield loss, identify failure modes, speed up root cause analysis, and approach near-zero defects.

By using a data platform that automates data collection, processing, and visualization, we enabled quality engineers to reduce their analysis work from hours to a matter of minutes. Unlocking options to find patterns across all similar products, instead of only focusing on a rejected part. A step to enhance quality engineering abilities and speed in determining defects’ root causes and detecting scraps, therefore delivering significant savings for the factory. And a step toward broader AI solutions for quality control, such as automated shop floor anomaly detection. Eventually enabling predictive and prescriptive quality management to bring zero-defect manufacturing closer within reach. 

backBack to overview

Want to stay updated?