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f+h Intralogistics 2/2015

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f+h Intralogistics 2/2015


GLOBAL BUSINESS Bottom-up rather than top-down! Now it has been awarded, the so-called “4 th Industrial Revolution”. A broad alliance of federal government and leading associations are promoting the debate on the future of the industry. The current hype may seem a bit surprising. Why the fuss? IT has established everywhere over the past thirty years. But what is so new about this phenomenon, that it deserves to be called the next „industrial revolution“? The excitement is due to the fact that transfer rates and processor speeds are now performing on levels at which they can be usefully employed in interconnected industrial processes. Not long ago, industrial robots were considered “lone wolves”, for example, setting welding spots on cars. Today, they can communicate with one another and automate the entire value chain, without human intervention. But production cannot be viewed as a closed circuit. Especially in Germany’s medium-sized industrial culture, production is not possible without independent suppliers. Germany has benefitted from it and has reached high levels of productivity. Having independent entrepreneurs as car seat- or muffler-manufacturers, for instance, they will by nature act economically. It is in these manufacturers’ own interest to optimize the intermediate step in the production, for which they are responsible. So, if many individual profit centers are bound together like beads on a string – optimal production is not the result of a “big umbrella strategy”. Their interaction with the other parts of the system is constantly re-balanced. For such actors, the new communication strategy – meant to convince them that “Industrie 4.0” is a good thing – seems strange. Entrepreneurs know what is best for their companies. Hannover Region offers the best examples of this successful collaboration. Many companies are working in the automotive sector, for example, as suppliers to Volkswagen and others. But similar structures can prove to be beneficial in medical devices or renewable energy here. The region offers its experience to individuals from outside who are interested. More information: Two risks At the same time, all parties are aware, that any kind of change also poses risks. But where are they in “Industrie 4.0”? Here, history provides an illuminating insight. Konrad Zuse, a German, developed the very first computer. Thus, we cannot say that Germany missed a trend with regard to that revolutionary technology. But who dominates today? Apple, Microsoft, Amazon and eBay - all US firms. Formerly small, innovative entrepreneurs with a good idea and perseverance have created products and companies that dominate the world. And why? Because, an innovative process cannot be ordered “from the outside”. After all, inventions “simply happen”. Government programs can indeed provide an impetus, but they should not patronize entrepreneurs and innovators in small and mediumsized enterprises. Bring players together! The IT sector, in particular, is full of such stories. Trendsetters of the past are now the standard-setters. And the term “standard” is a keyword for the second big risk. Each of us is familiar with the difficulty of differing software, for example between Microsoft and Apple. A highly networked process chain in the industry cannot tolerate inconsistencies, as we do when we are forced to use a graphically distorted presentation simply because it was created by a different program to that on the presenting computer. Co-operation requires standardization. Standardization is already so optimized, that identical engines are even installed by different car-manufacturers and in different models. Today’s automated process chains are still far from being a standard. Who can blame SME’s for being reluctant until an industry standard has been established? For the time being, it is too risky, for many suppliers, to focus on standards for a specific customer while another demands different ones. This is precisely the reason, why SMEs in particular stand hesitantly on the sidelines. “Industrie 4.0” aims at resolving this balancing act. Large companies must rely on SMEs and the latter’s leading role. It is not about small and big players; all must act on equal footing. Small and medium-sized enterprises should not be annoyed by this. The Economic Development Corporation hannoverimpuls is aware of its role as a mediator and actively accepts the tasks involved. With its large network, not only in the region but also internationally, it brings important players together, while always maintaining creative freedom. Photographs: teaser fotolia Dr. Christian Brömer, hannoverimpuls GmbH 42 f+h Intralogistics 2/2015

Product News Silverline container range with flexible partitions Flexibility is required as plastic containers are used to transport and store different goods. Thanks to the variety of partition options, the Silverline range of containers from Bekuplast that can be used in automatic small parts warehouses is a great solution for this type of storage. The flexible partition system enables containers to be individually split into partitions according to requirements. The sides of the containers have slots so that the flex dividers can be fixed in place. Stable partitions made of polystyrene are fitted into the slots. The partitions can therefore be fixed in place securely and slipping is impossible. Suitable inserts are also available for the container solutions depending on the relevant area of use. Volumetric force control from Cascade protects white goods Torque range of BMD Synchronous Motors increased to 45 Nm Bonfiglioli introduces six new sizes to its range of BMD synchronous motors. The range of brush motors covers the torque range of 1.7 to 45 Nm with supply voltages of up to 400 V. The sizes are available within a speed range of 1,500 to 6,000 rpm. The motors are equipped with different feedback options so that they can be adapted to applications such as resolver, EnDAT or hiperface protocols. The dimensions of the motors have been reduced to improve the torque density, dimensions and dynamics. The magnets that are used provide high acceleration values and high overload capacity without any risk of demagnetization. BMD servo motors are particularly suitable for use in the packaging, food and drink, and textile industry. IGZ is developing gesture control for production The volumetric force control (VFC) from Cascade automatically adjusts the force control based on the volume of the load. This ensures that damage, following an increased clamp force on the load following manual pressure control, can be reduced. The VFC calculates the seize of the load and adjusts the clamp force accordingly. The patented three finger arm design, six setting points at each arm, company-specific adjustable block system provided by the attachment manufacturer, and extendable arms ensure that the pressure is distributed evenly. The white goods clamp, including optional volumetric force control, meets the requirements for efficiency, speed, and protection when handling packaged goods. The radius of the cast corners of the arms also helps to protect the products. These are designed in such a way that any penetrating damage to the corners of the packaging, caused when the attachment closes, can be prevented. Topics familiar from Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES) such as transparency and traceability are increasingly being supplemented by machine integration and analysis of sensor data. One feature is the support of SAP MES processes through the use of camera-based gesture control for assembly processes. The new gesture-controlled production application pick-by-motion from SAP project specialist IGZ ensures a high level of reliability and correctness in removal of materials. Gesture detection is used for a plausibility check of the correct location for removing components, and also to acknowledge removal of material for assembly or various assembly steps with simple hand signs such as “thumbs up.” The system automatically checks whether the correct components are installed so the employee can concentrate on the assembly process. f+h Intralogistics 2/2015 43


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