The company describes it as “a revolutionary way to improve packaging processes”, and says it’s part of what it sees as a “smart moonitoring kit”.
Called “4.0 NOW Factory”, the sensor technology and dashboard represents how SICK can provide manufacturers greater visibility to their production processes, making it easier to implement improvements and new innovations.
Providing added flexibility in production and logistics has been made possible by sensor intelligence: programmable and self-learning cameras, reliable safety sensors for human-robot collaboration, and complete solutions for navigating autonomous guided vehicles.
All these devices are connected with one another via the cloud, implementing Industry 4.0 along the entire value-creation process.
Connecting production processes
The 4.0 NOW Factory is a concept where all production processes and sensor data can be connected into one modular, self-controlling production network.
Sensors and other technology can then be accessed easily via the 4.0 NOW Cockpit, a dashboard that can simulate sensors and provide a live view of the sensors at work.
Decentralized intelligence in the sensors (edge computing) forms the basis for flexible control of production processes in the smart factory.
Additional cloud intelligence in the form of data analyses and applications (apps) allow the use of self-learning mechanisms in the sensors, increasing their adaptability to production-related changes.
In an Industry 4.0 world, sensors from SICK are at the heart of machines and devices that exist at the edge of where data is created. With these sensors, some transmit data directly to a level where information is needed.
And, for other more complex scenarios, data collection devices can harvest data from multiple sensors. The data is then aggregated, filtered, and prepared to be transmitted to the level where information can be visualized.
This data generated by sensors could include product-related information (status of a batch process or count of product) or vision inspection information that provides quality-related data.
The concept of the 4.0 NOW Factory is applicable for production logistics, flexible production, track & trace technology, safety, and quality control.
And this is a proven concept as SICK’s own 4.0 NOW Factory opened in February 2019 in Freiburg, Germany.
It consists of 12 independent technology modules that are designed to efficiently product seven SICK product families with over 600,000 variants.
Limitless data visibility
Logistical processes in the smart factory are just as flexible. With the 4.0 NOW Cockpit, manufacturers gain connectivity to sensors via the TDC-E Gateway that can then enable them to interact with the installed applications and transfer data to the dashboard.
The supply chain is taken over by driverless transport systems (whose autonomous navigation is shown live) together with collision prevention solutions.
The data from all the sensors in the smart factory are evaluated on a large display giving visitors a constant overview of logistical and production processes as well as key performance indicators.
At PackExpo 2019, SICK is providing an in-depth look at its approach to Industry 4.0, flexible production, and intelligent dashboards in its booth, #LS-6419.