To avoid the possibility of engineers glazing over at the mention of Industry 4.0, “there is no better way to describe the potential rewards of the concept than by illustrating that better profitability and improved growth can only be achieved with customised digital manufacturing solutions”, according to Starrag CEO, Dr Christian Walti.
“And with Starrag’s Integrated Production System (IPS), users have available a modular solution that can be aligned with specific requirements, allowing individuals to effectively select their own à la carte solutions to realise the benefits of Industry 4.0 through automating and digitising their production.”
The IPS platform aligns with Starrag’s claim of ‘Engineering precisely what you value’ and it can offer functionality to meet individual tasks, including: Internet of Things (IoT): Cloud-based solutions help users analyse and optimise processes more specifically to further increase productivity; Human-Machine Interface (HMI): With touch sensors, the user interface can be used confidently on the shopfloor, even by operators wearing work gloves; Machine Production System (MPS): This monitors production in real time and protects people and the machine against incorrect operation and collisions; Efficiency control: With a number of measures (e.g. reduction in friction due to the use of high-quality drive elements and energy recovery), the holistic concept reduces energy consumption by more than 20%; Process Quality Control (PQS): A chatter monitor warns of dangerous vibrations when machining; Machine Qualification System (MQS): An integrated fingerprint module informs the user about machine condition and, where necessary, displays the corresponding maintenance instructions on the HMI.
At the heart of IPS is a cell controller, developed by Starrag, which monitors machines and can guide and control the entire production process – in conjunction with a higher-level ERP system where applicable. The cell controller also ensures digital transparency by visualising system status, for example.
Developed in-house by Starrag, the cell controller is an open system that can link different system components, making it a very practical and cost-effective tool for customer-orientated Industry 4.0 solutions.
“IPS not only enables users to control and monitor their Starrag machines – stand-alone units through to flexible manufacturing systems and complete production lines – to ensure reliable production,” said Dr Walti, “but the technology also enables us to support them in the complex task of using data in a networked production world to obtain added value.
“Starrag has been using IPS components to develop wide-ranging Industry 4.0 solutions for a number of customers, including one company that invested in a flexible manufacturing system of six Ecospeed F2060 machining centres served by a rail-guided pallet shuttle system – and it is achieving unmatched levels of effectiveness and efficiency.”