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LEAD Innovation Blog

Read our latest articles on innovation management and innovation in a wide range of industries.

Date: 03-Oct-2018
Posted by: Stefan Poglitsch

How Smart Automation, Intertool and C4I made Industry 4.0 tangible

 

At the trio Smart Automation, Intertool and C41, which took place in mid-May 2018 in Vienna, the exhibitors tried to make the Industry 4.0 and its possibilities tangible to over 20,000 visitors. There were numerous showcases about Smart Factory, networked products and new business models to marvel at.

In mid-May 2018, Messe Wien became the focal point of Austrian industry. From 15 to 18 May, three trade fairs - Smart Automation Austria, Intertool and C4I (Connectivity for Industry) - took place at the Vienna Exhibition Centre, presenting countless industry innovations and revealing important trends in this sector. The joint holding of Austria's only manufacturing technology trade fair for the metalworking sector (Intertool), the trade fair for industrial automation technology (Smart Automation Austria) and the new platform for the digitization of the industrial value chain C41 already shows a central development:


Manufacturing, automation and networking are growing together

The industry is developing in huge steps towards Industry 4.0, in which the most diverse areas are connected by digitization. Alexander Eigner, Category Manager at the organizer Reed Exhibitions, explains that the Intertool and Smart Automation Austria trade fair duo had already had a lively exchange between the events and emphasised: "The idea of including IT in the trade fair platform with its own event came from the market. In general, classic production methods, automation and networking are converging on the production lines. This opens up new opportunities in three respects:

  • In the Smart Factory, a higher product quality is achieved, there is less waste, production line downtimes are avoided thanks to predictive maintenance and it is possible to offer batch size 1 at a cost comparable to mass production.
  • Digitization enables the industry to produce intelligent and networked products and thus create added value for its customers.
  • Thanks to the digital possibilities, the industry is able to open up completely new business models. Here, for example, the sharing economy plays a central role with the trend to use (rent) things instead of own (buy) them.

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Innovations show new opportunities for industry 4.0

The exhibitors (250 at Intertool, 160 at Smart Automation and 44 at C4I) illustrated practical implementations from all three areas to over 20,000 visitors with their innovations presented at the trade fairs. Here you will find some exemplary innovations with which at least one, but often also more of the three opportunities mentioned above can be used:

 

  • When the robot shakes hands with the human
When we talk about robots, it is usually in connection with the replacement of human labour. By 2055, half of all working hours could be automated, calculates a current McKinsey study. Festo presented its bionic Cobot, an example of how humans and robots literally work hand in hand. This pneumatic lightweight robot is based on a human arm. Because the Cobot can perform flexible and sensitive movements, it is also suitable for direct cooperation with people. If the pneumatic arm collides with a human, for example, it gives way. Because the device is very light, it poses no danger to humans. The robot can therefore be used in production without a protective cage. Festo itself sees great potential for the robot arm in a wide variety of industries: innovation could relieve humans of monotonous, stupid and even dangerous activities. Schunk's intelligent gripper arm is designed for direct cooperation with people. The built-in sensors allow the gripping process to be individually adapted to the respective situation in real time. The YuMi presented by ABB is also designed for collaboration with human colleagues. According to the developer, the two-arm robot is particularly suitable for small assemblies or the inspection of components and is thus predestined for use in the electronics industry but also for the production of watches, toys or automotive components.

 

  • Travelling to the IoT world on the Lego train
Cubido business solutions from Leonding presented a showcase at C4I that provided a very vivid insight into the world of Internet of Things from the perspective of the industry. On plastic rails and with a Lego male as locomotive driver, the railway set made its circles there. The mini train had a series of sensors on board, which collected data such as speed, condition of the doors (open/closed) and coupling of the wagons to the locomotive (yes/no). In Cubibo's "IoT-Train" a mini-computer works, which reads data from the sensors, preprocesses them and then transfers them to a cloud. The sensor values could then be (almost) visualized in real time on a dashboard. Cubibo's Showcase demonstrated how sensors can collect values, send them to a central system for further processing and evaluation and then visualize them or use them further. The application possibilities are enormous and range from the intelligent refrigerator to the connected car to complex industrial plants with integrated sensor networks.

 

  • Individual products from mass production
Mass production has made many products affordable for the majority. An individual handmade automobile would simply be unaffordable for the general population. Thanks to Henry Ford, almost everyone living in an industrial nation can afford their own car. But we are all individuals and want to be different from our fellow human beings - even if only a little bit. The desire for unique pieces lies dormant in each of us. Digitization makes it possible to produce genuine individual pieces using resources comparable to mass production. Phoenix Contact demonstrates how this is practically possible using a laser engraving unit. The device manufactured by the company's own mechanical engineering department can engrave objects of various shapes and sizes with individual text down to a single piece. The laser is also capable of marking a wide variety of materials. The Laser Engraving Unit thus illustrated two important goals of Industry 4.0 to the visitors: When it comes to the objects to be processed, the device is highly flexible. At the same time, it can produce products in batch size 1.

 

Conclusion: How Smart Automation, Intertool and C4I madeIndustry 4.0 tangible

At the trade fairs Intertool, Smart Automation Austria and C4I all companies were present, which are well known in the domestic industry. No wonder, because the digital transformation of industrial production requires a networked interaction of all components, as one exhibitor put it. It is now clear to anyone involved in digitization that more will come out than the buzzer of the parts. What, nobody knows for sure. After all, industry is only at the threshold of this revolution.

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Stefan Poglitsch

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