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Top factory automation technologies

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Featuring the most advanced factory automation technologies that could impact manufacturing and create the factory of the future.

It is everyone’s wish to become Industry 4.0 ready and leverage the benefits arising out of Overall Equipment Efficiency (OEE) calculations, remote diagnostics, energy and condition monitoring and many other technologies. Take a look at the most advanced factory automation technologies used by Industry experts in their day-to-day activities.

OMRON’s mobile robots
Speaking on the top factory automation technologies, Sameer Gandhi, MD, OMRON Automation, India, says “One of the innovative offerings in OMRON’s all-encompassing portfolio is our range of Mobile robots. They are the world’s smartest and most productive autonomous intelligent vehicles. Designed to dramatically increase productivity in manufacturing and logistics operations, OMRON mobile robots automate the most demanding yet repetitive 24/7 tasks. It drastically reduces manual labour work and allows the employees to be more efficient, focusing on higher-level tasks that require more complex human skills. The navigation is entirely based on the natural features of the facility and the robots can be set up within an hour.”

Moreover Gandhi has also described about their IoT based solutions which helps creating connected shop floors, thus empowering manufacturers to make the best use of real-time sensor-based information in reducing downtime, decreasing the frequency of sudden failure (to a great extent), improving the efficiency of changeover and many more.

‘Total Traceability’: Solution for bringing major advancements
‘Total Traceability’ is another noteworthy solution bringing in significant advancements in the factory automation domain. Gandhi explains, “Traceability is the ability to trace and verify the history, location, or application of an item by means of documented recorded identification. Considering one defective product can bring humongous loss and setbacks to the credibility of a brand, the solution holds a lot of importance to ensure zero -defects manufacturing system. This attains more significance for the automotive industry where assembling of multiple complex components needs constant checking at every step and product-recalls are witnessed quite often.”

Gandhi adds, “Not only automotive, the technology has immense potential in other sectors too such as FMCG, Pharmaceuticals, Digital Equipment manufacturing including OEMs and part suppliers who have to share their production data to the manufacturers in real time. Companies adopting traceability not only actively participate in developing a sustainable and safe production process but also witness significant growth in their profit.”

B&R offers ‘Orange Box’
According to Ninad Deshpande, Head – Marketing, B&R Industrial Automation Pvt Ltd, “B&R’s Orange Box is versatile, flexible, modular, open solution for collecting, standardising and evaluating data in real time. If the requirements change, the Orange Box simply changes with them. Deshpande informs, The Orange Box allows machine operators to check relevant parameters on site and intervene immediately when necessary.”

The Orange Box lets manufacturers upgrade standalone machines to give them Industrial IoT capabilities. It is possible to equip the Orange Box with energy and condition monitoring. This reduces the cost of implementing and maintaining multiple systems and users can have an all-in-one solution. Deshpande states, “Improving OEE is a necessity from factories as even a minor improvement results in tremendous savings. With B&Rs Orange Box, these parameters are available to factory owners at their fingertips and can be viewed at any time with as possibility to compare different production lines, shifts or workdays.”

The SuperTrak transport system
Another recurring demand of factories is mass customisation with batch size 1 production. Deshpande explains, “The SuperTrak transport system from B&R enables advanced manufacturing concepts for flexible, efficient production at any batch size. Programming takes place in the automation studio software development environment. Consumers are willing to pay a premium for personalised products.”

At the same time, increasingly responsive production technology is making it possible to create them under mass production conditions without a corresponding increase in unit cost. For manufacturers, the resulting margin boost is an enticing prospect. Mass customisation requires modular machines to enable automatic adaptation of production to real-time demand. Deshpande informs, “B&R’s intelligent SuperTrak system is the reliable, industrial-grade transport solution for flexible production lines that enable mass customisation. All these aspects enable factories become smart. B&Rs unique propositions make it possible to make brownfield sites too Industry 4.0 ready in a cost effective method.”

New generation HMIs
Talking about the most advanced factory automation technology, Varun Arora, National Sales Manager, Exor India, says “As Exor is extensively working in developing new generation HMIs, we offer all kinds of visualisation solutions, ranging from budget critical HMIs to full featured HMIs which are fully compliant with IoT Industry 4.0 requirements.”

Arora informs, “If you aspire to implement an IIoT strategy, Exor will assist no matter the current stage of your organisation’s IIoT competence. If the IIoT business model is not ready yet, if what you need today is innovative, robust and beautiful HMI or PLC panels, Exor will supply such products.”

He further informs, “When your IIoT strategy is ready; your organisation will be able to go to market in reduced time. Because the only platform that you will need to implement the new business model will have already been used, understood and owned by your organisation.”

Mukesh Thakur, Assistant Manager– Sales & Marketing, Finder India Pvt Ltd shares few most advanced factory automation technology offered:
• Interposing relays with Universal AC/DC Input voltage which is very useful in the advanced factory automation where we do not know the different types of Digital Output Devices that may be connected from the field.
• Advance Warning system in SMPS Power Supplies, especially pre-thermal alarm to diagnose and rectify the abnormal rise of temperature within the SMPS due to overload or any other unwanted conditions.
• Wide range of powerful DC Solid State Switching Relays that can reduce unpredictable machine downtime due to mechanical wearing of contacts in the conventional solutions.
• Special Contactors with Auto-Manual Bypass Switch also helps a lot in managing the system availability in the case of failure in automated systems.
• Re-settable relays which allows the system users to address the critical failures.
• The much needed protection solutions to address the reliable operation of the factory automation communication bus system i.e. Surge Protection Devices for Ethernet, Profibus, Modbus etc.

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