27 | N O V E M B E R 2 0 1 8
Asia Pacific THE INDUSTRY MAGAZINE FOR ASIA
FLUKE PROCESS INSTRUMENTS TEMPERATURE MONITORING OF HAZARDOUS WASTE INCINERATOR
9 INTERROLL AND FORTNA MAKE MR PRICE’S HIGH-PERFORMANCE LOGISTICS CENTER IN SOUTH AFRICA MOVE
12 KENNAMETAL’S NEWEST HELICAL MILLING CUTTER
LEUZE ELECTRONIC SENSORS FOR OPTICAL TRACKING
27 | Industry Asia Pacific | November 2018
THE INDUSTRY MAGAZINE FOR ASIA
FLUKE PROCESS INSTRUMENTS
9 BECKER INTERNATIONAL
Contributing Editors: • Emmanuel AHOSSI • Nessren BAZERBACHI • Romain CLASS • Maria DE PABLOS • Anna HARDALOUPAS • Sofiane JEDIDI • Laura MUTTO • Marie RESPINGUE • Christophe VERGUET
Send your press releases to: email@example.com To receive Industry Asia Pacific magazine free of charge, please subscribe online at www.industry-asia-pacific.com Industry Asia Pacific is the English-language magazine for engineers, published by INDUPORTALS MEDIA PUBLISHING. It contains the latest product and company news for industrial markets. Industry Asia Pacific edits its articles with the greatest of care, however we cannot guarantee the accuracy of the information presented in them. Our teams disclaim all responsibility concerning the content of this media or how it might be used.
THE FUTURE’S BRIGHT
Mitsubishi Electric specialises in practical R&D, where everyone can appreciate the benefits.
Mitsubishi Electric invests substantial amounts of time and resources in R&D activities to develop future technologies and products.
ome discoveries and innovations are incorporated subtly over many years, while others lead to radical new breakthroughs that disrupt existing markets. But what of today? What new technologies are available right now that can help advance the manufacturing operations of 2018? This article examines some recent developments of the R&D teams at Mitsubishi Electric, such as a high-performance database that can reduce data storage space by 98.5%, a huge benefit in a manufacturing age increasingly driven by process data collection and analysis. Another exciting development is a concept able to miniaturise the artificial intelligence (AI) algorithm to the point that individual devices can benefit from AI and local ‘deep learning’ processes. The future is bright indeed.
Data storage in the IoT Among the overlooked challenges of the Internet of Things (IoT) is the large amount of captured data that has to be stored somewhere. Over the years industry has seen megabytes run into gigabytes, and gigabytes turn into terabytes. And it will not be long before engineers are routinely talking about petabytes, exabytes and zettabytes. 27 | Industry Asia Pacific | November 2018
One issue with this rapidly expanding data capacity is the cost for storage, back-up and keeping it available 24/7. To imagine the scale of the challenge, consider how many sensors, data points and memory stores there are in a typical factory. A single production line can have thousands of sensors, each one generating a data reading every 100ms or less. Over a couple of years, this could add up to hundreds of terabytes of data. Multiply this figure by the number of production lines – and sites – and it is not long before a hefty monthly bill starts arriving from the cloud provider simply for storing data. With the aim of addressing this issue, Mitsubishi Electric R&D has developed a high-performance database with the ability to reduce the required storage space by 98.5%. Significantly, because the volume is reduced, the load time for the database is also decreased by around 98%, which in turn means the search time reduces accordingly. All of these results can be achieved using a standard 2-CPU server with 4GB of main memory, an outcome that emphasises practical R&D at its best, where everyone can appreciate the benefit.
Mitsubishi Electric’s ‘Maisart’ means that individual devices can benefit from AI and local deep learning processes.
96.7% faster, which means this technology can be applied to faster and more demanding tasks.
Vision-guided robots are a recent example of where Mitsubishi Electric R&D has made a significant contribution to advancing real-life industrial operations.
Artificial intelligence gets real From blockbuster movies to the doom-laden predictions of sci-fi writers, AI is both scary and hugely exciting. Much of what has materialised to date has been impressive, but of little practical benefit, primarily because of two key issues. The first is the tethering of a super computer: if industry really needs that much computing power, it is hard to see how AI will be usable. The second is the realisation that AI, just like a human baby, needs to be taught or shown how to learn some basic rules around the task at hand.
In the past, deep learning algorithms were expensive and IT-heavy. However, the new automated deep learning technology from Mitsubishi Electric is a world first and critical to future AI deployment without relying on expert knowledge. In fact, the training element of the AI is now
Proven track record Of course, Mitsubishi Electric has registered many notable technological breakthroughs over the years. Take interactive vision-guided robots in the postal industry, for example. The surge in global parcel traffic has been spurred in recent times by the success of online retail giants such as Amazon. Here, the desire for total automation has been a long-held goal. However, the main challenge has been devising a robot capable of picking a seemingly infinite number of different package sizes and shapes. With this issue in mind, the Amazon Picking Challenge was born, whereby robots are tasked with picking a wide variety of small, large, soft, hard, fragile, robust, light and heavy products – and placing them in a packing carton without mis-picking or damaging the goods. Mitsubishi Electric’s MELFA 3D vision for robots proved to be an essential enabler of this process, allowing the robot to ‘see’ what it wants to pick. The system can even enable robots to quickly and reliably pick products that are dispersed randomly in a pick bin. In 2014, this particular Mitsubishi technology won a coveted R&D100 award. This example, like many others of yesterday, today and tomorrow, means that Mitsubishi Electric R&D successes not only lead the world in terms of technology, but deliver real benefits and create new automation solutions for a brighter future. Moving forward, industry expects an enhanced human, machine and AI environment that will deliver many positive benefits for all concerned. Imagination, it would appear, is the only limitation.
To turn AI into a practical solution for today, Mitsubishi Electric R&D has been focused on both of these key issues. The result is Maisart (Mitsubishi Electric’s AI creates the Stateof-the-ART in technology). Maisart has miniaturised the AI algorithm to the point where it can be deployed on a single chip embedded in other products. This capability means that individual devices can benefit from AI and local ‘deep learning’ processes, while AI located in cloud environments can be used to co-ordinate between those devices. Think of it as applying AI on a scalable base: machine to line; line to factory; factory to enterprise.
In a manufacturing environment, for example, robots could be learning new tasks in minutes rather than being taught manually over many hours, simply because the number of trial operations and calculations can be reduced by 98% or more. Maisart-based FA solutions will soon become increasingly common, as will AI deployment in everyday products such as air conditioners and other increasingly intelligent appliances.
http://us.mitsubishielectric.com/en/ 27 | Industry Asia Pacific | November 2018
FISCHER CONNECTORS DEMONSTRATES ITS LONGTERM VISION FOR CONNECTIVITY WITH BREAKTHROUGH TECHNOLOGICAL PARTNERSHIPS AND CROSS-MARKET CUSTOMER APPLICATIONS AT ELECTRONICA
Fischer Connectors, the global provider of ultra-reliable and high-performance connectivity solutions, continues to push the boundaries of innovation in rugged miniaturization, high-speed data transmission, sealing, wearability and the Internet of Things (IoT).
t the biennial tradeshow Electronica (Munich, 13-16 Nov. 2018), the company showcases on booth no. 219 (hall B2) how it is reimagining connectivity with its customers thanks to a breakthrough and forward-looking technological partnerships with Wearable Technologies Ltd. and SolarStratos, as well as cross-market customer applications in the medical, security, industrial, unmanned vehicles, marine and miniature computing fields.
Jonathan Brossard, Fischer Connectors Group’s CEO, explains: “The electronics world is changing at an incredible speed, and the connectivity solutions that make electronic ecosystems work efficiently, reliably and safely are instrumental in driving the technological innovations that shape our world. Our long-term vision for connectivity is based on our sense of responsibility as a global provider of pioneering and ultra-reliable connectivity solutions that are easy to use and to integrate into our customers’ devices. We are showcasing at Electronica examples of how Fischer Connectors has helped turn ambitious ideas into solutions that shape the future.”
In addition to an array of assembled and integrated solutions used in customer devices for a wide range of high-tech industries, visitors of Fischer Connectors’ booth can discover some of the most innovative applications on the market today engineered to meet wearability and IoT as well as high-speed data transmission requirements—two of the hottest trends in the electronics industry. 27 | Industry Asia Pacific | November 2018
The uniqueness of Wearable Technologies Ltd’s smart worker platform is their dashboard which provides real-time, historic and predictive analytics data from a multitude of applications for a specified workforce in the field. Fischer Connectors’ solution plays a key role in this platform as its Freedom connectors are directly integrated into a wide range of small and costeffective portable and body-worn sensor devices that can be plugged directly on the worker’s garment.
The entire product portfolio of Fischer Connectors showcased at Electronica includes two of the company’s newest and most innovative solutions in these fields: the breakthrough plug & use Fischer FreedomTM Series launched last June, and the new configurations of the ultra-miniature signal & power Fischer MiniMaxTM Series compliant with the latest data protocols USB 3.0, Ethernet and HDMI. Visitors can also talk to Fischer Connectors’technological partners who will be joining them on the booth showcasing their pioneering work in:
Vision and innovation come with clear communications and insights: • Attendees to the electronica Embedded Platforms Conference (eEPC) can learn more about connectivity trends in the presentation given by Fischer Connectors’ Research & Innovation Manager Jean-Marie Buchilly: - “Connectivity industry: a key innovation driver in the wearability of electronic devices and in the Internet of Things,” Thursday 15 Nov., 10:20-11:00, ICM—International Congress Center • At the Electrical Connectors’ Forum, Fischer Connectors USA’s National Sales Manager David Ptacek will explain how the technological innovations brought by the breakthrough plug & use Fischer FreedomTM Series facilitate integration, maximize usability and optimize cable management for a wide variety of applications, especially for portable and body-worn ones and smart garments for industrial workers.
• The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and wearable solutions with Mark Bernstein, CEO of Wearable Technologies Ltd (WTL) from the UK. WTL’s connected smart worker platform uses the plug & use Fischer FreedomTM Series in smart garments for industrial workers. These garments have an array of sensors and devices that enable real-time monitoring and data analysis of multiple workers’ health, well-being, and exposure to potential hazards and dangers, such as noise, gas, vibration, proximity, plus biometrics sensors, as well as radios, GPS, etc. The data is collected centrally and sent to their dashboard which displays data from all specified workers simultaneously and in real-time. WTL will be running continuously, live demos of its IIoT smart worker ecosystem and dashboard on the booth.
• Electrical solar aviation with Raphaël Domjan, founder and pilot of SolarStratos. Fischer Connectors is an official partner and proud provider of the mission-critical connectivity solutions for this Swiss project which aims to shape the future of solar-powered aviation by sending the first manned solar plane to the stratosphere. SolarStratos will organize daily live demos of its flight simulator on the booth.
>>> 27 | Industry Asia Pacific | November 2018
Fischer Connectors is an official partner of “SolarStratos, To the Edge of Space”.
Jonathan Brossard, Fischer Connectors Group's CEO and EY Switzerland’s Entrepreneur Of The Year 2018 finalist in the Family Business category.
Mark Bernstein, CEO of Wearable Technologies Ltd.
Raphaël Domjan, founder and pilot of SolarStratos.
- “Breakthrough connectivity innovations for wearable, smart garments and IIoT (Industrial Internet of Things)”, Thursday 15 Nov., 16:30-17:00, Hall C2.209
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Jean-Marie Buchilly, Fischer Connectors’ Research & Innovation Manager and speaker at the electronica Embedded Platforms Conference (eEPC) on “Connectivity industry: a key innovation driver in the wearability of electronic devices and in the Internet of Things”.
David Ptacek, Fischer Connectors USA’s National Sales Manager and speaker at the Electrical Connectors’ Forum on “Breakthrough connectivity innovations for wearables, smart garments and IIoT (Industrial Internet of Things”.
TEMPERATURE MONITORING OF HAZARDOUS WASTE INCINERATOR
The thermal imaging system detects refractory wear and allows extended maintenance intervals.
Compiling thermal images of objects that move at extremely slow speeds is a challenge in its own right.
luke Process Instruments has solved this measuring task for a chemical waste incineration plant. Hazardous wastes are combusted in a rotary kiln that turns at 4 to 6 revolutions per hour. Over time, the refractory brick protecting the kiln wall degrades and has to be replaced. This used to be done in regular intervals with a big safety margin to prevent serious damage to the incinerator or even leakage of hazardous materials.
Fluke Process Instruments supplied a Raytek CS210 infrared line-scanning system that is able to synchronize thermal images at speeds as low as 2 revolutions per hour. It detects temperature deviations across the entire kiln shell and provides the plant operator with information about the state of the incinerator. The kiln shell temperature ranges between 100 °C and 500 °C. Hotspots point to refractory loss or wear. The installation of the monitoring system has resulted in significant savings due to an extended operational life of the refractory and reduced downtimes. firstname.lastname@example.org www.fluke.com
27 | Industry Asia Pacific | November 2018
SCHLEGELGIESSE EXPANDS BY ACQUIRING REGUITTI
SchlegelGiesse, the International Division of London quoted Tyman plc, has acquired Reguitti, the Italianbased manufacturer of handles and assorted accessories for doors and windows, along with its sister brands Tropex Design and Jatec.
his strategic acquisition, which is immediately effective, extends the SchlegelGiesse portfolio of high-quality hardware solutions to timber, aluminium and PVC internal and external doors and windows.
“The acquisition of Reguitti represents a powerful opportunity for SchlegelGiesse to significantly enhance our all in one sealing and hardware portfolio with solutions designed for any type of door and window,” explained Peter Santo, CEO of SchlegelGiesse. “I am confident the strategic synergies created through this acquisition will allow us to extend our product offer to our existing clients, to serve a wider range of customers and facilitate the continued development of innovative, aesthetically engineered products for the industry.”
“We are delighted to join such well-regarded brands. Our vast catalog of handles and accessories will be available to a larger worldwide client base. Both SchlegelGiesse and Reguitti are ready to consolidate their presence in established as well as in emerging markets. We are proud that an Italian company has achieved this goal, which we believe is a success also for all those who work there” added Marco Pialorsi, Reguitti CEO. SchlegelGiesse specialises in designing integrated hardware and sealing solutions that improve the performance, the reliability and the installation speed of doors and windows. Its commercial network spans five continents and over 100 countries, with Europe, Latin America, Australia, New Zealand, China, ASEAN, the Middle East and India among its primary markets. Both companies will continue to conduct “business as usual” while ensuring that the combined customer base has full access to the synergy opportunities created through the acquisition. www.schlegelgiesse.com
27 | Industry Asia Pacific | November 2018
GAS-TIGHT BLOWERS FOR ADDITIVE MANUFACTURING METHODS
Figure 1: Compact gas-tight Becker VASF 1.50 side channel blower with integrated frequency converter.
Figure 2: For greater inert gas volumes: Gas-tight Becker Variair SV 300 side channel blower.
In selective laser melting (SLM) a stable inert gas atmosphere must be ensured within the built chamber of the machine. A specified temperature range is also essential. Only under these conditions can high quality components be produced. It is further necessary to remove metal splash and smoke developing during the melting process.
t formnext (Hall 3.0, stand H 69) Gebr. Becker GmbH will be presenting two blower types developed precisely for these and similar applications. The key difference to other series is the gas-tight design which permits the precise control of the gas flow as well as the removal of contamination from the process. In combination with also gas-tight heat exchangers from the programme of Gebr. Becker they also create the conditions for an exact temperature control of the additive manufacturing process.
Both blowers are designed for 24/7 industrial operation and proven worldwide in numerous demanding applications. Due to their gas-tight design they are suitable for the requirements of additive manufacturing in high-grade atmospheres. www.becker-international.com
For plants with a small built chamber the gas-tight and speed-controlled VASF side channel blowers of size 1.50 are ideal (figure 1). They are of a highly compact construction and can be easily integrated in the plants, enabling the flow management of the inert gas in the closed circuit and low energy operation as required.
For larger plants in additive manufacturing and the correspondingly higher volume flows of inert gas the gas-tight side channel blower VARIAIR SV 300 is used (figure 2). Here too, the speed-controlled energy-efficient drive enables the delivery rate to be adapted to the actual requirements.
27 | Industry Asia Pacific | November 2018
INTERROLL AND FORTNA MAKE MR PRICE’S HIGHPERFORMANCE LOGISTICS CENTER IN SOUTH AFRICA MOVE
Mr Price Group Limited contracted system integrator Fortna Group to set up a central logistics center in Durban, South Africa. The conveyor lines installed in the new 60,000-square-meter facility are based on the Modular Conveyor Platform (MCP) from Interroll.
r Price is a South Africa-based supplier of highquality apparel, homeware and activewear. The company sells its portfolio through its own stores as well as franchises and through online channels in Africa and Australia. The origins of Mr Price go back to 1885; the company has existed in its present form since 1987. To enable further growth, Mr Price built a new central material handling center in Durban to replace two existing facilities. The goal was to find a scalable and holistic solution based on open standards which helps optimize processes and at the same time is to the greatest degree future-proof.
System integrator Fortna Group was selected to develop and build this material handling system. When searching for an optimal solution, Fortna, in close collaboration with experts from Mr Price, first reviewed a wide range of approaches and technologies, including visits to selected reference projects. Based on the findings, the decision was made to build a completely new solution using the market’s best available products. Due to the project’s complexity, attention was paid to the local presence of contracted partners. As a supplier of conveyor lines, Interroll was selected. Interroll has been permanently present with a South Africa subsidiary for more than 20 years.
The distribution center in Durban encompasses a total area of more than 60,000 square meters and offers storage capacity for more than 24,000 pallets. Every minute, 250 cartons are moved. The zero-pressure-accumulation conveyors use the highly flexible and efficient MCP with integrated RollerDrive and MultiControl technology from Interroll. Werner Pelser, Group Logistics Director at Mr Price Group, explained the group’s choice of partners. 27 | Industry Asia Pacific | November 2018
“We have put the infrastructure in place that can take Mr Price forward and can continue the growth curve that it had in the last 28 years. Since this consolidation project puts previously two facilities into one facility, we wanted to go into this project with a partner that has done this already in other places,” he said. “Linked to that is obviously the equipment that we use in the facility. There, we chose particularly the best of breed equipment suiting the best breed of prices.” www.interroll.com
MORE INFORMATION 27 | Industry Asia Pacific | November 2018
SECO JABRO®-MINI JM500 DELIVERS VISIBLE IMPROVEMENTS FOR MICROMACHINING
With the Seco Jabro®-Mini JM500 line of more than 180 micro end mill products, production facilities effectively and reliably machine small and nano-sized parts that are often too small for the machining operation to be easy to see.
he end mills ensure process control along with predictable cutting-tool performance for these challenging micro applications, typically found in demanding industries such as aerospace, medical and 3C (computers, consumer electronics, communications).
The optimized grade, geometry and coating of the Jabro®Mini JM500 line generate outstanding surface finishes on parts made from diverse materials, including steel, stainless steel, heat-resistant super alloys and titanium. The geometries incorporate 30-degree helixes and 3-degree rakes, offered in two, three and four-flute versions of torical and ball-nose styles. An all-round carbide grade with polished SIRA coating helps these tools further excel in machining the targeted tough materials at the lowest possible cost per edge.
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Jabro®-Mini JM500 end mills come in DMM 4mm and DMM 6mm shank diameters, seven different overhang lengths from 2 to 20* DC, and in 0.2 mm to 3 mm flute diameters. With such a wide selection, users can separate part processing into stages and use the shortest-possible tool overhangs at each stage to minimize the risk of tool deflection, potentially saving up to 50 percent of machining time and increasing feed rates. www.secotools.com
EFFICIENT MOTORS FOR THE PROCESSING INDUSTRY: ECONOMICAL AND POWERFUL
Energy saving smooth IE4 synchronous motors from NORD are highly efficient and meet the most stringent energy regulations – and thanks to PMSM technology, also in the partial load and speed ranges.
Whether in agitators, conveyor systems, intralogistics or the food industry – electric motors by NORD DRIVESYSTEMS can be found wherever high performance is required. The drive specialist offers a wide range of robust, reliable and highly efficient motors. This helps save energy and operating costs.
rive systems count as the main consumers of energy in industry and consume up to 70 percent of the total energy required. NORD DRIVESYSTEMS manufactures energy-saving three-phase motors of classes IE1, IE2, IE3, and IE4. As they offer considerably higher efficiencies than conventional motors, considerable energy savings can be achieved, and operating costs can be reduced.
Due to its hygienic, easily washable surface, the washdown version, as a smooth motor, is ideally suited for use in the food and beverage industry. NORD smooth motors generate less heat and have a longer operating life than previous normal motors. The IE3/IE4 motors have a significantly extended operating range, which means that
The IE4 synchronous motors are particularly economical. The use of permanent magnets in the rotor makes these motors extremely efficient. Thanks to this technology, this high efficiency remains unchanged, even during partial load operation and at low speeds – ideal for fluctuating loads due to different products or batch sizes. NORD IE4 motors are used throughout the world, particularly in intralogistics (e.g. in post distribution centres and airports) as well as in pumps. The NORD product range comprises synchronous motors with powers from 0.75 to 5.5 kW, and asynchronous motors with powers from 0.12 to 55 kW. ATEX versions are also available.
NORD motors offer high performance at low energy consumption. They are robust, efficient and reliable and can be combined with all NORD gear units. In addition, they offer a high power density, high torques and a high overload capacity of up to 300 percent. Due to their compact design, they also can be easily integrated into confined spaces. NORD motors come with many options and in numerous versions.
no safety reserves, or lower safety reserves need to be taken into account for the design of the drive unit. The robust aluminium motor housing has protection class IP 69K and can also be pressure cleaned. As an option, the innovative nsd tupH surface treatment is available.
27 | Industry Asia Pacific | November 2018
E-F@CTORY IN ACTION
The introduction of a human element to previously automated assembly lines has helped the Kani factory react to changes in product demand.
The application of e-F@ctory at Mitsubishi Electric’s Kani manufacturing facility, part of its Nagoya Works, Japan, has led to a number of hugely beneficial outcomes. For instance, by redesigning the process and reintegrating a human element where there was once 100% automation, a single line that previously occupied 280sqm has been reduced to a cell of just 44.1sqm. This 84% reduction in space means that the productivity of each square metre of production hall had been increased through greater utilisation.
itsubishi Electric’s Kani factory, which produces motor starters and contactors, was facing a number of significant challenges, not least the sheer number of product variations and possible configurations in its product range – some 14,000 in fact. Demand from customers for greater choice had served to dilute the volumes of each particular product, despite overall product quantities increasing substantially.
Automation not always the answer In the past, manual production at the Kani factory had given way to totally automated assembly lines, which were ideal for mass production with few product variations where high yields could be realised at high speed. However, one problem lay with the fact that many individual components were required to be in stock and ready for the manufacturing process – without which the lines would not be able to run for any appreciable length of time.
For various reasons, substantial numbers of assembly lines had been optimised to produce a limited range of products, and these would stand still when components ran out. In such a scenario it became difficult and uneconomical to produce small batches. Overcoming the issue The solution was to employ engineering know-how built up over many years and combine this with a vision 27 | Industry Asia Pacific | November 2018
NEWS Redesigning the process has led to 84% more floor space at the Kani factory.
to cause an issue, but enough that the engineers were dissatisfied with the quality level being achieved. Conversely, the automation of some tasks which had, in the past, seemed impossible, now looked possible through a combination of technologies. An example of this thinking concerned the misalignment of certain screws during the assembly process. The automation system, unaware of the misalignment, would try to insert the screw and cause damage to the entrance of the hole. Two technologies helped to overcome this problem: the automatic alignment of robots; and combining rotational drives for inserting the screws using torque sensors. As a result, the hole can now be located easily and aligned correctly every time. Moreover, the torque sensor confirms the absence of misalignment and that the screw is tightened to the correct level. The increased use of vision systems, checking for correct assembly and alignment, has also helped to increase the number of right-first-time products. A further, simpler idea was to etch a matrix code on the body of each product and track it through the various stages. Now, as the product arrives at a workstation, its code is read and the appropriate processes and parts applied. At the end of the manufacturing cycle, each product then has a traceable manufacturing history, making it entirely possible to track the history of individual issues.
of integrated manufacturing – known as the Mitsubishi Electric e-F@ctory concept. In tandem, existing technology and third-party relationships were utilised through the e-F@ ctory Alliance, CLPA and other collaborative engineering groups. Put simply, the objective was to perfect the ‘art of manufacturing’ or, as it is known in Japan, ‘monozukuri’. So, where to start? The major challenge was to find the root cause of any inconsistencies. This task involved several approaches, from analysing existing data or collecting new data sets for fresh eyes to review, to looking for links between data that on the surface could appear unlinked. This factor is related to the first principles of IIoT or Industry 4.0. Studying existing processes, as well as the methodology, revealed that natural, normal, organic growth in the production process had inadvertently led to inefficiencies.
Further observations revealed that the automated parts feeding of some larger components not only created a bottleneck, but led to the parts feeders consuming large volumes of space which could, under specific conditions, result in minor damage to the components. Not enough
The end result, much to the satisfaction of the Mitsubishi Electric team at the Kani factory, is effective optimisation of both machine and human resources, as well as the production process and space – a true productivity gain. Growing the e-F@ctory story While many in engineering are familiar with Japanese manufacturing mantras as Kaizen, Toyota’s 7 principles and Just In Time, few people outside Asia have experienced the e-F@ctory concept. However, as can be seen at the Kani factory, by learning more about Mitsubishi Electric e-F@ ctory, manufacturers can achieve their own smart factory concepts – whether they are called Industry 4.0, IIoT or ‘Made in China 2025’.
Challenging the assumptions Resolving this issue at the Kani factory of Mitsubishi Electric led to a re-evaluation of the need of 100% automated lines, which were not necessarily the most efficient. Restoring some human elements could potentially reduce manufacturing anomalies.
Smaller area, greater efficiency By redesigning the process and reintegrating the human element, a single line, which comprised two 35m-long segments occupying some 280sqm, has been reduced to a cell of just 44.1sqm. This 84% reduction in space means that the productivity of each square metre of production hall has been increased through greater utilisation. Even though a single new cell cannot produce the same volume and speed of units as the original fully automated line, it is now possible to deploy up to 6.3 cells in the same space. In turn, total productivity density is much higher thanks to three key factors: a wider variety of products can be manufactured in smaller batches; one stoppage does not halt the whole of production; and the total number of production lines has increased.
27 | Industry Asia Pacific | November 2018
PARTNERSHIP BETWEEN BOEING PORTLAND AND HAIMER INTENSIFIES WITH COLLABORATIVE MEMBERSHIP AT OMIC R&D
Brings total OMIC R&D partners to 20 at its Scappoose, Oregon facility.
he Oregon Manufacturing Innovation Center Research and Development (OMIC R&D) continues to grow a strong membership base with the addition this month of HAIMER, a world market leading German tooling company in the field of tool holding, shrinking, balancing and presetting. With a total now of seventeen manufacturing industry partners and three Oregon public universities, the Scappoose, Oregon (USA) based R&D facility continues to build a world-class operation to develop advanced metals manufacturing technologies through its collaborative research and development activities.
Through this partnership, Boeing—with its center of excellence and main production plant for heavy metal machining in Portland, Oregon—is intensifying its strategic partnership with HAIMER by sponsoring a joint membership at OMIC R&D. The partnership between Boeing and Haimer reaches back more than 10 years when HAIMER’s Safe-Lock™ pull out protection system became a true game changer at Boeing. With one of the largest titanium machining shops in the world, Boeing Portland has set the standard for cutting tools and tool holder applications for difficult to machine materials. The partnership will be strategically strengthened 27 | Industry Asia Pacific | November 2018
by HAIMER’s investment and support as a new member at OMIC R&D. Due to its technology advantages, the Haimer Safe-Lock™ system has become the Boeing Portland standard for roughing in their milling operations. Haimer implemented an open licensing policy where additional American and other cutting tool makers offer this technology as a standard solution which are widely used in the Boeing machining operations. In fact, the Boeing Company has also received an IP, patent and trade mark license from Haimer to be able to quickly respond to their machining needs for this innovative technology. Prior to implementing Safe-Lock™ in their production, Boeing was constantly facing the challenge of preventing the cutting tool from the pull-out which potentially created very expensive scrap. Over the last 10 years, since implementing Safe-Lock™, they haven’t had a single tool pull-out incident for their high value components—thus avoiding any sort of expensive scrap and machining failure which was a common problem before implementing SafeLock™.
The partnership between The Boeing Company and HAIMER Group will be strategically expanded to a joint membership at the OMIC R&D institution. On the picture William Gerry, Program Manager Global Technology for Boeing Research and Technology (left) and Andreas Haimer, President HAIMER Group (on the right), at the official membership inauguration of HAIMER at the OMIC.
community, our customers and the entire manufacturing industry in Oregon, the Pacific Northwest and American manufacturing. OMIC R&D is an ideal platform to share these kinds of best practices making American and Oregon manufacturers more competitive. Apart from Boeing Portland we also heavily support the leading U.S. Boeing facilities with our system technologies in Auburn, Seattle, Everett, Helena, St. Louis, and Fredrickson.” HAIMER joins nineteen other OMIC R&D industry and university members in the Scappoose facility. Craig Campbell, executive director of OMIC R&D said: “Outsidein advance manufacturing research activities from Oregon Institute of Technology, Portland State University, and Oregon State University are solving manufacturing problems sets at OMIC R&D to support our members. Due to the strong investments from state and local government, OMIC R&D has become a draw for global manufacturing companies and is realizing its promise as an economic driver for the state and region.”
William Gerry, Global Technology program manager for Boeing Research and Technology said: “Boeing is very carefully vetting and inviting members to partner up and contribute to OMIC R&D. We are delighted about the new membership of HAIMER, who we know as a high quality tool holding, shrinking, balancing and presetting technologies company that Boeing has relied on heavily and exclusively for this service. HAIMER can support OMIC R&D and its members with state-of-the-art technology and Industry 4.0 connectivity solutions.”
Andreas Haimer, president of the HAIMER Group, explained during the official handshake at becoming an OMIC R&D member, “We are proud and happy to be closely associated with Boeing as a leading aircraft manufacturer and one of our biggest global customers. The investment and membership at OMIC R&D is a clear commitment to the
Coordinated with OMIC R&D’s applied research projects will be hands-on “earn and learn” apprenticeship programs at the PCC OMIC Training Center, led by Portland Community College, and located in a nearby facility that PCC is building. While the Training Center construction is underway, PCC has a temporary delivery site at Scappoose High School. Brendt Holden, President of Haimer USA and North America based out of Chicago, IL is summarizing the partnership: “We have been delighted to support various production facilities in the Northwest over the past 15 years with state of the art shrinking and balancing machines which have helped reduce operating costs and increase productivity. With presetting, tool holding and milling tools we have become a system partner around the machine tools. Lately we have been involved with multiple presetting projects in the Northwest which can reduce set up time and increase significantly the efficiency of the operation while implementing Industry 4.0 technology by tool management capabilities. We are happy to share our equipment and knowledge in the OMIC in an effort to help the set-ups of the R&D projects be as efficient as possible.”
OMIC R&D is the fifteenth such research center established with Boeing leadership worldwide, and the first Boeing has sponsored in the United States. Its mission is to bring together manufacturing companies and higher education in an innovation environment where “outside-in” applied research with faculty and university students solves real problems for advanced manufacturers while training the next generation of engineers and technologists. Member companies share machinery, equipment such as tools, and expertise to create a highly dynamic and innovative R&D function for members.
The OMIC R&D model focuses research on helping indigenous industries increase competitiveness while creating a real partnership with and integration into the local economy. As research activities expand with highcost, high-value machinery added on to the production floor, OMIC R&D will increase state and regional commercial productivity in manufacturing and stimulate economic growth and development.
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REALITIES OF TODAYâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;S MANUFACTURING PRODUCTION ECONOMICS
Machine shops seek to produce a certain number of parts of a certain quality, in a certain amount of time, at a certain cost. Consistently achieving those goals involves controlling a myriad of factors including cutting parameters, tool cost and changeover times, machine tool utilization, workpiece handling expense and material and labor costs.
roduction economics is the art and science of balancing process factors to achieve desired results. Over more than two centuries of machining history, the elements of production economics have multiplied in number. Manufacturing first evolved from craft-level singleitem output to mass production of standardized parts using machine tools. Improving manufacturing methods brought about a second generation of mass production featuring production lines and output of increasingly greater numbers of identical parts: a high volume, low product mix (HVLM) scenario. Then CNC machines and robots fostered a third generation of mass production efficiency. Most recently, digital technology applied in programming, machine tool controls and workpiece handling systems is facilitating a fourth generation of manufacturing production, known as Industry 4.0, that enables cost-efficient, high-mix lowvolume (HMLV) production.
To effectively accomplish the shift from HVLM to HMLV production it is crucial that manufacturers recognize the changing and growing realities of production economics and take advantage of the information and technology available to analyze their operations and meet their goals. A key element of the transformation involves abandoning overly simplistic beliefs and practices and uncovering hidden costs that can undermine attempts to maximize productivity. High Volume, Low Mix, Simple Economics Standardized machining processes were developed in the 19th century to speed production of identical products with interchangeable parts. Automotive manufacturing refined this HVLM approach to a maximum degree, establishing transfer lines and other methods to make hundreds of thousands or millions of the same part over and over for years. The long-term nature of HVLM production allows manufacturers to fine-tune multiple process factors for
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maximum output, consistency and low cost. Ancillary technology including tool and pallet changers and robots further minimize variability. It is assumed that the operation runs perfectly and provides 100 percent yield with predictable costs, no unplanned idle times, no rejects, no rework and no secondary operations such as deburring. One assumption is that tool cost is typically about three percent of total production cost. The three percent number is a convenient benchmark but is rarely valid. Workpiece material machining characteristics, for example, have great effect; a switch from steel to titanium in machining a part can increase tool usage by a factor of five. The three percent proportion becomes 15 percent, all else being equal. Focusing solely on tool engagement time results in neglect of other factors such as idle times for tool changing. This approach is effectively hiding from reality. Manufacturers should understand that machining time, setup time, tool change time, loading and unloading, and other factors affect and interfere with each other.
Then, attempting to speed output and productivity, the shop increases cutting speed by 10 percent. That reduces cutting time by 10 percent (to 1.8 minutes) but also cuts tool life roughly in half, meaning that one cutting edge will produce only two and half workpieces before indexing is required. Tool indexing time is still one minute and workpiece load/unload two minutes. Production time for one workpiece remains 4.2 minutes (1.8 minutes cutting, 2 minutes workpiece manipulation, and 0.4 minutes tool indexing) or 14 workpieces per hour. The machine and tool costs are the same, but now 5.6 tools (84 euro tool cost) are required to run for an hour. Despite the effort to speed output, production time for 14 workpieces is the same and cost rises from 92 euro to 134 euro. In this case, increasing cutting speed does not make the operation more productive. Changing cutting time affects other factors in the machining system, in this example tool life and tool indexing time. Accordingly, a shop must carefully consider the full consequences of process changes.
A simplified example of unanticipated interaction of process factors involves a shop machining a part that requires two minutes cutting time and a total of two minutes to load and unload the workpiece. Indexing the tool consumes a minute, and tool life is five workpieces, making tool indexing time 0.20 minutes per part. Because every part requires 4.2 minutes processing time, output is slightly more than 14
workpieces per hour. Each tool costs 15 euro, and tool life of five workpieces dictates that 2.8 tools (42 euro) are needed to produce 14 workpieces. Machine cost is 50 euro per hour. Altogether, production cost for 14 workpieces in one hour is 92 euro.
Another form of hidden cost involves execution of steps in the process. In many machine shops the time spent 27 | Industry Asia Pacific | November 2018
indexing inserts, for example, is a textbook case of hidden cost. The designated time to index an insert may be one minute. However, when measured in actuality on the shop floor, it can be two, three or ten minutes, a difference of 60 to 600 seconds. High Mix, Low Volume, Complex Considerations More recently, global competition is prompting manufacturers to create different versions of their products to match the needs of smaller subsets of users. Advanced computing technology permits rapid change of part designs and machining programs and also enables easy tracking of product variations and inventory. The result has been a shift to higher mix, lower volume (HMLV) production scenarios. Today, that approach has been developed sufficiently to enable efficient manufacture of single-digit or even singleitem production runs.
The extended time horizon of HVLM production permits deliberate planning and fine-tuning of process factors. Planning is different in HMLV situations. Computerized engineering and inventory technologies support rapid changes in product type and output, but consequently the HMLV planning process must be complex and reactive. An order for ten parts may be followed by two, five, or even single-item lots of different parts. Workpiece materials may change from steel to aluminum to titanium, and part geometries from simple to complex. There is not enough time available to determine tool life through trials. To manage tool life in HMLV situations, a workshop typically makes a conservative guess regarding a toolâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s projected life and, to be safe, employs a new tool for each run, discarding it well before it reaches its full productive lifespan. Cutting time is only one factor in the overall picture. In HMLV production, the time required to manipulate different workpieces and fixtures, change tools and index inserts will often be longer 27 | Industry Asia Pacific | November 2018
than the actual cutting time. Tooling, machine tool, idle time, direct labor and workpiece material factors may contain hidden costs. The most recent approach to production economics takes into account tool and workpiece material costs, equipment and production cost, equipment cost during downtime and salary and maintenance costs. Rapidly changing HMLV product requirements increase the difficulty of achieving high percentage yields. In the case of long-run HVLM production, trials and adjustments can produce yield percentages in the high nineties. On the other hand, HMLV yields may be binary. A successful single part run represents 100 percent yield, but when the part is unacceptable or a workpiece is ruined, the yield is zero. Demands for quality and cost and time efficiency remain the same, but first-time yield becomes an overriding requirement. In that case, avoiding tool breakage is perhaps the most important consideration. One advantage is that tool wear is a minimal concern in short run situations and a shop can apply, within reason, more aggressive and productive cutting parameters. A related variable is determining when it is appropriate to index a tool. Waiting too long can result in a broken tool and at least an interruption in production, if not a damaged workpiece. On the other hand, changing the tool too often increases expense in terms of tool cost itself as well as the time lost in stopping machining and indexing the tool. Determining when to change a tool requires examination of the changeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s relation to the entire machining system, creating a tool change protocol, and then having the discipline to follow it. Conclusion The relationships of factors in a metal cutting system are not one-to-one. Changing cutting conditions, workpiece materials or product volume will impact tool life as well as
many other aspects of the machining system. The challenge for production economics in a manufacturing facility is to be aware of those relationships and develop strategies to work with them in a pragmatic way. Unfortunately, every shop worker cannot be a professor in mathematics and lacks the time to deeply explore the relationships anyway. As a result, suppliers offer process analysis and management services (See sidebar) that give manufacturers a comprehensive picture of their specific operations and provide direction on ways to maximize the productivity and economic strengths of their efforts. A frequent lament of shop owners is that they have plenty of work and paying customers, but still lose money. The solution to their problems is recognizing the realities of the many factors at work in present-day production economics and uncovering and eliminating neglected and hidden costs so their manufacturing operations can attain maximum returns. Author : Patrick de Vos, Corporate Technical Education Manager, Seco Tools www.secotools.com
Automated Analysis From the early days of mass production, the number of factors affecting manufacturing productivity and costs has multiplied many times over. As machining operations and equipment grew more complex, so did the relationships between the elements of manufacturing systems. None of the elements exists on its own; changing output volume requirements, for example, will affect tooling, equipment, maintenance, labor and other costs. Determining the number of factors involved and their relationships to one another is itself a major challenge. The complexity requires a systematic approach to measuring, controlling and managing manufacturing processes. Seco’s Productivity Cost Analysis (PCA) system examines the entire manufacturing process to determine ways to reduce costs and increase productivity. The basis of the system is Seco’s decades of worldwide manufacturing experience and knowledge. Seco applies that knowledge in combination with sophisticated computer analysis and algorithms, including Monte Carlo simulation techniques that enable automation of cost modeling. A qualified Seco representative performs the PCA, which evaluates all tools and technologies used in a process to generate a comprehensive report that includes both process information, such as tooling and cutting data, and cost information, encompassing cost per part, output per hour and investment cost. PCA can evaluate processes ranging from a single machine tool operation to the complete path a workpiece takes on its journey through a manufacturing plant. The focus is on productivity improvements that have the largest impact on costs. The system takes bottlenecks or operational constraints into consideration and can recognize where more in-depth studies are necessary.
Manufacturers who utilize Seco’s PCA system can typically expect to benefit from total cost savings of up to 30 percent and productivity increases of up to 40 percent, regardless of the industry sector they serve. 27 | Industry Asia Pacific | November 2018
Working from a time and cost benchmark study of the subject operation or facility, in the initial stage the PCA software reviews tooling factors including process parameters, cycle times and throughput requirements. Stage two involves the same process but makes adjustments in cutting conditions and tools being applied. Stage three can involve changing the process, combining operations and exploration of larger changes such as machine tool upgrades.
IN THE CONTEST FOR MAXIMUM METAL REMOVAL, KENNAMETAL’S NEWEST HELICAL MILLING CUTTER TAKES FIRST PLACE
Stiff, stiffer, HARVI Ultra 8X. The bolt taper flange cutter with a KM4X adaptor provides unmatched stability. Whether pocketing or profiling, the HARVI Ultra 8X consistently removes up to 20 cubic inches of titanium per minute, with tool life of one hour or more.
Imagine burying a roughing tool in a block of Ti-6Al-4V titanium and ripping away more than 1000 cm3 (61 cubic inches) of material in just one minute. If you’d been at a recent test of Kennametal’s new HARVI™ Ultra 8X helical milling cutter, you’d have seen exactly that. Using a 95 mm (3.74 in.) axial depth of cut, 20 mm (0.78 in.) radially, and a feedrate of 423 mm/min (16.65 ipm), the 80 mm (3.15 in.) diameter HARVI Ultra 8X plowed through this difficult aerospace superalloy for nearly three minutes straight without flinching.
Maximum Excitement Tim Marshall, senior global product manager for indexable milling, has tested the HARVI Ultra 8X with a variety of customers, pushing the limits of the new cutter on everything from 15-5 PH to cast iron to Aermet 100 (highstrength steel) and seeing outstanding results with each.
“Kennametal developed the HARVI Ultra 8X to meet two distinct needs,” Marshall says. “The first came from the aerospace industry, which thanks to the large numbers of aircraft being built today requires the highest metal removal rates possible but still achieving excellent tool life. At the same time, machine tool builders and users alike are asking for tools able to withstand higher cutting speeds but generate lower machining forces, so as to reduce wear and tear on machine components during extreme cutting conditions. The new HARVI Ultra 8X does all that, and a lot more besides.” Massive piles of chips notwithstanding, your shop almost certainly wants its tools to stay in the cut far longer than three minutes. Marshall agrees, saying the HARVI Ultra 8X was designed to predictably remove 20 cubic inches (328 cm3) of Ti-6Al-4V each minute while attaining 60 minutes of tool life per cutting edge. To do this, Kennametal combined a
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Maximum metal removal rates, and maximum flexibility characterizes the new HARVI Ultra 8X.
Inserts with 8 cutting edges in a helical milling cutter. No one else has that. Insert sizes with IC10 and IC12 mm, 8 different corner radii available.
number of innovative technologies in this highly engineered cutting tool solution: • A double-sided yet positive rake insert that delivers the lowest cost per edge possible and simultaneously reduces power consumption by up to 50 percent. • Thanks to a unique AlTiN+TiN PVD coating that provides robust resistance to thermal fatigue, Kennametal’s highperformance KCSM40 carbide grade enjoys much longer tool life than competing solutions. • The HARVI Ultra 8X cutter body is constructed of a higher quality steel than competing solutions for improved stiffness and rigidity under high-cutting forces. • In addition, a unique BTF46 (bolt taper flange) connection provides the ultimate in deflection resistance compared to traditional shell mill type holders. • The variable helix design of HARVI Ultra 8X breaks up the harmonics that lead to chatter, further improving tool life, part quality, and throughput.
Yet the HARVI Ultra 8X has even more tricks up its sleeve. Precision through-the-tool coolant nozzles direct cutting fluid where it’s needed most. An enhanced flute design assures maximum chip evacuation. Oversize M4 Torx Plus screws for greater insert stability. The option with a KM4X adaptor brings greater tools holding stability. Especially prepared insert edges optimized for the KCSM40 grade greatly extend tool life. Corner radii from 0.8mm to 6.4mm, in both inch and metric, means there’s little you can’t machine. Beyond Ti-6Al-4V “We’ve optimized everything about the HARVI Ultra 8X,” says Marshall. “The flutes and the coolant nozzles assure maximum chip flow, something that’s very important when you’re removing this much material—without it, the chips get jammed up and you’re facing catastrophic failure. Our KCSM40 grade has proven to be a top performer in hightemp alloys, but we also offer several equally excellent grades for other work piece materials. And eight cutting edges per insert? Nobody else has that in a helical cutter.” Double sided inserts not only means lower cost per edge but the ability to increase speeds and feeds beyond what was previously possible, Marshall notes. And because the HARVI Ultra 8X is available with an integral shank or the “crazy strong” BTF46 mount, users can adapt the cutter to virtually any machine tool spindle with no loss of rigidity. “We go up against our competitors’ and sometimes even our own helical cutters and are blown away by the performance improvement,” he says. “For anyone who’s looking for the highest productivity at the lowest possible cost per edge, this is the cutter for them.” www.kennametal.com
What’s in a Name? This last point is particularly important. A variable helix geometry greatly reduces carbide-killing vibration. Using 12 mm and 10 mm inserts also helps, as their smaller size means more inserts in the cutter body, more inserts engaged in the workpiece, and more inserts to absorb the pounding of a heavy machining operation.
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Always on track – sensors for optical tracking.
ith increasing process automation, the costeffective automation of vehicles is playing an increasingly more important role. Automated guided vehicles (AGVs) are encountered in vast warehouses, order-picking areas and production halls. Every one of these vehicles must find its way and its exact position in the process – and do so automatically. For some time now there have been various technologies in this area with specific properties, in testing and also in actual use, and with each further enhancement – for example in sensor technology – new opportunities result.
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Today, the diversity of technologies offers numerous versions and performance classes: from systems which follow a wire or tape, through to laser positioning and wireless solutions. When developing a new idea for an application, all versions are equally available and on the test bench. A combination between a positioning, navigation and safety solution is frequently striven for. It is worth taking a closer look at and comparing the different technologies, however, since not every technology is suited to every application in equal measure. For example, small and simple applications commonly have different requirements than larger ones. As a rule, though, two issues should always be considered together: safety at work and navigation. In terms of safety at work, safety area scanners may be worth considering, for example, which prevent collisions between vehicles and people or objects. With regard to navigation, one should investigate whether an additional scanner system or a different technology should be used to navigate the vehicle safely. With scanners, the data usually comes as bitstream per beam with the angle and distance to the object. Software with a suitable level of hardware performance is required for evaluating the navigation data of the vehicle. Equally, a shutdown mechanism via the safety function must be considered.
In enclosed areas where there is hardly any human traffic, a more simple type is highly popular: tracking with induction wires or magnetic tape. In this process the vehicle unwaveringly follows the wire/tape on the floor. On the vehicle itself only relatively simple control system functionality is required. This solution is therefore also suited to simple AGVs. The wire itself is robust and durable, but not flexible because it has to be housed in the floor screed. Magnetic tape offers somewhat more flexibility. The floor structure has to be taken into account with this method, however. In numerous warehouses and distribution centers â&#x20AC;&#x201C; and also in many production environments, too â&#x20AC;&#x201C; soiling no longer poses a real problem, meaning optical systems represent thoroughly decent alternatives. They are frequently much easier to build or modify. Optical versions which follow a line are particularly flexible in this performance class, since the line can easily be installed or even modified; especially if it is formed from adhesive tape. Cameras or sensors are commonly used for the optical detection and tracking of the line. Depending on the environment, narrow curves and ambient light are more critical for cameras than for sensors. A new technology based on contrast detection comes in the form of the OGS 600 from Leuze electronic: a new sensor for optical tracking. This sensor allows for a detection width of 140 to 280 mm on an illuminated adhesive tape with a line and contrasted trace. With the standard, simple vehicle interfaces, it is suited to use in AGVs of all sizes.
High flexibility with OGS 600 from Leuze electronic With the OGS 600, Leuze electronic is presenting a new sensor that enables cost-effective vehicle automation for the transport of materials and goods in production and storage areas. With its edge detection and control signal transmission to the steering motor, the trace can be guided optically, which means that driving can be automated in the simplest of ways. The routes of the driverless transportation systems can be flexibly adapted. The compact design of the OGS 600 and its low minimum distance to the ground of 10 mm means it can be integrated even into flat vehicles. Models with different detection widths and response times cover a wide range of possible applications, even for narrow curves and at high speeds. Parameterization and interface integration is implemented via the Sensor Studio software. An assistant analyzes the contrast between the ground and the trace and recommends the ideal trace color. A high level of functionality and ambient light protection are provided, much like fast commissioning and easy address adaptation.
Current developments and performance increases of safety laser scanners will soon permit the output of navigation data via recognized and standardized bus interfaces, thus combining both functions in one device. This simplifies system integration and significantly reduces installation and interface complexity. An example of this combined solution is the RSL400 safety laser scanner with PROFINET from Leuze electronic. The safety laser scanners are also readily used in combination with systems that contain reference positions by means of transponders or code reading. This is especially the case in areas where there is an overlap of automatic AGVs and manned vehicles for supporting pick assistance systems; in goods receiving, dispatch and in order picking, for example. In such cases there is a corresponding reader moving along inside the vehicle. Transponders or codes are arranged on the floor or in the ceiling at crossings and reference positions, which are connected to assistance systems for additional information, amongst other things. In these applications, too, the vehicles are appropriately equipped to a technically high grade. Systems which work with reference positions or navigation scanners are usually flexible in terms of changes. Often there is a change to the new situation merely from the teaching-in or graphical drawing of new reference points. This flexibility has many advantages, thus justifying its price. However, in the case of application a critical assessment should be conducted, since this flexibility is not always necessary.
The diversity of AGV applications across a broad variety of industries and sectors shows how frequently the necessity of a large range of technologies and technical options arises. It is only this way that a solution tailored to the respective application can be achieved at a good price/performance ratio. This is why a large number of AGV providers and sensor manufacturers offer various technological solutions.
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