Discover how the workpiece determines the production process in the factory of tomorrow.
As in many other areas of our everyday lives, the Internet of Things is also becoming prevalent in industry, where it connects real and virtual worlds of production. The fusion of these two worlds via the Internet enables manufacturers to connect all machines, products, and systems involved in the production process. This means that machines and products can now communicate with each other. Moreover, they can independently control each other.
The classical production hierarchy in factories, which is strongly characterized by centralized control, is increasingly being replaced by a flexible, self-organized factory (Smart Factory). Another important factor will be the connection of factories to one production network across country and company borders (Global Factory).
Experts are already talking about a fourth industrial revolution. And with good reason – not only is the Internet of Things transforming factory control and production structures, it is also increases agility and flexibility in the production process. It will enable us to individualize even the smallest volumes to a high degree while retaining optimum productivity, thereby optimizing multi-variant series production. It will allow companies to involve their customers more closely in the production process and to react faster on changing market requirements.
Bosch Diesel Injector
To make this concept a little less abstract, let’s take an example: what might the production of a Bosch diesel injector look like in the future? Components such as diesel injectors will only be manufactured in real time and in response to concrete orders. The components themselves will bear all information on technical requirements, customers, and destination, allowing them to control the production process autonomously.
This means that the individual component will know exactly which production steps are to be carried out, which parts may still be missing, and which destination it has to select in order to ultimately meet all customer-specific requirements. Customers will be able to obtain information on the real-time status of the order at all times.
At the end of the production process, an associate will inspect the viability of the product. If the product has been successfully completed, the customer will be promptly notified and the order will make its way – again largely self-controlled – to its destination.
In the industry of the future, software-based system and service platforms – such as the one supplied by Bosch Software Innovations – will play a large role. They will enable the real and virtual worlds to be connected and therefore communication between objects. Incoming data masses will be filtered, evaluated, and translated into meaningful information, which will form the basis of rule- and process-based measures.
The ideal scenario envisages a self-controlling production process, in which production reacts autonomously to changes or faults and takes appropriate measures. We are currently at the beginning of such a development, which will gradually become established in industry.
Even today, the maintenance and repair needs of some machines in the Bosch plant at Feuerbach can be monitored from anywhere in the world via a remote condition monitoring system and appropriate measures such as ordering spare parts or booking a service technician can be initiated if required.
Currently Bosch Software Innovations is implementing a solution for the early detection of machine failure in conjunction with a global leader in drive and control technologies, so that it will be possible in future to avoid stoppages in production and the resulting costs.