Episode 3: Whether they are manufacturing cars, furniture or window frames, for today’s enterprises staying in the game means offering individualised products, reacting flexibly to fluctuating demand and, at the same time, producing the goods on schedule.
Industry 4.0 is an answer to this challenge. Basically, it’s all about the continuous, digitally controlled optimisation of all processes – based on data collected by means of sensors at numerous interfaces in an “intelligent” factory.
The Industry 4.0 research project “ProSense”, in which scientists of the FH Aachen University of Applied Sciences have played a part, has come up with an iPad app that automatically “translates” processed real-time date into recommendations for fine-tuning the production process.
An example of what one of these recommendations might look like: “Shift jobs from Machine 739 to Machine 712. This will reduce the load on Machine 739 on Friday from 213 to 103 percent.” Displayed clearly and graphically on their pad, such recommendations will enable users to make short-term adjustments to optimise production planning and production control. In spite of the high degree of automation, it’s still a human being that makes the final decision.