Digitization in industrial production continues to advance and there is an enormous variety of interfaces, machines, production processes and Industry 4.0 solutions. An ever-emerging challenge is to efficiently integrate even older systems from different manufacturers into this digitization.
The challenge: Heterogeneous machine parks
Machine parks are often heterogeneous, because over the progressive development of the company, machines, plants and subassemblies from different manufacturers have been integrated into the production processes and workflows. At the same time, each company unit requires a wide variety of data from different sources and has its own specific view of it.
The objective is therefore to comprehensively make data available by networking from the lowest level of the shop floor. After all, this is about nothing less than determining overall equipment effectiveness (OEE), the current condition of the machines, cost transparency and sustainability in the energy sector.
However, automatic monitoring of machine condition and productivity is often difficult to implement due to heterogeneity and also entails high installation and maintenance costs. This reduces efficiency and often leads to insufficient use of the data – which means time and money for the companies. What is often missing is a uniform data structure with centralized data management.
The solution: An Industry 4.0 platform for condition monitoring and more
Schaeffler Digital Solutions GmbH from Chemnitz is a wholly owned Schaeffler subsidiary. It develops and integrates the web-based autinity software, which, thanks to its high compatibility with existing systems, sensors and control systems, can query and process all data on a wide range of machines. The products in the autinity range offer comprehensive digitization solutions for the factory of the future and aim to reduce production and maintenance costs.
autinityHub is one of these comprehensive software solutions that covers the entire value chain. The continuous acquisition and visualization of all operating data enables both long-term analyses and automatic notification of events only lasting a few time, such as tool breakage, quality fluctuations, chatter during machining or excessive tool wear.
The software is versatile, in use on over 10,000 machines worldwide, and supports a wide range of machine control systems as well as Industry 4.0 and IoT communication technologies. autinityHub is compatible with all common PLC systems and a wide range of sensor types and is independent of the machine manufacturer.
The software is provided either locally or via the cloud and linked to the machine controller on an industrial PC and then simply opened in the browser. The user interface can be adapted to the respective requirements. For example, it can be defined which user groups can see which content. Navigation can take place via dashboards, so that the respective user is only shown the relevant data and machines that he needs for his work.
The industrial PC acts as a data logger, recording the status data from any heterogeneous machine park of any age and from a wide range of manufacturers. The data obtained can then be used in a wide variety of ways within the autinityHub. In case of deviations from target values, the user is either notified directly or an order for maintenance is created automatically via SAP. Furthermore, comprehensive reports on plant and production effectiveness (OEE) can be generated and used as basis for the right strategic decisions. By tracking consumption values and detecting anomalies, unplanned machine downtimes can be avoided, while at the same time increasing plant availability (OEE) and reducing production costs.
The result: Centralized data management
The autinity software is the most important tool for the central management of all measuring points in the company. No programming skills are required for installation and use, and no specialized IT knowledge is needed. The rollout and configuration on a large number of machines can thus be carried out quickly and easily, even as a retrofit. A visualization editor can be used to set up individual evaluations and graphical representations in order to make the status of the entire plant park available for viewing at any time.
Due to the use of standard sensor technology and the extensive use of existing systems, the investment costs remain low. Another advantage of the open and future-oriented solution: The different solutions of the autinity software are compatible with each other and can be easily retrofitted or extended if required. This enables uncomplicated optimization with additional application possibilities without programming knowledge.
This infrastructure paves the way for new use cases and makes all potentials of the collected data usable. This also applies to the CO2 footprint, for example: the data is available and can be used very easily for a sustainability strategy.
And it is not without reason that BAFA has included autinity software in its list of eligible energy management software because autinityHub offers numerous functions for holistic energy management. Due to the identification of weak points in processes, system-critical states are prevented and peak loads are avoided. This not only creates transparency, but also leads to a reduction in overall energy costs due to the resulting reduction in energy procurement costs and network charges.