The easy way to networked production: The Smart Factory as a modular system

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4 minutes Reading time
4 minutes Reading time

System breaks prevent data from being exchanged in real time between SAP ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) on the one hand and the shop floor on the other. The cloud solution All For One Smart Factory is a flexibly expandable solution for bidirectional communication between the shop floor and adjacent processes in SAP ERP.

The challenge: Systems breaks slow down data exchange between production and ERP

The Hygiene business unit of the Lohmann Tapes Group manufactures self-adhesive and mechanical closure systems for hygiene applications. The company uses the latest production technology for this and relies on fully automated production, right through to packaging. Camera-based quality assurance complements the system.

The production speed of this new plant is too high to continue operating it manually. Instead, it requires comprehensive automation and the rapid exchange of data that goes with it. Before commissioning the plant, it was necessary to determine how the process for production control and merchandise management mapped in SAP ERP could be supplemented in the direction of the shop floor. The goal was to completely integrate the plant into the processes without system breaks, but at the same time to avoid the acquisition of a complex and costly MES solution.

The solution was the All for One Smart Factory, which fulfilled these requirements and was subsequently introduced by All for One. The company has a great deal of experience in the development of SAP-based digitization solutions throughout the GSA region. It focuses on the underlying practical problem, its solution and the resulting added value. All for One recommended a modularized and lean solution in which the SAP processes and master data are supplemented only by a collection of operating and machine data.

 

The solution: Real-time data exchange from and to SAP ERP

The cloud solution used to link the real-time data from the machine with SAP ERP is the All for One Smart Factory. The modular SaaS solution is delivered ready-to-use and can be easily customized. The standard implementation time is 4 days. It covers all important application scenarios. First of all, this includes simple and SAP-orientated production data acquisition, but it can also be expanded to include the automation of all processes, right through to the control of systems and the analysis of all acquired data.

The core of the solution is the bidirectional data exchange between the production plant and the SAP system. The starting point is all order data from SAP. They are transferred directly to the plant via the Smart Factory and can control it accordingly. Since all order progress or QM-relevant information is reported back automatically, the SAP system is always up-to-date. It avoids the delays caused by system breaks and manual data entry into the ERP.

The All for One Smart Factory is not only suitable for working with fully automated, modern production plants. The functions also include apps about data such as feedback on the progress of the work. As a result, the Smart Factory avoids further system breaks or manual data entry. In addition to the functions accompanying production, the Smart Factory also enables comprehensive analysis of all the data collected – with the aim of continuously optimizing all processes.

 

The result: Bidirectional real-time communication optimizes production planning

The All For One Smart Factory enables bidirectional exchange between manufacturing and ERP. This creates a high degree of transparency and effectiveness, especially in action planning and control. There are no system breaks or time delays, so all relevant data is captured and evaluated – in real time.

This means that connection problems between SAP and the shop floor are a thing of the past. The Smart Factory communicates with SAP via OData services and with the plants using the OPC UA standard. It therefore works as a data hub between SAP, the machines on the shop floor and the workers.

This exchange of information enables significantly higher transparency of the manufacturing processes. The strategic pilot project at Lohmann’s Altendorf site has doubled production speed compared to the old plant and realized optimized production planning as well as more efficient machine utilization and quality assurance. These results will thus become the “blueprint” for the future deployment of the solution in three other locations of the group.

 

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