How Industry 4.0 is turning into an opportunity for plastics processing

- KraussMaffei Group promotes implementation of Industry 4.0 under the umbrella term "Plastics 4.0"
- Focus on intelligent machines, linked production processes and interactive service solutions

(Munich/Friedrichshafen, 14 October 2015) Industry 4.0 is the key word and its development is being pushed by the mechanical engineering, IT and automation industries. Also in plastics processing it is more and more about the vision of a complete networking of all processes in production. Under "Plastics 4.0", the KraussMaffei Group with its three brands is developing solutions, and concentrating these under the three categories Intelligent Machines, Integrated Production and Interactive Services.

Long-term thinking

"In our view, the key requirements of plastics processors in the implementation of Industry 4.0 are production efficiency, flexibility, automation, availability, and quality", states Dr. Hans Ulrich Golz, President of Injection Molding Machinery at the KraussMaffei Group. The KraussMaffei Group already has numerous products in its portfolio which support customers precisely in terms of these requirements. "For us, Industry 4.0 is a long-term project. With our solutions, in the coming years we want to use the potential of intelligent and flexible production with state-of-the-art information and communication technology, and support our customers in optimizing their value-added chain and strengthening their market position", adds Golz.

The KraussMaffei Group classifies the Plastics 4.0 solutions into three categories: Intelligent Machines, Integrated Production and Interactive Services. Intelligent Machines represents intelligent, self-optimizing machines, which improve productivity and quality. Integrated Production symbolizes seamless networked production, in which the individual machines and components communicate with each other and control processes accordingly. Interactive Services can, on the other hand, be compared to quick and global service using the example of remote maintenance tools.

Live demonstrations at Fakuma

At Fakuma the KraussMaffei and Netstal brands present specific applications of how the Industry 4.0 vision can be implemented in injection molding production. A typical example of an intelligent machine at KraussMaffei is the APC function (Adaptive Process Control). APC recognizes process fluctuations, which can be caused by changing environmental conditions or fluctuating viscosity, and independently adopts counteractive measures. Netstal and KraussMaffei take this even one step further with the seamless networking of the injection molding machines ELION 2800 and CX 300 with the materials supply/dryer from Motan-Colortronic. Using the example of select scenarios (tool change, precise planning of production start using weekly timer), visitors can discover how efficiency can be increased through data exchange or how energy consumption can be automatically reduced to a minimum.

Future central host computer interface

Netstal has been offering remote support for a long time now, in order to be able to provide customers with fast, global and professional support. The Interactive Services area is thus well covered. "Using this tool connected machines can be accessed online. This way faults can be eliminated quickly and simply by remote diagnostics", explains Golz. The development of the future host computer interface Euromap 77 marks an important milestone in the Integrated Production area. Here KraussMaffei and Netstal are adopting a leading role on the Euromap committee. In the future this interface will enable the transfer of production data to a central host computer in real time. The new data transmission protocol OPC UA is the basis for these new communication interfaces, which has already been implemented at Netstal and KraussMaffei.