Ours is a Converting Industry, the idea of change that comes from a “conversion”, originating from the Latin term conversio identifying a transformation, transition, or change from one state to another. This is what is happening within the manufacturing sector, when we talk of smart factories, smart manufacturing and industrial internet. A scenario that needs to be discussed and described without neglecting the cultural aspect, as the very transition from traditional factory to digitalised factory also involves a cultural type of conversion, with a change in thought by all the stakeholders in the industrial world.
For some years already we have been committed to this process of conversion, as we face a period of profound change, which envisages the increasing integration of digital technologies in industrial manufacturing processes. Implementing a Converting Industry means changing existing procedures in favour of digital systems. This changeover would not be possible if we didn’t place process analysis at the centre of our work, to understand and learn where we are and where we want to go. The transformation of traditional industry implies a change also on a cultural level and a series of activities focussed on the conversion from analogue to digital, the methods of collecting and using data to create value, in the processing power, connectivity and interaction between man and machine. The core role of analysis lies at the foundation of these tasks enables actions on existing processes in order to modify them with targeted, functional and remedial interventions aimed at converting the industry as a whole. This method has been made feasibly by the supervision of human resources, who with their knowledge is able to see the process not only as a whole, but in all its individual parts. The role of man is raised, from maintenance engineer to controller, because we are now dealing with constant monitoring of the manufacturing process.
INDUSTRY 4.0 AS CONVERTING INDUSTRY
Industry 4.0 or rather Converting Industry requires the use of virtual vision instruments and interoperability, i.e. the capacity of different systems to interface with one another correctly and in real time, thanks to field bus technologies such as OPC-UA which enable high speed inter-connection and interaction of devices and machines connected on a network. In this way, the systems can analyse data and self-configure to adapt to changes and make improvements. The collection and analysis of data create this value, which achieves faster and more efficient processes while aiding the function of self-diagnosis, self-adaptation and remote control.
Within System, a special department named Digital Industrial Design has been created, employing electronic engineers, mechanical engineers, IT engineers, chemists and physicists, with the aim of creating one of the Industry 4.0 models for the ceramics sector, as a point of reference not only in Europe but worldwide.
DEFINING NEW STANDARDS
Our objective is to define a new standard in managing ceramics manufacturing, offering an authentic and effective service. With this principle of “Ceramics as a Service” clients can redesign their production processes and share them in an integrated application for using resources.
We have implemented our skills and know-how to produce PRIME, a platform of software services, aimed at controlling production capacity of entire factories, optimising the quality of control processes and the standardisation of information received from systems, in order to provide management tools aimed at improving awareness and decision repeatability.
PRIME: WHERE THE FACTORY BECOMES VIRTUAL
Thanks to a single graphic interface of the latest generation and the use of 3D technologies, the production facilities can be represented as a whole and dynamically, enabling a virtual reconstruction of the entire production cycle, where all systems are connected and can share information on feedback or the alignment of processes, aimed at improving the process itself in real time.
PRIME captures production data that can be processed into information to guide business decisions and improve production process and quality KPIs, redefining the value chain.
The functions of PRIME:
- Standard interfaces to maintain the ERP level synchronised with the production plan (ERP orders, material master, product definition, envisaged production schedule, production performance, material consumption) according to the standards ISA-95 and ISA-88.
- Management and processing of orders created manually within the PRIME solution or originating from the ERP (system order, production order, maintenance order, shipping order, etc.)
- Management of general data of materials and definitions of products created manually within PRIME or originating from the ERP via the software interface, implementing the standards eXtensible Markup Language (XML), Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP), and Web Service Definition Language (WSDL).
- Integration of data from various multiple systems (ERP, SCADA, etc.) and systems in a single database optimised for signalling and analysing processes on line (OLAP).
- Ability to acquire key operating parameters (KOPS) related to the order process, and the calculation of key performance indicators (KPI) that will guide the decision making process and strategic planning.
- Asset Management in real time, monitoring the production lines and equipment. Possibility of linking causes and times of inactivity, by collecting and aggregating data from various devices such as PLC, DCS, SCADA and batch systems.
- Ability to manage the material inventory automatically and in real time. The inventory is updated continuously on the ERP level during production with effective consumption data.
PRIME is a state-of-the-art platform where semantics is an integral part of the software in the six applications.