Industry 4.0 is the next stage of industrial automation(1) characterized by integration of new digital technologies on the factory floor to improve work conditions, increase productivity and overall manufacturing quality through processes more and more automated and connected.

From this point of view, data collection is a fundamental activity from which value and benefits can be derived. The next step beyond this simple data collection is based on “machine learning”, the peculiar ability of certain devices to perfect their performance by “learning” from retrieved and analyzed data. Innovation in industrial processes derived from this data analysis and system interaction can lead to production improvements, new developments, simplified logistics, energy efficiency, and (by being always connected) remote assistance.

Industrial revolution chart from Wikipedia

In step with Industry 4.0 thinking, Tecnau has anticipated market requests by providing solutions that can offer and indeed guarantee all the technological requirements that the times demand.

A striking example of this is the WebVision solution, that in line to high-speed inkjet printers performs accurate print analysis to ensure data consistency and print quality, offering detailed communications on which jobs need to be re-printed without any direct operator intervention required.

Another solution for data collection and control is Tecnau Connect. This specially developed software creates detailed information on the entire print production line: from 2D Datamatrix feedback to application orders. The Connect system also analyzes hardware issues and reports on each different production step, including: number of rolls used, time of activity, output rate, output types, quantities, error rate and more. All of this data is essential for a forward-looking process that can be used to improve and develop business capabilities as well as to prevent machine stoppages or breakages.

Consider the value of knowing with absolute precision the number of jobs and cuts performed by a machine over a month; cross-referencing this data with the average life length of a cutting blade we could forecast spare parts reorder, without creating waste or large inventories.

Kevin Ashton, the guru credited for coining the phrase “Internet of Things”(2), said: “If we had computers that knew everything there was to know about things – using data they gathered without any help from us – we would be able to track and count everything, and greatly reduce waste, loss, and cost. We would know when things needed replacing, repairing or recalling, and whether they were fresh or past their best.”

The use of reliable analysis systems, such as WebVision and Tecnau Connect, provide even greater benefits in a context characterized by highly parceled orders. In the Digital Printing market, which shows an increase of short to medium production runs instead of long runs (a distinctive example is the book-on-demand sector), being able to analyze in detail timing, typologies and possible difficulties can help in taking countermeasures to optimize processes, eliminate inefficiencies and errors, improve production and work more effectively.

With an IoT solution completely networked and connected, we can rely on a simplified management of all operations, not only through a single control station, but with the option to request remote control for machine analysis, upgrades and assistance on those problems that the operator is unable to solve.

Along these lines, the remote support software installed on two Tecnau solutions for variable book-block creation and book binding, Libra One and Libra 800, simplifies control and service operations of all the machine installed in these solution lines. The support and control system is also available on the TC 1530 C dynamic perforator and other product models. This software enables real-time checks of running jobs, log file analysis, operator tasks, line status, and pre-identified critical issues to enable users and on-site technicians to effectively troubleshoot problems, download updates and improvements.

Tecnau is dedicated to helping customers move into a smart and interconnected industry 4.0 future through the offering of the advanced solutions detailed here.

Contact your Tecnau representative for more information on these forward-focused products.

Side Notes

(1) The industrial revolutions of the Western world have been three so far:  the late 1700s gave rise to the use of water and steam with their power to mechanize production; the late 1800s put us on the road to mass production through the increasingly widespread use of electricity, the invention of combustion engines and the growing use of oil as a new energy source; then the 70s with information technology spurring the digital era and the increase in automation by using electronic systems and IT (Information Technology).

(2) Industry 4.0 relies on cyber-physical systems (CPS) that are physical systems closely connected to computers system capable of further interactions and collaborations with other systems as well. More often we talk about these connected devices with the term of Internet of Things (IoT). The Internet of Things is nothing more than an evolution of the Internet, where connected devices become recognizable and acquire identity and intelligence by being able to communicate data on themselves and access aggregated information from others to fulfill automatic tasks.