However, A+W SmartFactory also displays its strengths at companies with traditional production facilities and it can even automate production if a company’s machine park is not yet digitalized. A Swedish manufacturer of insulated glass is currently piloting this variant.
Dennis Tiegs, COO A+W Clarity, said, “What’s special about A+W SmartFactory is that it can be scaled, which helps smaller operations get larger and large operations to automate further. Companies thus enjoy the benefit of the lean production approach from the very start.”
A+W SmartFactory is the top-level production system that coordinates the process flows for an optimized glass flow. The system is in a position to responsively control all coupled machines and software modules with the production data provided. Machines communicate constantly with the system via so-called A+W SmartFactory clients; this enables control of machine status and machine capacity.
According to the principle of backward scheduling, the dispatch requirements and thus ultimately customers control the production sequence. Planning is done in real time and can be adjusted at any time in the future if this should be necessary to accommodate rush orders, capacity bottlenecks, machine failures, etc. Dispatch generally doesn’t even notice this, so it’s almost always possible to make on-time deliveries. Vetrotech customers profit from improved performance and delivery reliability.
If there are no possibilities for direct machine communication, A+W SmartFactory clients function as imitation machines that can determine status and capacity per machine thanks to the integrated plant data collection. A control centre provides the production manager and the general management with a wide variety of information from A+W SmartFactory, and if necessary, allows them to intervene directly in production, e.g. by manually adjusting production chains. Here too, precisely that is produced which is needed first in dispatch; rush orders are integrated without a problem, WIP (work in process) is reduced a great deal. This way, even less-automated companies can profit from this development.
The intelligence required for this lies only in the software that controls the communication between machines, and also between machines and human beings: a new industry standard on the path to Industry 4.0, which is optimized constantly by the expertise that flows from A+W’s pilot customers.
Dennis Tiegs continued, “Our customers’ experience keeps improving A+W SmartFactory all the time. That’s why we’re looking for more pilot customers to create a win-win situation: we optimize the customer’s processes, users incorporate their experiences, which helps design and further improve production systems of the future.”