Smart food factories move even closer

By Rick Pendrous

- Last updated on GMT

Smart food factories are moving closer thanks to Industry 4.0 and the Industrial Internet of Things
Smart food factories are moving closer thanks to Industry 4.0 and the Industrial Internet of Things

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Industry 4.0 and the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) took centre stage at the huge Interpack 2017 processing and packaging show, in Düsseldorf last month.

“In 2016, we have begun to strategically align the company even more towards Industry 4.0 and complete solutions,”​ said Dr Stefan König, chairman of the managing board of Bosch’s Packaging Technology division.

“We have delivered a great number of single machines, complete lines and systems. And we will continue building increasingly better and connected machines.”

Bosch showed how Industry 4.0 could provide remote assistance through its Maintenance Support System (MSS). It is claimed to raise maintenance efficiency and monitor production line quality.

Domino Printing Sciences demonstrated how it was changing coding and marking by using Industry 4.0 approaches to its equipment.

Smart, interconnected network of machines

The Domino Cloud service tool and i-Techx platform is used to provide remote access and monitoring, as well as error-free coding and system integration. This is said to result in a smart, interconnected network of machines and processes that centralise and simplify coding.

“Coding requirements are becoming increasingly more complex in a number of industries around the world, which means system integration and the improved automation of the production line are key to simplifying the coding process,”​ said James Murtagh, Industry 4.0 lead at Domino Printing Sciences. “There’s no better way of achieving this than through the IIoT.”

A recent example of Domino’s Industry 4.0 technology is its recently launched Ax-Series of continuous inkjet printers.

These use an array of integrated sensors to automate system monitoring, allowing for predictive diagnostics and remote service support through IIoT and connection to the Domino cloud.

Evolving demands for ‘smart’ sensor

Also at the show, Endoline Machinery unveilled an enhanced, Industry 4.0 ready version of its fastest random case sealer. The company’s 744 fully automatic random case sealer has been upgraded with new technology to meet evolving demands for ‘smart’ sensor systems and data to link end-of-line kit together.

However, as we race towards 50bn devices connected to the internet by 2020, safety system specialist Fortress Interlocks has warned that Industry 4.0 presents a huge challenge to manufacturers, as collaborative robots and the automation of tasks previously carried out by people reduce the need for traditional machine guarding while increasing the need for smart interlocks.

“As the importance of data increases, we know that our products will be required to feedback through extensive, potentially global, data networks,”​ said Malcolm Sharp, md of Fortress’s Australian operations.

“We are already moving in this direction, with recent installations utilising our network-enabled gate switches designed to operate on safety networks. These provide additional operational feedback, as well as carrying out their safety-critical task.”

Related topics: IT, Processing equipment

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