1. Misunderstandings of intelligent manufacturing
At present, manufacturing companies are facing huge pressure on human resource costs and difficulty in recruiting workers. Therefore, many discrete manufacturing companies are actively carrying out automation transformation of production lines. For some highly repetitive stations, the enterprise proposes process requirements and selects non-standard automation integrators to provide special automation equipment to complete specific processes such as screwing, assembly, welding, marking, and testing, thereby replacing manual work and achieving less humanized. At first glance, many production lines are quite advanced, but after careful study, it is found that on the one hand, the automated production lines of many companies can only adapt to a single variety, and the flexibility is not strong; on the other hand, many companies still do not pay enough attention to equipment networking and production line data collection. It is difficult to truly realize the visualization and transparency of the production process, and it is also difficult for managers to understand the real-time status of the production site in a timely and accurate manner. The production lines of process manufacturing enterprises generally apply automation control systems, but the application of digital technology is relatively lagging behind, and there are also problems of being out of touch with automation systems.
On the other hand, some international excellent companies pay great attention to the realization of transparent factories and interconnected factories. When the e-works smart factory inspection team visited MAZAK’s Oguchi factory in Japan, they saw that the company’s staff could query the real-time status of a certain piece of equipment in Ningxia’s Little Giant Factory (a subsidiary of MAZAK), including equipment usage status, OEE , output, quality, energy consumption and other information. The factories of companies such as KUKA and Trumpf also attach great importance to the transparency of the workshop, and can check the real-time status of the workshop, production line and each piece of equipment at any time. Rockwell Automation’s electronics factory located in Cleveland, USA, has really made full use of the MES system. It can check the status of the placement machine nozzle in time, judge whether maintenance is needed, and can also see the execution status of each order and workshop production. The status of production scheduling and execution, the defect rate of each production line, etc., assist management personnel to make timely adjustments and optimizations, and significantly improve production quality.
e-works suggests that in the process of promoting intelligent manufacturing, enterprises must pay equal attention to automation and digitalization. Automation is the foundation, and real value is created through the application of digital technology.
2. Two forms of intelligent manufacturing
1.3D machine vision
3D machine vision technology is one of the key technologies to realize intelligent manufacturing. It utilizes various digital sensors and cameras to create a three-dimensional image of an object. 3D machine vision often outperforms the human eye due to its ability to operate 7/24 and inspect large numbers of objects in high-speed production lines.
Manufacturers are widely adopting this technology in the chemical, automotive, plastics, metal forming, food and other industries. The list of applications goes on and even extends beyond manufacturing. The business advantages of adopting 3D machine vision include minimizing human error, increasing productivity, reducing machine downtime and tighter process control.
China occupies a huge market base for 3D machine vision, and players in this industry have contributed significantly to the digital transformation of other manufacturing companies. Fei Zheping, the founder of Tuyang Technology, said that intelligent manufacturing is the future development trend. The basic logic of intelligent manufacturing is to replace labor resources with machines. People in the industry have used machines or robots to reduce the workload of workers or reduce the intensity of work, which shows that the development of intelligent manufacturing processes is insufficient and the market potential is huge. Real intelligent manufacturing should be realized through more technical work of large substation machinery.
Although robotics has been around for decades, it is a relatively new concept for some manufacturing companies. By freeing human workers from repetitive or dangerous tasks, robots have transformed manufacturing in countless positive ways. Robot-assisted manufacturing processes help increase productivity, increase profits, improve return on investment, increase workplace safety, and improve precision and objectivity.
The application of robots in the manufacturing process can be divided into three main categories: material handling, processing operations, and inspection. Robotic automation in manufacturing promises an efficient and reliable way of offshoring and filling skills gaps in areas where it is difficult to recruit the necessary workforce, thereby bringing strong business benefits. Additionally, fully autonomous robots in manufacturing are well-suited for high-volume, repetitive processes where speed, precision, and durability are important. On the other hand, when employees are freed from tasks that robots can effectively perform, they can use more energy and time to contribute knowledge and ideas in higher organizational roles.