Friday, April 12, 2024

Adaptive manufacturing enhances production flexibility

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Adaptive machine enables cost-effective mass customised products in lesser footprint

Production in manufacturing has always been centered on efficiency and economies of scale. However, flexibility is becoming the primary motivator for an increasing number of businesses when you consider the needs of today’s markets and consumers. A decade ago, we first heard about flexible manufacturing systems (FMS). These are systems built to handle multiple products on the same line. However, the items must be known ahead of time, and the procedure must take their needs into account.

Adaptive manufacturing introduces a whole new level of flexibility. It becomes feasible to switch batches quickly and easily, even instantaneously. With full control over individual products, you could change formats every cycle if you wanted. Adaptive manufacturing opens the door to handling unforeseen future products and running multiple Stock Keeping Units (SKU) in the same batch.

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Maximize productivity in less space

As the rapidly growing industry of packaging embraces digitalization, companies are looking for ways to make labor-intensive processes more productive and flexible without adding costly floor space. Flexibility is something you can achieve with servo controls alone. Adaptivity, on the other hand, includes a whole new set of capabilities that only emerge when you incorporate key enabling technologies like mechatronic transport, robotics, machine vision and simulation.

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Flexibility gives you freedom within certain boundaries, but with adaptive manufacturing, those boundaries no longer exist. Global trends have an impact on manufacturers, and changes in social and political contexts bring about changes to business models such as reshoring and new market entrants. These factors lead to the emergence of new markets, branching out from well-established domains into nearby areas. Thus, it challenges us to open our minds to new ways of thinking about how products are made, assembled, and packaged.

Manufacturers are increasing their Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) scores by 50% or more with adaptive manufacturing. That is because adaptive solutions impact all three OEE factors – availability, performance, and quality. By drastically reducing changeover times, they leave more availability for productive operation. By enabling parallelization of slower processing stations, they multiply performance with minimal added footprint. With electromagnetic diverters and high-performance machine vision, they improve quality by identifying and eliminating waste early and at full speed.

Mechatronics uplifting packaging industry

Nonetheless, manufacturing processes are facing ergonomic issues with their daily production hustles. A stir of fresh innovation to the face of manufacturing feels like a boost to combat laid-over issues. The weakest link in the chain determines the limits of many existing lines, which is a drawback. The processing station with the slowest data processing time decides their maximum speed. Whichever station is the bulkiest will determine how tight the product pitch can be. That is exactly what adaptive manufacturing lets significant advancement made possible by the removal of these barriers.

Innovative mechatronic systems from B&R enable cost-effective production of customized and small-batch goods. Workpieces are transported through a machine individually and independently of strict timing by ACOPOStrak, SuperTrak, and ACOPOS 6D. Unprecedented productivity is the outcome. These mechatronic systems can be fully integrated into any machine. This reduces the footprint of the line and improves processing precision. Individual processes can be perfectly coordinated with one another. External devices like robots can be synchronized in hard real-time. High-precision processing is even possible during product transport.

B&R’s mechatronic systems can be fully integrated into any machine. This lowers the line’s overall footprint while increasing processing accuracy. It is possible to precisely coordinate individual processes with one another. Robots and other external devices can be synchronized in real-time. It is even feasible to process in high precision while transporting a product. A machine that can automatically adapt to continuously changing products and requirements must be able to ‘see’. A vision system, which we have fully integrated into our control technology, serves as the third eye.

The editorial team of The Packman who handle all the press releases with Sunil Jain working as the desk editor.

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