Industrie 4.0 has been created from a strategic German government project for the technological evolution and optimisation of industrial processes, aimed at implementing a detailed system that allows for maximum production efficiency, the best use of energy and the highest possible goods customisation even in a mass production context thanks to the adoption of four basic principles that are implemented in the Smart Factory:
• Cyber-Physical Systems (CPS): guaranteed interoperability thanks to a global network created by businesses that include machinery, logistics, structures and operators that are interconnected and continuously dialogue through the Internet of Things (IoT).
• Integration of data to the context: using information systems able to aggregate the raw data received directly from the machines during the production process in the full context, ever more timely needs can be fulfilled.
• Digital Interconnection during the entire process: from the end user to the manufacturer and vice versa, the process engineering allows for the customisation of the product through the system that independently collects the information needed to perform the required task.
• Decentralisation of decisions: thanks to the integration of their components and their connection, the CPS are able to perform their tasks autonomously notwithstanding exceptions, interferences or continent needs.
The integration between the production, distribution and information structures of the manufacturing industry is the key Smart Factory concept. Piovan has implemented this with the evolution of its process control and management software based on the Industrie 4.0 guidelines, creating communication networks with an exchange capacity well ahead of schedule (2020) to allow for connections between the various parts of the technological ecosystem.
Winfactory 4.0 uses OPC - UA (Open Platform Communication - Unified Architecture), the protocol selected by Industrie 4.0 before issuing the Smart Factory specifications. Thanks to the use of this protocol, Winfactory 4.0 makes it possible to supervise and ensure dialogue between Piovan machines and machines of other manufacturers (OEM). There is no longer the need for an interface that “translates” the data provided by each device into a common format: the information exchange becomes immediate and the various systems can interact independently. A similar communication platform allows access and use of the software on tablets and smartphones, despite the complexity of the technological challenge that Piovan undertook, Winfactory 4.0 allows the utmost flexibility in managing equipment and processes.
In parallel with the development of Winfactory 4.0, Piovan created a group of integrated functions that allow for the control of very accurate operative parameters to be used to manage factory energy sources: knowing how and why they are used for each individual process based on the production volumes, the efficiency level of their use is determined. The data volumes necessary to identify the KPI and best practices to adopt to optimise energy consumption, just one of the factors that greatly influences production costs, can be collected quickly from various factories that are far from one another. This is the Big Data collection and analysis concept, made sector-specific to meet the needs of Piovan’s clients.
Based on the type of industrial process, Winfactory 4.0 can be configured in several ways. Piovan developed different modules to manage each situation, from the production of PET preforms & bottles to that of flexible film, or for specific sectors like the medical one or the automotive industry, with completely configurable setups. The Energy license is not specific for the plastic sector, it is for a broader use and is focused on monitoring the utilization of energy of any industrial machinery or equipment. Based on the type of industry and application, the Energy license can also be integrated in all Winfactory 4.0 configurations.
The possibilities of Winfactory are further extended by a series of optional and on-demand functions and services like, for example, tracking, OPC-UA Server, remote assistance, line power, formula, production and necessary material reordering management. The system itself automatically manages the use of the lines based on what and how much must be produced, for example, by selecting to maintain the lowest possible critical level. For example, producing a lot with a certain formula is more convenient if it can be done at a factory that was already used for the same type of mix since the there are fewer interventions necessary to clean the machines.
With the installation of the OPC-UA protocol, both the basic and additional Winfactory 4.0 features can be made available on the machines, systems and automation devices not produced by Piovan and can interface directly with the management system at the individual plant as well as the company network. In this way, information can be shared between the various systems and data can be collected to optimise the processes, creating the Smart Factory of the fourth industrial revolution.