The buzzword “Industry 4.0” has established itself as a hot topic in the daily press − and rightly so, because the process of technological transformation that it represents has a tremendous role to play in the future development of industry. We currently find ourselves at the beginning of the fourth industrial revolution. The extensive collection and use of data, connectivity and the direct exchange of information among machinery, components and products all stand to shape industry in the years ahead. At STIHL, this future has long since started to become reality.
Industry 4.0 – thanks to new technologies
The digital, connected world continues to make ever greater inroads into the production of goods. In the personal realm, we are already familiar with this process, where information and communications technology connects a wide range of areas in our everyday lives. Roller shutters can be opened and closed using a smartphone, for example, and users can retrieve digital manuals and timetables by scanning a QR code. What’s more, cars are coming equipped with an increasing number of electronic components and sensors. They can maintain a constant distance to the vehicle ahead, lock safety belts when brakes are applied forcefully and call for help in an emergency. The impact of these new technologies also extends to production. In this context, it is called Industry 4.0.
Four Industry 4.0 examples at STIHL
STIHL is also taking advantage of the new opportunities, which means that Industry 4.0 has already become a reality at various production stations.
When it comes to synthetics injection moulding, the optimum setting is achieved through communications using a radio-frequency identification − or RFID − chip in the processing tool at the machine. This simplifies the set-up process.
A continuous analysis of process data from the quench press in the guide bar production revealed that the oxygen level in the kiln was too high. Optimising these levels will now prevent costly downtime.
The workpiece carrier is controlled in assembly using an RFID chip. The workpiece carrier drives itself to the correct workstation and automatically requests the individual process data for processing.
Self-monitoring of energy consumption occurs as part of the process of generating compressed air. If power usage suddenly spikes, the factory planning unit receives an automatic error message from the compressor and can correct the device’s malfunctioning control unit. This prevents unnecessary expenses when generating compressed air, reduces energy consumption and helps protect the environment.