Solutions for Industry 4.0 presented by Mitsubishi Electric at SPS IPC Drives 2016

Mitsubishi Electric

At the forthcoming SPS IPC Drives Expo Mitsubishi Electric is showcasing a portfolio of integrated automation components and services developed to help customers realise their individual business objectives. Visitors to this year’s booth can explore new application solutions that enable the automation and digitalisation of industrial processes and also exchange ideas with the respective technology experts.

Nowadays, companies are facing a wide range of challenges: growing global competition, customer requirements changing more frequently than ever and an ongoing digitalisation of our world. To keep pace, decision makers within manufacturing industry must consider new approaches in order to keep their business models relevant. The crucial factor for success is to remain competitive by reducing the cost and time-to-market for new products by using faster, more flexible and efficient production systems.

“As for Mitsubishi Electric Factory Automation, we have recognised the growth potential offered by new technologies, digitalisation and the increasing pace of change. Our business model has been updated accordingly with the changes consolidated and represented by the e-F@ctory concept.” reports Hartmut Pütz, President Factory Automation EMEA at Mitsubishi Electric.

“We have also learned that close cooperation with other companies from different industry sectors speeds up development and introduces valuable new ideas. For this reason the e-F@ctory Alliance has been established, a partner network of more than 300 companies working together on a worldwide level. These companies represent different backgrounds within the value chain: from devices and system integration to software providers. Together, we are more competitive as we are able to provide our customers with better solutions for their individual requirements.” explains Hartmut Pütz.

Mitsubishi Electric’s booth space will be dedicated to showcasing technical innovations which address different application demands on a production level, alongside specific sector solutions for Automotive, Food & Beverage, Water Utilities and Life Science. All exhibits are aligned with meeting increased overall efficiency and cost reduction targets, while providing the answers to specific challenges such as, traceability, quality, safety and sustainability.

Addressing the challenges of Industry 4.0 today

Many of the solutions that will be on show have been developed together with partner companies from the e-F@ctory Alliance, such as Auvesy, Datalogic and Eplan. These solutions comprise the latest developments for smart PLCs, robots, servo systems, single platform PLC based CNC control and network technologies.

Faster machine integration

Production line integration of machines is an area where huge savings can be made right now in terms of programming and commissioning. For example Mitsubishi Electric will be demonstrating two solutions that deliver faster development, reduced commissioning time and reduced life-cycle costs. First is the latest PLCopen suite that can be used to harmonise logic, motion, safety, communication and data exchange within a connected automation system. Second is the PackML OEM Template Package: a PackML compliant program with full documentation for fast, reliable implementation on any machine or production line based on an iQ Platform PLC from Mitsubishi Electric.

Predictive maintenance

Working with e-F@ctory Alliance member Schaeffler has also produced an online solution for preventive maintenance based on a smart condition monitoring device and Mitsubishi Electric developed software. The solution provides a convenient and easy to install package that connects seamlessly to factory automation and management systems. Users gain independent visibility of the health and maintenance status of rotating equipment such as motors, gearboxes, pumps and fans, enabling them to reduce down-time and increase production efficiency with a short ROI.

The model variant FR-A800E is a new introduction to the recently launched FR-A800 range of drives. The ‘E’ version provides a dedicated Ethernet port which enables direct connection to increasingly popular Ethernet networks for control of inverters within a larger automation network. There is also a new iPhone App available with this model that provides flexible access and control while on the move.

Optimised supply chain

The company’s latest Guided Operator Solutions system demonstrates how to improve quality and performance in manual picking processes, line side assembly processes and hand assembly manufacturing cells. The system uses a PLC to coordinate indicator lights, touch sensors, light curtains, door mechanisms and HMI screens in order to effectively sequence manual tasks. Eliminating human mistakes is one of the main quality challenges facing manufacturing industry today and this solution has already proved extremely effective at solving this issue in various manufacturing applications in the electronics, industrial and automotive sectors.

Approaching the Internet of Things

Recent estimates already put the number of devices that are connected to the internet at about 5 billion and this likely to soar over the next few years. Combine that prediction with the amount of data that is being generated and processed by a more connected factory, and access to fast as well as secure data storage is now crucial for effective automation deployment. In this context a solution for achieving safe, convenient access to Cloud connectivity at device level was always going to prove popular.

Mitsubishi Electric is therefore offering different options for manufacturing companies to make use of all the benefits resulting from Cloud Computing and secure data storage. The solution is called Edge computing and can be realised using different combinations of products and technologies provided by Mitsubishi Electric and e F@ctory Alliance partners Adroit Technologies or eWon. Together, they offer managed connections to existing cloud services and therefore provide maximum flexibility.

Hartmut Pütz’s final comments: “Manufacturing is undoubtedly in the midst of a revolution; with the vision of achieving Industry 4.0 on the horizon and the IIoT already making a big impact on how companies invest in technology, there is now more focus on technology, communications and the future within industry than ever before. Together we are transforming the structure, systems, and processes of the modern factory as we re-think business models and try to predict where best to direct our investment in technology to improve performance. Understanding how new and existing technologies will increase performance, while weighing the value of achieving that performance gain against the cost of the technology is a critical decision. This is why we have brought together a range of new products, new solutions and practical real-life demonstrations to share with visitors on our stand.”

Visitors to the show can see examples of these solutions and talk to Mitsubishi Electric experts in Nuremberg, Germany 22-24.11.2016, Hall 7 – Stand 391.