Several people are talking about smart manufacturing and it also goes by other names like the Internet of Things (IoT), Industrial IoT and Industry 4.0. The term IoT was firstly coined by Peter T. Lewis in 1985 to describe the integration of people, process as well as technology with connectable devices and sensors to enable remote monitoring, status, manipulation as well as evaluation of trends of such devices.
So, the term has been around for a long duration but the concept still continue to develop and also evolve as technology continues to advance via new hardware such as sensors and through the collection and analysis of data. So, it is crucial to know how the advancement in smart manufacturing affected the plastic injection molding. This article will address the smart manufacturing in plastic injection molding so as to keep the reader informed.
Smart factories make use of smart manufacturing to gain production efficiencies, improve the production quality and reduce time to market. Machine can now communicate failure point and also collect data which can be used to enhance predictive as well as preventive maintenance thereby improving uptime. Data analysis is used to predict and also prevent failure, this indicate when intervention is required and also recommends the appropriate corrective measure to take. Troubleshooting is more effective thereby benefiting the customer as well as the manufacturers.
The entire concept of smart manufacturing in injection molding revolves around the collection and analysis of data. Sensors collect the data and networks transport the data. If a device or piece of equipment on the floor is standalone, it won’t contribute to the collective knowledge of the smart factory. Devices as well as machinery equipped with sensors have the ability to monitor, collect, exchange and also analyse data without human intervention. The sensor collect data and also communicate appropriate information within and outside the plant faster to as to make decision taking easier.
Every device with the ability to gather intelligence needs to be on a backbone of some type that allows it to produce data or have data pulled out of it. New sensor network can also be established or add data networking to an existing device. The objective of injection molding is to connect the equipment on the plant floor to a network which can monitor, measure, store and also retrieve data.
Regarding the data itself, it is crucial to make decision which will make the sensor for the injection molder. How and where to house the data is one decision which need to be made, data security is very essential and this is why data need to be stored off premises, remote connectivity and how to safely get into your system from the outside needs to be addressed.
Since the plastic production sector is the largest sector in the manufacturing industry, it warrants special consideration in the IIoT because this impacts manufacturers as well as their customers. In terms of injection molding complex components, the data which is gathered and analysed can help in ensuring maximum repeatability in the injection molding process, consistent quality as well as low defects. Additionally, the data likewise helps to determine preventive machine maintenance which helps in avoiding unplanned downtime.
From the customer’s point of view, smart manufacturing will provide several benefits for communication as well as visibility. Machine data collection as well as reporting also gives the customer important timing information on the product as well as production order status.
This will likewise help to improve productivity in the plastic injection molding sector as technology, sensors as well as systems continue to evolve so as to benefit the customers and molders.