PASO ROBLES, Calif. & ORLANDO, Fla.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Three years ago, Industry 4.0 represented the future for most plastics manufacturers attending NPE. Today, in the halls of NPE2018, the world’s largest plastics trade show and conference, all evidence points to Industry 4.0 becoming a day-to-day reality for manufacturers, according to IQMS. A leading manufacturing ERP software and manufacturing execution system (MES) authority, has been meeting with plastics manufacturers and machine makers attending NPE2018, which runs May 7-11, 2018 at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida.
Industry 4.0 represents the merging of automation and data exchange in manufacturing technologies—harnessing computing and shop floor equipment to create smart factories that maximize productivity, drive new cost efficiencies, and enable better decision-making. From machine makers’ demonstrations on the floor of NPE2018 and discussions with plastics manufacturers, IQMS has made three key observations on Industry 4.0’s move into the mainstream.
Shop floor machinery has met the digital age. Three years ago, the hype was that production processes, machinery and robotics would all be online under the watchful eye of ERP and MES analytics that alert operators to issues. Today, integrated machines and software are working in concert to drive plastics manufacturers’ processes, and working well. One example at NPE2018 has been the highly attended live demo of data being captured from seven Wittmann Battenfeld injection molding machines and then integrated in real time with IQMS ERP and MES software to drive more efficient processes and provide up-to-the moment insights.
Digital molding technologies are driving the direction of the industry. Notably, they have led to a resurgence of hydraulic injection molding machines. The digital control of hydraulic systems has cut energy waste to rival the energy efficiency of electric molding machines. At the same time, hydraulic molding machines are preserving their traditional advantages, including greater clamp force, faster injection rates, and high durability.
Track-and-trace approaches are becoming industry-wide best practices. Once regarded as a critical requirement for highly regulated markets, such as medical products, food and beverage, and automotive, track-and-trace technology is being employed by plastics manufacturers across a range of industries. Pulling data from machines on the shop floor, track-and-trace software gives manufacturers the intelligence they need to minimize the impact of defective parts on production and recalls; reduce waste, and meet auditing and compliance demands.
“Automating not only the shop floor builds quality and predictability into the manufacturing environment; it also reduces labor costs and helps our customer compensate for the shortage of skilled manufacturing workers,” said Steve Bieszczat, IQMS CMO. “At NPE2018, the demand among plastics manufacturers for solutions that deliver the automation and data capture of Industry 4.0 has never been stronger. We’ve seen several attendees visit both the IQMS and Wittmann Battenfeld booths to see the data exchange between their machines and our ERP and MES software in action. And at the IQMS booth, our MES and shop floor technologies are the most popular products for both existing and prospective customers.”
IQMS and Wittmann Battenfeld Demo: Smart Manufacturing in Action
Throughout NPE2018, a live demo of smart manufacturing in action is being presented at the NPE2018 booths for both IQMS (#S20023) and leading injection molding equipment manufacturer Wittmann Battenfeld (#W3742).
Together, the companies are showing how product and process data is collected with the WITTMANN 4.0 Plug and Produce production network hierarchy from injection molding machines and peripheral devices, including dryers, robots, temperature controllers, and blenders. They also are demoing how, via the industry-standard OPC Unified Architecture (OPC UA) and Euromap 63 industrial automation protocol, this part and process data is brought into the greater context of the business with a seamless integration into IQMS ERP and MES software.
Finally, the demo examines how IQMS software is used to monitor product and process efficiency and quality, improve overall equipment effectiveness (OEE), and optimize customer order planning and fulfillment, among other processes.
IQMS uniquely combines ERP and MES functionality to give manufacturers a comprehensive end-to-end suite for running the business, backed by the real-time performance and scalability that companies demand. Developed specifically for mid-market repetitive, discrete and batch process manufacturers, IQMS provides robust capabilities for addressing strict customer and regulatory certification and compliance. IQMS achieves this by delivering traditional ERP functionality for accounting, sales orders, material requirements, inventory, and purchasing, plus extended native features for CRM, human resources, production scheduling, shop floor control, warehouse and quality modules. With offices across North America, Europe, and Asia, IQMS serves manufacturers around the world. For more information, please visit https://www.iqms.com.
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