Application examples: Education and training, Manufacturing industry
Product examples: Automation components, Mechatronic systems, Production services, Software solutions
Value creation: Production & supply chain, Service, Logistics
Development stage: Demonstrator, Market launch/piloting, Market-ready/productive use
Company size: 1 - 250 employees
Region: Hesse


© Smart Electronic Factory e. V.

What were the challenges to be solved and what specific benefits were achieved?

Smart Electronic Factory e. V. (SEF) has set itself the goal of researching the requirements of Industrie 4.0 in the electronics segment, developing solutions and making them available for other industries as well. Among other things, machine processes are to be optimized and statements about process-specific problems are to be made. For this, a unique industry 4.0 evaluation environment was created at the Limtronik factory in Limburg an der Lahn. In the future, the system will not only record errors and document them with the aid of quality reports, but will also be able to automatically identify the causes of self-learning systems in order to be able to intervene early in the production process. The focus is on a best possible and error-free output (product quantity) for a batch of 1 in the real SmartFactory.

The chances of the Smart Electronic Factory are, above all, the fact that powerful correlation analyzes allow automatic conclusions to be drawn about the process-related fault cause. On the one hand, this can lead to unnecessary costs in the production process (misperformance costs); on the other hand, the companies benefit from a considerable increase in the output.

In order to integrate the Industrie 4.0 application scenarios into a real factory and to check their practical feasibility, the Smart Electronic Factory combines software, drive, control technology and equipment manufacturers. They develop the application scenarios together on the basis of state-of-the-art communication technologies in order to meet the international platform-independent IT standards.

What could be achieved?

The work of Smart Electronic Factory has made it possible to achieve 100% traceability while adhering to all compliance requirements. Furthermore, an intelligent goods receipt station as well as a system with "plug and produce" components were developed in order to be able to integrate all non-cloud-capable machines. In addition, a system was established to equip older machines with sensors and actuators (drive elements), which enable relevant data to be collected for production and made available in the Manufacturing Execution System (MES).

Due to the continuous analysis of quality, process and machine data, errors can be detected automatically. In this way, an intelligent Big Data Analytics control loop is to be created by means of linked mechanisms of the process interlock in order to minimize the error performance.

So far, the software and hardware components iTAC.MES.Suite and the of iTAC Software AG have been integrated into the primary production process of Limtronik.

The prototypes of the individual devices were manufactured in the evaluation environment in Limburg.

What measures have been taken to achieve the solution?

The various components such as plant modules, scanners and sensors from Limtronik are coupled via devices and standardized system interfaces, among other things to solve the interface problem with which the electronics industry is struggling in daily practice. The process and machine data of the individual system modules are supplemented by measured values ​​of process-related sensors that measure, among other things, temperature and humidity. They are captured via a sensor device and fed to the mechanisms of the error detection analysis.

According to the slate calendar and the operational resources, an advanced planning and scheduling system (APS) takes over the scheduling of orders. In doing so, it considers, for example, machine and material availability and the planned production. In addition, data from the MES is used to react almost real-time to the manufacturing process.

But a major challenge remains: the organization of autonomous ad-hoc networking requires manufacturer-independent communication standards, which can only be defined with the support of the individual equipment manufacturers. It is therefore necessary to analyze whether and to what extent individual standards and communication protocols can be interwoven into electronics manufacturing.