Industry 4.0 (IIoT)

Cosmino sets You on the Path to Intelligent, Digital Manufacturing

Industry 4.0 (Industrial Internet of Things)

A significant majority of production companies are seeing exceptional opportunities for their sites in Germany thanks to digitalization and automation of manufacturing. Despite this, the motivation and need to take the initial steps in the direction of Industry 4.0 (IIoT) is lacking in many companies. The reason for this hesitation is that their recorded orders already have them working at full capacity and they do not have the specialists and capacity needed to add the required IT infrastructure.

However, experts are warning against delaying too long, because digitalizing and automating manufacturing cannot be accomplished in a single step. Plus, the market is already demanding increased flexibility and transparency in production. All companies should therefore begin considering how they can modify their production systems, such as by changing the order process in their supply chains in a timely manner.

Several production companies are already considering this issue, however only a fraction of them are actually taking action. They are benefiting from an increasing lead and have achieved competitive advantages.

Making Industry 4.0 (IIoT) become reality requires a great deal of thought. A finished Industry 4.0 (IIoT) solution is simply not available on the market, with the exception of several advertising offers.

The current state of research into Industry 4.0 can be seen at

COSMINO AG relies on the standards and reference architecture for Industry 4.0 as part of our customer product development.
Important drivers for progress include a variety of technologies that are being used increasingly in manufacturing operations.

The following material presents several examples of how new technologies and their benefits are being used in projects today:

In many industrial operations, the Cosmino software directs materials, products and containers through the manufacturing processes (e.g.: injection moulding, pressing, painting, assembling, packaging). In each step it is checked whether the previous processing was completed, took place in the correct order and was successful. Only then is the approval for the next processing stage issued or – at the end of the production process – shipping to the correct customer arranged.
Workflows contain switches, for example, when variations arise or in the case of post-production stages. It is also possible to remove or block units in the workflow with Cosmino.
Workflow stages can also be quality assessment or a background process such as printing labels or certificates to accompany the goods, a booking or ERP feedback.
Workflow controlling can also map each individual processing stage. This is above all important for assembly lines. Each assembly stage is introduced and visualised by the Cosmino software. The execution is tested and then the next stage is approved. The MES activates the tool required for the activity (e.g. the screwdriver) and checks whether the required torque was measured in the process. Thanks to machine memory instance, all these tests occur in milliseconds.
Even with a high number of variants, with workflow controlling, the zero-defect-tolerance for the customer is ensured.

The digital factory requires functioning and uniform communication of networked components. The reference architecture model for Industry 4.0 (RAMI 4.0) therefore requires a digital asset administration shell for each production component such as for a machine or tool, for example.
This approach was satisfied by the development of a Cosmino machine memory instance, which was developed as an independent and intelligent function module to pre-process data. This is a digital twin for individual, real objects, such as machines and products. All written data and an object’s respective characteristics are already held in its digital twin and made available in real time for all MES functions. The communication of software programmes with the machine memory instances occurs in milliseconds, so significantly faster than via the database. We intend to also allow external systems to communicate with this digital twin. As in the factory of the future, various systems can be used to fulfil MES tasks.

OPC UA creates the appropriate connection for secure, standardized exchange of information in communications between machines and components. For this reason, OPC UA is a decisive step in preparing the path to Industry 4.0 for us and many other experts.
OPC UA provides many advantages when for communications between plants. A scalable security design has also been developed for such usage.

Using OPC-UA for communications between machines is independent of the PLC systems. In particular with regard to large quantities of data (Big Data), OPC-UA provides advantages in communications between machines and MES. Values no longer need to be queried continuously (polling). The OPC UA client (MES) will log subscribe to some information detail of an OPC UA Server (i.e the PLC) just like one would do it with a newsletter. If the information (i.e. a produced quantity counter) changes its value, the client gets a message. (Subscription Service). This approach relieves the load on the transmission network and the databases.

In the Digital Factory, data will not only be collected but also distributed intelligently and automatically.

An example of this is the supply of tools (f.e. assembly tools) and machines with the correct adjustment parameters. Subsequently, it is checked that the adjustment parameters has also worked.

Since production procedures can supply data and start automatically, manual effort and faults are eliminated when transmitting default parameters.

Smartphones and tablets have many advantages in addition to mobility, which is why they can be used in manufacturing:

  1. Through their own personal use, employees are learning how to work with mobile end devices.
  2. Through mass production techniques, mobile end devices are a clearly less expensive, high-quality alternative to stationary industry monitors and PCs.
  3. All of the Cosmino dialogs for reports, analyses, real-time visualizations and entry screens are browser-based and can also be displayed on mobile devices in the local area network.

The use of mobile end devices has proven advantages on the shop floor:

  • When there are disruptions, the service workers can open the machine dialog directly on the mobile device and can review the description of the problem, the logged process and energy values and the event journal without being onsite. Thanks to this remote diagnostic, the problem can be resolved more easily and quickly with the right workers and the right tools onsite.
  • From the Shop Floor Management dialog, all figures, data and facts generated anywhere in the manufacturing system can be accessed from the mobile device. Even disruptions that just happened will be displayed to the Production Manager on the digital floor plan in real time and in a transparent manner.
  • Support is also provided for the continuous improvement process. Video clips and pictures make the description of problems easier, document the progress of measures and allow a detailed before-and-after comparison to be made afterwards and do it in multiple languages!

RFID has been in use in manufacturing plants for a long time. Using RFID, work items and containers can be identified automatically throughout the entire manufacturing process (Traceability).

The tools and personnel in use can also be automatically recognized using RFID. Manually logging personnel on to and off of tools at the workstation and for the order has become a thing of the past.

COSMINO AG is also currently participating in a research project, which will make automation of value stream analysis with the help of location services and software possible.

The question of how ideal software support in the manufacturing industry should appear can be answered quickly: One Dialog with all of the information and for all of the work being done.

Using Cosmino WorkerPoint has succeeded in creating an interface between people and MES. The online dialog that was given the Best of Industry award is a necessary tool for the shop floor.

Machines and sensor data can be securely adopted by an IIoT platform via IoT gateways. This cloud-based data management makes it possible to undertake performance reporting or advanced analytics, for example.
The information transfer to the IIoT platform or to the cloud does not take place in real time. MES tasks, such as directing the work and material flows or monitoring limit values for product and process parameters, also require a local MES module in the facility.
Nevertheless, available cloud platforms can be used as data sources for a local MES. Cosmino MES Plus validates the values adopted and forms semantic relationships. It is only in this way that objective indicators can be calculated and the production controlled while taking into account the relevant parameters. In the years to come, the consolidation of information from various databases and platforms will play a more crucial role than the actual writing of the data.

Storing and analysing large volumes of data, such as energy and process characteristics, requires significant expectations on the IT infrastructure. As well as cloud-based architecture, time series databases allow us to store time series-based data efficiently and at a relatively low cost. Individually developed machine learning algorithms make it possible to generate knowledge from this data in order to make predictions. Possible areas of application are predictive maintenance, smart manufacturing or anomaly detection, to which we are happy to contribute our know-how.
The storage of data in the cloud or time series database makes this data easily available for Cosmino functions and other software, yet also relieves the module operatively used by the Cosmino MES. Mass data must only be available to real-time-based MES applications which monitor, visualise and control production for a defined period of time. For control based on key indicators, it is sufficient merely to store average or shift values.

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