Fiam Thinking

Industry 4.0: what does it mean to be a Smart Factory?

Since Industry 4.0 has become a daily topic nowadays, in this article we will elaborate the argument and discover what does it mean to be a Smart Factory.

Digital revolution of the industry

The word Industry 4.0 was born during the Hannover Fair in 2011 and it has been realized with the project for the industry’s future and for the German production system’s modernization at the end of 2013. From this initiative emerged the European Commission’s plan Industry 4.0 that will fund 50 billion euro overall until 2020 for the digital industrial revolution.

Germany, centre of this European revolution, has pushed the industrial automation to integrate in its processes new production technologies in order to improve work conditions and to raise the productivity and the quality of the production plants.

In recent years also France has taken some measures to encourage companies to match and to accelerate the modernization of the production system of plants threatened by the risk of obsolescence.

Also Italy is moving towards this thanks to the recent Law of Stability, while the United Kingdom seems to be a few steps back on these issues. On the contrary, in the United States Industry 4.0 still represents an alternative model since their production system focuses on products instead of processes.

Targets of the Industry 4.0

The Industry 4.0 plan aims to promote a new stage of the digitalization of industries that should lead to a growth in productivity and to a cost reduction. With the term Industry 4.0 therefore, we refer to a series of changes in production. This revolution concerns:

  • The use of data that comes from machines as a means to create value. The machines connected to the plant’s system under different levels (from the simple I/O signals to the Ethernet connections) can indeed provide real time information regarding the production cycles’ trends.
  • The analysis of the information collected. The control of the so-called “Big Data” can optimize and add value to the already known production processes and discover other ones on which it is worth investing
  • The man-machine relationship, that is how we communicate with machines, tools, interfaces and different languages
  • The bridge between digital and real in production of goods and services. Once we’ve the data analysed and processed and made them tools able to “educate” machines, last step is to adapt the methods and the tools to produce goods. We refer in this case to robots, interactions between machines etc.

Industry 4.0 is a reality towards which the companies are increasingly getting closer to reach the undeniable benefits of a Smart Factory – an intelligent factory – where technology becomes an enabling element in obtaining an interconnected plant, smarter and more performing thanks to a better collaboration between man and machine.

What is it like to be a Smart Factory? Fiam’s answer

Industry 4.0 marks the development of a decentralized industry, where processes are controlled and corrected automatically and where the production systems’ performances are intended to improve, in order to take advantage from new technologies and to use them in a more profitable and efficient way. Last but not least, Industry 4.0 is also committed in making processes smarter, by facilitating more and more the use of tools by the end user.

Fiam’s tightening solutions increasingly meet this philosophy and become flexible for these requirements. All Fiam’s solutions that can connect with the plant’s system are to be intended Industry 4.0. And this doesn’t refer only to tightening automation (i.e. tightening automatic machines or auto feed tightening system MCA) or to high tech DC screwdrivers like the CB and XPAQ, that are in fact solutions already prepared in origin to be connected with the plant’s system. We also refer to air manual screwdrivers that can ensure the monitoring and data collection about the tightening process when interfaced, for example, to a TOM (Tightening Operation Monitor) unit.

The principles of a Smart Factory refer to at least three aspects: smart production, that involves new production technologies to improve the collaboration between operator, machines and tools; smart services, which affect all the “IT infrastructure” and techniques able to integrate systems and companies (suppliers-customers) between them and with the external structures (streets, waste management, hub etc.); smart energy, that is the constant attention to energy consumption, sustainability and the performances of the systems used.

Innovation of the production systems and tax concessions

The production systems’ innovation can benefit from some tax concessions linked to the use of these technologies and encouraged by European governments for the economic growth. The European plan for the Industry 4.0 forms part of this landscape of tax concessions up to 2020. Concerning tax concessions in Italy, we recall that the latest Law of Stability includes:

  • The Super Depreciation: 140% for the acquisition of machines/production tools which may be used inside the production process
  • The Hyper Depreciation: 250% valid only for some types of machines/production tools

All Fiam’s solutions are included in the Super Depreciation, while only some of them respond to the strict conditions required for the facilities offered by the Hyper Depreciation. Discover which of them by calling us for more information at this number: +39 444 385000

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