Small or medium-sized businesses are still hesitant: topics like Industrie 4.0, Internet of Things, Smart Factory, Cyber Physical Systems or Cloud Computing are met with scepticism from small and medium-sized enterprises (SME). Dr. Jürgen Bischoff, head of the “Industrie 4.0 in small or medium-sized businesses” study warns: “Small or medium-sized businesses are in fear of being left behind in digitalization and networking of production if they do not relinquish their restraint.” Agiplan GmbH from Mülheim an der Ruhr, Germany carried out the study on behalf of the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy. “Entrance scenarios that fit to the respective company” are what is needed.
Analytics provider Techconsult also determined in its “Small or medium-sized businesses Business Performance Index (BPI) 2014” that almost two-thirds of the mid-size manufacturers in German-speaking countries still have not heard of Industrie 4.0. There is no getting around the topic. Management consultancy PwC has predicted 40 billion euro in investments in applications of Industrie 4.0 for German companies. By 2020, 80% of industrial companies could have their value chains digitized and reach improvements in efficiency of just under 20%.
What provides real-world benefits?
You can say what you like on paper. In practice, companies are asking about concepts that create benefits. TDM Systems works intensively on the integration, networking and digitalization in the area of tool management. The products are positioned at the decisive interfaces between production and the commercial area.
For Vice President Sales Eugen Bollinger, Industrie 4.0 is “a continuous development in the system landscape, which above all means networking.” The goal is to extract information from a machine tool using its tools and fixtures, and to forward and evaluate this information using the “Internet of Things”. According to Bollinger, “the challenge is to process this wealth of information, also known as ‘Big Data’, so that the end user can start something useful with it.”
Industrie 4.0 - a continuous development in the system landscape, which above all, means networking.
Vice President Sales TDM Systems
Tool Data Management as an integrator
TDM Systems is therefore currently developing from a pure tool data to a Tool Lifecycle Management company. “We support and network technical and economic departments that previously had few contact points due to fundamentally different structures and processes.” Tool Data Management is suitable for this purpose because it is located exactly between both worlds and can integrate them. Bollinger says, “this starts at the design of the workpiece, continues through the NC planning and simulation and continues all the way to job preparation and the physical organization of the tool cycle on the shop floor level.”
The acquired data can be used, for example, to help create production suitable CAD models in the design phase or NC programs with feeds and speeds that ensure a reliable process. “TDM provides the necessary parameters, which are called connectors, to the respective systems via interfaces. TDM receives technological information from the machine via the corresponding machine connections and Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES).”
TDM Global Line connects locations worldwide
Industrie 4.0 goes way beyond the individual company. The software module TDM Global Line therefore enables a decisive step. “This offers particular advantages to manufacturing companies with global production sites,” explains Eugen Bollinger. Tool data and graphics are on the company’s own central server or on the server of a service provider in the cloud.
It is critical that all data, even complex 3D data thanks to a new software architecture and higher data compression, is available at any production location worldwide via a click, even in locations with a weak Internet connection. Bollinger says, “this allows our customers to enhance their central application to all plants” – completely in line with a software-as-a-service (SaaS) application in the cloud.
New software generation supports Industrie 4.0
The mobile tablet solution TDM Global Line Flex Crib is a browser-driven add-on that enables the visualization of tool items and tool assemblies (master data and 2D/3D graphics), the implementation of issuing dialogs, also with a scan function and the visualization of issuing lists.
This allows the tool usage to be recorded centrally in the connected plants using the issuing functions in the first module Global Line 1.0. Bollinger is confident that TDM Global Line will accelerate the data transfer of international industrial manufacturing companies extremely. “This is made possible by a new generation of software and application technology – an important step towards the future.”