„Use digital technology to exploit potentials“
Increase productivity with Industry 4.0
Otto Bihler Maschinenfabrik offers a wide range of products and services to ensure the success of the Digital Transformation and bring about fully networked manufacturing solutions based on the Industry 4.0 principle. These include intelligent, self-controlling machines as well as full data availability for all processes, combined with innovative online support services. With these, it is now possible to efficiently take advantage of the potentials that lie dormant in practically every enterprise. At the same time, however, they ensure that all users are also perfectly equipped for the smart production of the future.
Digitalization based on theIndustry 4.0 principle and the transformation to fully networked, highly automated manufacturing solutions is moving on apace. The focus is placed on the digital networking of products, machines, people and processes and consequently on cross-system data use – with a clear aim and enormouspotential: “The aim of the Digital World, in combination with the Industry 4.0 concept, is to generate productivity. This is only possible if processes are equipped with intelligence, depicted digitally and transparently, and are combined with business and economic data. It then quickly becomes clear just by looking where wastage and inefficiencies occur and where it is possible to find potential for optimization that can be exploited using suitable measure,” explains Mathias Bihler. “Overall, it is then possible to generate the greatest possible efficiency, which is a vital necessity when you consider the competitive global environment. Ithink that by integrating the digital world, all companies can increase their efficiency by an average of 20 percent.”
Highly intelligent systems
Otto Bihler Maschinenfabrik is already in an outstanding position to open up potentials of this type and implement the corresponding digital strategies. This starts with the system itself, which possesses a high-level of built-in intelligence. For example, a Bihler BIMERIC processing and assembly center makes independent decisions and can produce multiple components in alternation depending on the current situation. The integrated monitoring and inspection systems use control circuits to make the system into a self-regulating, selfcontrolling unit which therefore precisely corresponds to the principles of the Industry 4.0 concept. In addition, each new system is planned at a fully digital level and is therefore available as a digital model – in the form of a digital twin – from the very beginning.
Unrestricted availability of data
This maximum level of digitalization also makes it possible to network the system and integrate it in intelligent manufacturing environments. The basis for this is data. And this is fully available on all Bihler systems and, in principle, for each individual component of the system. The MES system, in combination with the VariControl control platform, provides a selection of important real-time parameters. In a visual display, it clearly shows where and in which processes there is a possibility of malfunction and therefore permits the targeted implementation of optimization measures. However, all users are also able to call up additional system data that is of particular value to them via the OPC/UA interface and, for example, link this data to their ERP system or simply use it in the scope they require for their own componentdependent IT and software architectures. In this way, they can perfectly map the networking of processes in accordance with the Industry 4.0 principle and obtain and use valuable information about the quality of the produced parts or the reproducibility of processes.
Digital services as a solution for practical applications
As a pioneer in the digital transformation, Bihler also already offers extremely practical, digital services and support to ensure optimum system performance at the customer’s site. This includes, for example, the remote maintenance portal. This is a fullynetworked remote service solution which analyzes and, if necessary, optimizes all network modules reliably, transparently and flexibly. It uses a wide range of communication technologies operating at maximum bandwidth to permit in-depth remote diagnostics and ensurethe rapid, reliable elimination of potential sources of malfunction and error. “Each system and each of its stations has its own specific constant characteristic values. Thanks to remote maintenance, we can quickly see whether these characteristics have changed and where we need to initiate preventive maintenance in order to prevent a machine stoppage,” explains Mathias Bihler.
Bihlerplanning web app
The “Bihlerplanning” web app is another modern, digital and highly productive tool. This free app provides valuable support during the tasks of parts planning and offer creation as well as during the design of tools for stamped and bended parts made from strip and wire material. The entire process from the Leantool-based standard parts through tool manufacture itself and on to the final production of the parts is fully digitalized and is therefore an outstanding example of the successful digital transformation at Otto Bihler Maschinenfabrik. Consequently, the “Bihlerplanning” web app, which is now already employed by more than 750 professional users, will therefore serve as the template and basis for other Bihler web apps in the future, for example for welding, thread cutting or assembly.
Together toward an end-to-end process
All users that are implementing the Digital Transformation in their own companies and want to open up the considerable potentials discussed above will find the perfect partner in Bihler. “We are able to provide help and advice all the way from the strip or wire semifinished product right through to the finished article. Thisalso involves networking our systems with the upstream and downstream operating steps,” emphasizes Mathias Bihler. “Ultimately, this results in an end-to-end, transparent overall process with a perfect materials flow that permits highly efficient, requirements-oriented manufacturing.” The consulting services and assistance provided by Bihler can be called on just as much to optimize existing production units as they can to plan entirely new projects. In this context, the many examples of best practices that demonstrate the successful implementation of digital processes and strategies at Bihler in a concrete, easy-to-follow way are particularly valuable. However, an extremely trust-based approach is also vitally important because digitalization makes the involvement of each and every party transparent.
High-performance, future-oriented solutions
“We must work together honestly and openly if we want to bring about high-performance, future-oriented solutions that guarantee our longterm market success,” explains Matthias Bihler. “And in this context, it is becoming ever more important to make ourown service and product portfolio available globally and in real time.” At the same time, the combination of automation and digital services will lead to even more intelligent production systems that operate fully autonomously in the future. With our current technology and methodology, we are already on the right path and will of course continue to pursue this direction of development purposefully and consistently.”