25.01.2021
With automation concepts, data management and individualized application go hand in hand

Data management systems as the guiding authority in production and intralogistics

As the level of automation in production and intralogistics increases, so do the demands for transparency and reliability. This is how TIM – the industry-independent TRAPO Intelligent Management System – came into being as a reliable link to the production facilities. Since then, management-relevant figures of the entire plant can be retrieved at any time and contribute directly to plant optimization and increased results. The actual data analysis can be used uniformly – with restricted authorizations for the respective user level.

Clear decision for companies with overall plant expertise

No fewer than five driverless transport systems are in parallel operation at a renowned manufacturer in the dairy industry. They transport cheese from packaging to storage. The decision was consciously made in favor of an automation partner with established expertise in complete systems. In production, the high-performance layer palletizer already corresponds with the Trapo Transport Shuttle series (TTS) from TRAPO AG. And there were further reasons why the contract was awarded to the company based in Gescher-Hochmoor in Westphalia: The manufacturer has already had its own stainless steel production facility for over 50 years and specializes in the automation of high-care areas. In addition, TIM controls and monitors the automated processes between production and warehouse. Step by step, in addition to the palletizer and the TTS, third-party systems are also integrated into the sophisticated concept.

The higher-level system acts both as a “traffic light circuit” and as a route manager so that the TTSs operate safely and efficiently alongside and with each other. In the process, the mobile transport systems replace rigid conveyor technology – for more flexibility and higher space utilization. The route manager manages the tasks, selects a free TTS, calculates the most favorable route and sends the TTS on its way.

Continuously optimizing production processes thanks to data analyses

In the context of individual automation concepts, workers are relieved of their workload, because strenuous or monotonous activities pose risks when performed routinely – for the integrity of the human being and the reproducible quality of the product. Here, the automation of given processes leads to a considerable increase in machine and overall plant performance, with costs falling in parallel. The worker still carries out important activities – including the elimination of faults on the plant and the planning and execution of maintenance and repair tasks.

A flexibly configurable data management system clearly brings its added value to bear: Ideally, such a solution provides management-relevant sales and production figures as well as detailed information on plant conditions at a glance and via the cloud in real time. For users, it also proves valuable when they achieve an optimization of the energy requirement, a higher utilization and, as a consequence, a decisive plus in the process efficiency of their plants through the logging of parameter changes and a performance comparison based on the changes.

In addition, the increase in earnings forms another core aspect of modern data management systems. In addition to the yield-optimized expansion of production times, advanced systems score points with effective time management, at the same time enabling cost reductions and guaranteeing the permanently high quality of the products thanks to automated processes.

Improving production processes and planning personnel deployment for the long term

The transparency and virtually unlimited analysis options offered by a data management system such as TIM are particularly useful for companies with global operations: At any time, key figures can be collected from all plants across locations, comparatively evaluated and production can be controlled on the basis of real-time data.

In order for the change to meet the individual conditions of each plant, it is essential that a data management system allows for flexible adaptation and company-specific configurable queries. In addition to the definition of interfaces to third-party systems, there are also far-reaching import and export functionalities, including connection to the ERP systems commonly used throughout the industry. One advantage of TIM: The user receives clearly defined data queries from a single source; there is only one cloud-based database with clear access rights for each user group. In this way, the user company ensures that employees always have access to the information they need for their daily work.

As an important tool of a coherent automation concept, the management level uses relevant data consistently on plant conditions and sub-plants. This data can be used to derive specific optimizations within production in order to keep entire plants running at peak performance on a permanent basis. Also in view: Sales and production figures as well as individual evaluations. Thanks to the data management system, the operators at the machine receive optimum online support. This means that information on operating resources, subsystems and system statuses is available at all times. Service, maintenance and spare parts management can be carried out proactively, saving time and money.

Planning personnel deployment and maintenance with foresight

The internal focus of automated companies rests on predictive maintenance: Reliable spare parts and preventive service ensures high plant availability, prevents downtime and production losses. In addition to the display of due maintenance tasks, this includes the definition of error sources or performance degradation within the overall plant as well as early notification of potential wear parts – including information on replacement intervals.

To optimize user-friendliness and transparency, TIM provides machine data and, if desired, a digital shopping cart as a reliable IT backbone. Both with regard to preventive maintenance and real-time interventions, the TIM system solution scores with its warning function: as soon as performance drops during production, the personnel at the machine receive a warning, including a definition of the affected part or fault.

As an innovative, digital interface, TIM redefines the concept of service and qualifies as a reliable guiding instance for man and machine in order to achieve the set goals in a sustainable, safe, highly efficient and cost-reduced manner.

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