Digitalized production is already an operational reality in many industrial scale companies. And also small and medium companies with value-added processes are beginning to see that the main benefit from digitalization is efficiency. Experts claim Industry 4.0 will in brief have to reach all companies no matter their size.
Digitalization is driving innovation in the woodworking industry. And connectivity is applied both to production systems of individual lots with a high degree of automation and to totally or individually configurable tools. And this concept is spreading along the whole production chain, from forest technology, furniture, door and window manufacturing, floors, up to tool systems and surface technologies.
At each FITECMA presentation at the world’s main international fairs, there is a confirmed interest from the leading manufacturing brands of these technologies to present them in Argentina next year.
The latest generation of plants and machinery for the woodworking industry features an open architecture and, in many cases, universal interfaces. The steps of the process which have traditionally been self-contained now converge to produce integrated process flows ranging from production planning and product design to manufacturing, distribution and sales. More and more products from the main technology suppliers are prepared for the digital age. Data generated by those products are stored in cloud-based IT platforms, where they can be acceded for their further processing through a wide range of specific software from the industry. Applications allow users to control their operations from any place with their mobile devices. It’s no surprise the potential to increase efficiency from these new integrated solutions may be huge.
In digitalized manufacturing systems production is continuously monitored by lasersensors and actuators, which allow users to trace the state of production in real time. Suppliers of RFID, bar codes and chip coding systems join constantly to show the state of the art in part tracking solutions.
In order to truly integrate, woodworking companies and carpenter’s shops also need to digitalize their processes. That is why the latest robotics solutions can be fully integrated in the general production process, performing many key functions in material management, ranging from stacking / unstacking timber up to assembling three-dimensional wood modules.
Optical inspection systems are also gaining importance, particularly when it comes to ensure faultless processes. They are scanner-based defect detection and classification systems which increase wood quality and output.
Intralogistics solutions are the cutting edge of innovation. Management systems, in particular, are a critical part of process optimization in integrated manufacturing plants. Fully automated panel storage racks, for instance, not only speed up and simplify industrial scale manufacturing operations, but also they represent an important step towards high-efficiency digitalized production in wood shops.
With current CAD / CAM systems, the transfer of complex product designs to machines turning them into real products may be literally made with a mouse click. And that is only an example of how integrated software solutions can shorten production times. Many software suppliers now are offering network data solutions covering all key processes in manufacturing operations, from management, programming and design, up to production, marketing and distribution.
Industry 4.0 technologies are increasingly designed to be intuitive and minimize the risk of human error. By overlaying real products with virtual data, augmented reality systems will soon open a new potential to improve efficiency in a wide variety of areas, included sales, assembly and repair.
Innovation, digitalization, automation, Industry 4.0 technologies are setting the course at FITECMA 2019 next edition. Joining knowledge and market is one of the keys. And the fair is an irreplaceable place to achieve that objective.