Looking into the digital future: A demonstration machine awakes to life

Everybody is talking about the term Industry 4.0. It will break up existing value chains and change the entire industrial sectors. The successful implementation of new business models requires competencies from various specialist fields.

The ZHAW School of Engineering in Winterthur/ Switzerland brings the expertise for Industry 4.0 from different fields and backgrounds together and bundles the know-how into one demonstration machine. 

To give the tag Industry 4.0 a face and show which ideas and practical implementations can be hidden behind it, the Winterthur University of Applied Sciences launched the project "SmartPro". The aim of the project is to develop a demonstration machine to illustrate as many aspects of "Industry 4.0" as possible.

The machine is capable of assembling freely configurable ball pen components fully automatically. The customers determine the colors and the print of the advertising medium, which is printed individually with the REA JET HR.

What sounds quite simple is highly innovative in reality and gives a look ahead into the future. "SmartPro 4.0" has a cloud connection and consists of autonomous systems that communicate with each other. A digital twin of the system enables virtual initial operations, support of the use of Plug & Produce components and service of the system. With the Virtual Reality 3D glasses, it is possible to dive inside the system in order to identify and correct deviations more quickly, for example. To avoid unexpected malfunctions and failures, the machine reports deviations and makes self-diagnoses.

In the development of ball pen assembly machines, business and science intermesh and learn from each other. Without the technical and financial support of well-known partner companies such as REA JET Swiss GmbH, Siemens Schweiz AG, SMC Schweiz AG, Bosch Rexroth Schweiz AG, which not only provide the individual components of the machine, such an extensive project is more difficult to realize.

The advantage for the cooperation partners lies in access to current technical know-how, the shared use of resources, the generation of concrete project results and early contact with potential employees.

The experts of REA JET Swiss GmbH use this important innovation factor and support the students in the field of coding and marking systems. The high resolution TIJ inkjet printer REA JET HR, which is integrated into the demo machine, is used. It prints individual plain text or logos extremely quickly and in the highest quality on the ball pens.

The machine is used at industrial trade fairs and training courses and impressively demonstrates the intelligent networking of systems, products and people

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