Trumpf showcases pilot factory for Industry 4.0

Special Report: Industry 4.0
19 April 2016
Machine tool and laser specialist Trumpf is taking the next step in the practical implementation of Industry 4.0. Its in-house show, INTECH, will be taking place April 19-23, 2016 at Trumpf headquarters in Ditzingen, and the company will be using the event to showcase its connected pilot factory. Trumpf has taken its sheet metal production unit – comparable to a traditional sheet metal manufacturing enterprise – and switched it over to work following digitalized process flows. The result draws intensively on elements from Trumpf’s own TruConnect solution as well as the digital business platform AXOOM. For instance, an MES system monitors, displays and evaluates machine statuses – a paperless and interactive solution that delivers a stream of live production updates straight to mobile hand-held devices.

As one of the pioneers worldwide, Trumpf has been hard at work in recent years putting Industry 4.0 into practice. “Industry 4.0 can seem like a bit of an abstract topic, and that’s why we want and indeed must get close to our customers, show them what it’s all about and answer the many questions they might still have. It’s what our customers expect of us – and what we ourselves promise to deliver,” stresses Mathias Kammüller, Executive Vice President and head of the Machine Tools division, as he explains Industry 4.0’s pivotal role. “The sheet metal production unit is a specific example of how Industry 4.0 works in practice. We can use these sorts of applications to boost productivity by up to 30 percent in the coming years,” he says.

Traditionally, Trumpf has used its in-house show to present its entire product and technology portfolio. As well as new and established machines for cutting, welding, bending and punching, Trumpf will also be showcasing its refurbished demonstration center in Ditzingen. In the TruConnect Forum in the entrance area, it will now be possible to develop personalized solutions for customers’ smart factories according to their individual requirements.

Work 4.0 calls for new qualifications concepts

In addition to the technological challenges, Trumpf is also addressing the social changes that come with the digitalization of the workplace. “Industry 4.0 means altered work tasks that require different skills of our employees,” says Gerhard Rübling, Labor Director and Executive Vice President responsible for sales and services. “Because of the pace of developments, we need to pass on these skills using modern learning forms. That’s why as we speak we’re working on a new qualification concept fit for the increasingly interdisciplinary and process-oriented tasks our employees face.”

Trumpf sees that in the future, mobility and agility will define the work environment. Accordingly, these form the foundation of a new job alliance currently being negotiated. “We want to move away from a rigid weekly work schedule in favor of a yearly work quota,” explains Rübling. “This means more flexibility both for employees and for the company.” For instance, it would make it easier to cover spikes in production workload or for employees to set aside extended periods of time off in addition to their normal vacation time.

Partnerships in the foreground

If Trumpf is to maintain a competitive edge, it is important that it collaborates both with universities and non-university research organizations. Peter Leibinger, Vice Chairman of the Managing Board and head of the Laser Technology division, says: “Connecting data and things relies on the collaboration of a number of players. Institutional research in projects that bring together multiple partners is crucial to our efforts.” That is why TRUMPF is active as a partner to the innovation platform Code_n, which will host a big start-up festival in Karlsruhe in September. “We want to use the event to exchange ideas with other companies and start-ups from the area of Photonics 4.0, and work together to provide new impetus to photonics in the future,” says Leibinger. Photonics 4.0 has to do with how Industry 4.0 can be taken to the next level with the aid of optical technologies.






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