As digitalisation, Big Data and the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) take their course, the classical linear manufacturing model is changing: complex, integrated networks are developing that aim to achieve higher productivity with lower resource consumption. Machines, devices and applications must become smarter accordingly. When it comes to investment decisions, cooperation with an experienced solution partner can bring considerable advantages. At the SPS IPC Drives exhibition in Nuremberg, Mitsubishi Electric is presenting solutions, concepts and collaborations to support companies in the integration of smart manufacturing projects.
This year's booth motto "Your Solution Partner for Smart Manufacturing" encompasses products and technologies for industrial automation in three production areas: engineering, manufacturing and maintenance.
Engineering: intelligent and fast integration
Time saving in project development and integration is offered by the life cycle management tool MAPS, which is now available in a new version 4. Using object-oriented functions, it can integrate and visualise both Mitsubishi Electric devices and external equipment more easily. MAPS 4 enables fast provisioning including connection to the cloud as well as adaptability and scalability for future requirements.
Another solution, named MELFA EasyFeed, is dedicated to gentle robot-supported handling. It has been created together with e-F@ctory Alliance partner Asyril. It shows how programming and communication made directly with the robot, and the embedded function library, shortens the software development time for these applications and accelerates the customer's engineering process.
Standardisation can make software engineering more efficient. Which is why Mitsubishi Electric's iQ Monozukuri software package offers modules and visualisation templates for selected application areas, such as packaging.
Enabling companies to achieve a faster time-to-market, Mitsubishi Electric has equipped its iQ Works software suite with the Automation ML interface. For example, data can be exchanged easily, quickly and consistently between the iQ Works programming platform for Mitsubishi Electric automation components and the Electric P8 EPLAN tool for electrical engineering.
Manufacturing: smart automation
Production can be intelligently automated at various levels. For the realisation of concrete projects and tasks Mitsubishi Electric offers control and drive technology, operating devices, software and circuit breakers as well as robotics, making it a full range supplier.
A current example of integrated robotics is the new robotics starter package, which consists of a MELFA RH-CH Series SCARA robot, a CR751 controller, teach box and software – which includes simulation tools.
Optimised intralogistics can be realised with the help of Mitsubishi Electric’s Linear Transfer System: The system has smart carriages performing as workpiece carriers with integrated intelligence that can adapt their route in real-time depending on the situation. This reduces system down-time.
To reduce the stress on electricity supplies, make energy consumption more transparent and provide valuable information for predictive maintenance the new intelligent modular MEnergy concept for low and medium voltage applications has been developed. The package consists of the EcoMonitor Light energy measurement component, MEprotect digital protective relay and MEsoftstart soft starter.
Maintenance: clever system management
Instead of relying on reactive repairs, maintenance teams in today's production facilities are turning to predictive measures to maintain the value and function of operating resources and to increase efficiency.
An important integration step in machine diagnostics is provided by the "GOT Drive" function. Available on servo drives and frequency inverters it enables commissioning, adjustment and maintenance directly via the graphical user interface of a GOT2000 series HMI. The drive can record load data from the machine and issue an early warning signal when a defined threshold value is reached. No external sensor is required. Ready-built templates for visualisation are included to make commissioning faster and more convenient. With the "GOT Mobile" version activated production data can also be queried from any location and alarm messages can be received via mobile phone, tablet or PC.
A holistic condition monitoring approach for rotating parts in machines and plant equipment is offered by the Smart Condition Monitoring solution from Mitsubishi Electric and its e-F@ctory Alliance Partner Schaeffler.
Maintenance support for on-site service is also provided by an IIoT application from Mitsubishi Electric using Augmented Reality. Digital twins can be displayed in virtual space to indicate maintenance requirements and recommendations. For obsolete or defective components, alternatives can be quickly and easily suggested, and maintenance instructions provided for service technicians or in-house personnel.