Smart Factory turns into hands-on reality

Krones had sent out invitations to attend the first Smart Factory Day in Seoul in June 2017. 164 clients from 38 different companies took part in this event. This impressive figure alone attests to South Korean firms’ keen interest in this topic. The country’s government reckons the number of enterprises that will be addressing this issue in the years to come will rise to 10,000.

What’s behind the term ”Smart Factory” is the vision of networking all the production processes along the value added chain in their entirety, so that in future there will no longer be any need for operator intervention.

On the Smart Factory Day, Krones showcased possible solutions, enabling filling companies to automate (and thus optimise) their production operations – from integrating a stand-alone machine right through to networking all of a factory’s equipment. On this occasion, Krones quite clearly cemented its status as the company to go to for digitalisation in the beverage industry – and met with encouragingly positive feedback throughout.

Keen interest

The majority of participants expressed great interest in introducing the Smart Factory principle into their plants. In some cases, intensive work is already ongoing on the relevant implementation. The goals are primarily to save labour and raw-material costs, and to increase the OEE (overall equipment effectiveness) of the lines involved. Almost all those who attended the seminar are proceeding on the assumption that they will need some professional consultancy for this – not only from equipment manufacturers but also from MES vendors. And Krones is both – thanks not least to its comprehensive expertise accumulated within the “House of Krones”.

The beverage producers present also defined a sequence for the areas of relevance as far as the Smart Factory is concerned:

1. Filling and packaging technology

2. Management of raw materials and expendables, and of energy consumption

3. Care and maintenance management (asset management)

4. Process engineering

5. Product tracking

Many of the participants want to proceed step by step when introducing the Smart Factory, but there are also some aiming to introduce the complete principle in one go. When asked which of Krones’ IT solutions they required first to do this, they listed the following:

  • Share2Act collaboration platform
  • SitePilot Line Diagnostics analytical tool
  • ReadyKit, the data box for linking existing machines up to the network
  • SitePilot Asset Management care and maintenance tool
  • SitePilot Line Management order and materials-management system

Most of South Korea’s beverage companies intend to introduce the Smart Factory within the next three to five years, while some regard just two years as a realistic timeframe.

Neutral consultancy

The fascinating question here is: what is the correct path to choose so as to arrive at the Smart Factory? Krones offers neutral advice on this, with the expert consultants analysing both the existing machinery and the work processes and IT infrastructure in place, and then providing some recommendations for action. But Krones also helps to translate these into hands-on reality – the company identifies options for minimising change-over times, for example, and offers the smart machine concepts suitable for accomplishing this.