Today, major sector changes must be considered when designing and manufacturing screen changers intended for plastic extrusion, as well as for any other industrial sector, paying special attention to emerging development models connected with Industry 4.0.
INDUSTRY 4.0: A MODEL FOR INDUSTRIAL DEVELOPMENT
Industry 4.0 is a model for industrial development offering innovative design, production, and control solutions. A model conceived to govern industrial production evolution over the upcoming years, combining new digital connection, programming and control technologies at the very best.
The main objectives pursued by Industry 4.0 model focus on exploring new application areas, minimising time needed for production and entry into markets, enhancing overall quality level, thus generating considerable savings throughout the entire production process, and making the whole development process sustainable at the same time.
Many and complex technologies are involved in Industry 4.0 model:
- Control and industrial automation systems
- Smart factory
- Quick and smooth communication technologies
- Web 2.0 technologies
- Big data
- Cloud computing
- Machine-to-machine and human-machine communication technologies
- Integrated control technologies
- Machine designing and manufacturing technologies
- Software development technologies
- Internet of Things (IoT)
- Cyber-Physical System (CPS)
The main innovative factor of Industry 4.0 model lies in process digitalization and in the introduction of intelligent systems; in particular, it is aimed at fully benefiting from IoT, Big Data availability, intelligent processing of huge data quantities, and connection possibilities offered by Web technology.
INDUSTRY 4.0 AND PLASTIC EXTRUSION SYSTEMS
The markets of plastic extrusion and recycled plastic extrusion systems are inevitably interested in the renewal driven by Industry 4.0. Devices used at post-consumer plastic filtering and recycling stages are resulting in massive amounts of complex operation data, e.g. upon communicating status parameters (temperature, pressure, etc.), interactions, and other service information.
In an era of Big Data and IoT, any operating device connected with a production and plastic filtering process is going to generate a considerable amount of data at any moment, providing accurate and real-time information about plastic filtering system proper operation. Resulting data are collected, stored, transferred, and modified, the aim being to improve, adjust, and maximize production cycles.
SCREEN CHANGER WITHIN INDUSTRY 4.0
Screen changers are essential devices within the economy of plastic filtering and recycling systems and plastic extrusion. Today, it is therefore essential to design and develop new generations of screen changers intended for plastic extrusion to be integrated in the overall digitalization of Industry 4.0 model.
Within the industrial sector of post-consumer recycled plastic extrusion systems, it is required to manage and analyse these data to adequately adapt to required technology enhancement. In particular, recycled plastic extrusion cycle needs the development of production process display and intelligent processing. This is all even more true if you consider that plastic materials to be filtered are undergoing fast changes, and quality and availability improvement.
AN EXAMPLE: SERVICE IN INDUSTRY 4.0 PLASTIC RECYCLING
To give an example with a view to Industry 4.0, one of the most rapidly progressing factors within the market of plastic extrusion systems is service mode in case of issues or upgrades in recycled plastic extrusion systems.
In the past, several common maintenance issues or system upgrade required on-site intervention by experienced technicians; an approach that is still time consuming, expensive and complex, especially because of the increased number of operating systems. As a matter of facts, it takes years to train a technician.
By implementing Industry 4.0 model, the same issues can be addressed by less experienced staff – in other words, less expensive – using information-sharing systems and remote access and connecting involved devices with intelligent data analysis systems.
In the past, several kinds of issues could be solved by engineers going on site. Today, it is possible to assess, manage, and solve the issues by modifying parameter configuration via remote connection. Moreover, it is possible to enable plastic extrusion system end user to solve most of issues, quickly and independently.
A PLASTIC INDUSTRY THAT IS CONNECTED AND INTELLIGENT
Industry 4.0 model has already been approved as reference medium- and long-term model by major government and industrial authorities worldwide for an innovative and sustainable world industry development.
It is therefore indisputable that the road to follow leads to a connected and intelligent industry, which enables a quicker and more flexible production.
Consequently, today it is essential to consider the introduction of Industry 4.0 elements in your production line – an evaluation that concerns anyone involved in research and product development within recycled plastic extrusion systems as well as suppliers of the relevant production lines because connection and introduction of intelligent processing are key factors in reaching sustainable development.
STANDARD DATA FLOW PROGRAMMING LANGUAGES
If Industry 4.0 is a world project eager to be implemented across all sectors, then focussing on programming languages standardization is a critical factor to implement intelligent production systems.
As Industry 4.0 mainly focuses on developing an intelligent production, intelligent production focus is data. To turn Industry 4.0 into a widespread project, data flow from all involved devices must be smooth and consistent. To ensure a smooth and consistent data flow, new and stable industrial standards are needed.
Nowadays, several data sharing technologies (even if they use an open network like the Internet to operate) must still be considered as proprietary technologies, which are not open and not widely usable. As a consequence, connections among some industrial equipment are impossible. Therefore, data flow is no longer smooth and consistent among devices and Industry 4.0 benefits are dramatically reduced.
To underpin connection languages and technology standardization, Euromap has released recommended EUROMAP 84 standards in October 2018. Euromap technical standards are aimed at determining key elements for data exchange between computers and plastic extrusion devices. Today, designing screen changers intended for recycled plastic extrusion necessarily means to consider compliance with Euromap standards, conceiving an Industry 4.0-oriented intelligent interconnection with the entire plastic extrusion line, with a smart factory, and with remote intelligent analysis systems.
INDUSTRY 4.0 – READY SCREEN CHANGERS
Gorillabelt T is the most advanced automatic and continuous screen changer intended for plastic extrusion, and it represents Cofit first step toward an Industry 4.0 – ready extrusion process. Gorillabelt T screen changer has been designed considering top-notch automation solutions and data exchange procedures implemented in industrial production technologies.
In compliance with Industry 4.0 model, Cofit Gorillabelt T screen changer is going to communicate and cooperate with other extrusion systems your smart factory is equipped with. Besides providing for a basic digital interface to display data and major configurations, Gorillabelt T will be capable of interacting with other components automatically, and making autonomous decisions about pressure, temperature precision configuration, besides other components behaviour.
THE MOST ADVANCED ZERO-WASTE SCREEN CHANGER
At Cofit, we have been designing and manufacturing automated and continuous screen changers for over 50 years; we have focussed on innovation-oriented screen changers intended for plastic recycling; today, Gorillabelt T is the most advanced Industry 4.0 – ready solution available on the market.