Romar’s New IT Directions: Industry 4.0 Manufacturing
We’ve embraced innovation with our advanced manufacturing expertise and we’re strengthening our traditional processes in line with smart Industry 4.0 manufacturing.
Sean Emery, Systems Integration Engineer with Romar, explains our strategy.
“Historically, we were a traditional manufacturer and of course, very paper-based.
With the advent of Industry 4.0 over recent years, we’ve expanded our state-of-the-art additive and advanced manufacturing capability, and we’re now focusing on elevating some of our more traditional manufacturing techniques – such as molding.”
Introducing Industry 4.0 manufacturing
Also called the Fourth Industrial Revolution or The Internet of Things (IoT), Industry 4.0 is where traditional manufacturing meets digitalisation. Industry 4.0 is a broad term that embraces technological processes such as 3D printing, workplace robotics and, more commonly, system integration.
By immersing digitalisation into traditional spaces – for example with the integration of data-collecting software into production machinery – manufacturers gain invaluable data to improve production processes, efficiency and quality. It also promises optimised manufacturing solutions.
“We’re making changes to find the optimal way of doing things,” explains Sean. “When we integrate software to talk to our traditional molding machines, for instance, it can help us gather data to ultimately make smarter business decisions.”
Molding meets Industry 4.0
Romar has full capability across diverse molding solutions including precision molding, micromolding and silicone molding. Our vast expertise ensures we provide consistent quality, but by integrating new IT, we can also gain invaluable data to strengthen our molding processes – and customer solutions.
Early in 2020, we began integrating software with our molding machinery to gather and assess process information.
“We now have several PLCs (programmable logic controllers) as well as a suite of micro-controllers (including Arduino and Raspberry Pi). We’ve added custom sensors to our injection molding machines for data collection. We’re using the PLCs to collect, store and analyse data with enhanced visualisation,” says Sean.
That data includes CFD (computational fluid dynamics or mold flow analysis). By analysing the flow of material in the tool itself, it helps us create optimised injection molding tools.
“We use Moldex, which allows us to import a CAD file, run simulations to make sure the sizing is correct, the material type will work effectively, and to check for air trap, weld lines and ejector pin positions,” explains Sean.
“We can make sure we’re making the best possible tools (molds) to reduce material usage by minimising wall thickness and removing redundant features, and this will help us reduce the cycle time (how long it takes for a part to come off the machine) which will increase production quantity per hour.”
Options for enhanced manufacturing solutions
System integration is helping Romar amass and analyse huge amounts of data to better understand our molding capability and improve processes. Our plan is to continue to implement new IT strategies in every facet of the business.
“Our next step will be to look at our 3-axis and 5-axis CNC machines,” notes Sean. “We can use the data we collect around material type, run time and cutter age, for instance, to reduce maintenance and produce parts in a more efficient way.”
Industry 4.0 manufacturing is just one strand of our new IT direction, which we’re also implementing in other areas to track stock and schedules, and for streamlined production processes.
Moving in new IT directions
We also deliver thanks to our expert team members, who have the knowledge and capability to interpret Industry 4.0 manufacturing data and to design and deliver exceptional manufacturing solutions for every client.
Please contact us if you have a project in need of advanced expertise and a leading manufacturing solution.