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In dialogue: Product and production
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In dialogue: Product and production

In Poços de Caldas, the physical world of things is merging with data networks

The Industry 4.0 concept is already being applied in thyssenkrupp's units in Brazil. One example is the automotive components plant opened in 2015 in Poços de Caldas (Minas Gerais State). In this unit, which manufactures camshafts for passenger cars, modern technologies are combined and processes are interconnected across the production chain. In this manner, it is possible to merge the world of physical systems with data networks, constituting the “cyber physical system” - which represents the future of manufacturing processes.

The entire production line is monitored in a virtual environment, with the assembling process done by industrial robots working at high speed, giving each other the parts that need to be cooled, heated, aligned, and pressed. Each stage of the process is carefully monitored by sensors that send data in real time to the control system. Only with this level of accuracy can the final characteristics of the units be guaranteed.

It is an adaptable and flexible production model, in which the employees do not monitor individual processes, but the system as a whole. The assembly lines and equipment may be influenced at any time for a new formulation, resulting in greater flexibility, with consequent gains in efficiency, quality improvement and cost reduction.

Cyber-physical systems – the future of industrial production

Cyber-physical systems

The camshafts also have a memory: the so-called recipe used to produce a specific type of camshaft for a specific customer. In Ilsenburg, the physical world of things is merging with data networks to form a “cyber-physical system.

”This is the future of industrial production. It requires all elements in the production process, if possible, to have a name, a history, and an interface to the web. The aim is the “smart factory,” capable of managing itself, learning, and operating flexibly.