This year we were invited via the PMI Chapter Cologne, where Managing Director Kai Weber acts as Vice President for Industry 4.0, to the stand of Fischertechnik at the Hannover Messe 2019. There we could observe some exciting and partly playful approaches to the implementation of Industry 4.0.
Fischertechnik simulates future
Fischertechnik presents a worldwide unique learning factory 4.0 at the Hanover Fair. Its size fits on a desk. The miniature factory plant consists of various operations of a real production, such as a kiln, a sorting line with colour recognition and a high-bay warehouse. The dashboard connected via a cloud visualizes all process steps from the perspective of customers, suppliers and production management. The factory simulation thus digitizes and networks the processes of an online order – from ordering on the Internet to dispatch.
Learning Factory 4.0
“The fischertechnik Lernfabrik 4.0 represents the most important processes of a digitized factory in the smallest space. This makes it the world’s only compact and cost-effective means of choice for haptically illustrating digitization, making it comprehensible and simulating applications,” says Guido Schubert, Head of Industry Sales at fischertechnik.
With the fischertechnik Learning Factory 4.0, the future can be simulated, and this very realistically: it is started with a process that many know from everyday life: A product is ordered on the Internet and placed in the shopping basket. Another mouse click triggers the order.
In the fischertechnik Lernfabrik dashboard, the online shopping platform is called “Customer View” because it shows the order from the customer’s perspective.
Connection to the cloud
Via a cloud, the respective order data is transmitted to the factory plant in mini format, which immediately sets itself in motion: A workpiece in the form of a module passes through various processing stations – sorted according to order. This simulates mass production in batch size 1: A product is specially manufactured according to individual customer requirements. Each workpiece is assigned a unique identification number (ID). The respective processing status can be tracked via NFC (Near Field Communication).
The “production view” perspective provides information on all product manufacturing data. If the temperature and humidity in the small production line are too high, the temperature sensor reports immediately. The pivoting camera has an overview of the entire production hall and thus enables web-based remote monitoring. In the event of a malfunction, an additional safety loop is installed: If a problem is eliminated, this must be confirmed via an extra button – only then does production continue. Green and red lamps indicate when the respective process step is live in progress.
or there is an error. The current stock of the workpieces, including minimum and maximum stock, is also displayed.
The perspective “supplier view” visualizes the process of ordering the raw material. Thus, customers, manufacturers and suppliers have a complete overview of the order status from anywhere and at any time.
Control of the learning factory 4.0
The fischertechnik learning factory is controlled via six TXT controllers on a 9 V basis, which operate with the C/C++ programming language. These are networked within the factory and communicate via MQTT (Message Queuing Telemetry Transport). This is an open message protocol that allows data to be transferred between devices in the form of messages.
fischertechnik has high demands on quality and sustainability. The construction kit manufacturer “Made in Germany” therefore attaches great importance to data security. The cloud servers are located in Germany. This ensures that the basic EU data protection regulation applies to the storage of data. Personal information is protected in an account with password access that uses the very secure “OAuth2” industry standard. Also with the data transfer