Industry 4.0's technology allows companies to connect the digital world and the real world – that is, the world of machines and the world of people. It begins with Smart Factories, where the digitization process allows hardware and software to interact at every step of the production process. By 2020, there will be more than a billion connected devices on planet Earth, and Cefla Finishing is already part of a future that combines the efficiency of mass production with the personalization of specific customer needs. The company, which is a world-leading provider of finishing, decoration and digital printing solutions for the wood industry, is embracing Industry 4.0 in order to provide its customers with a competitive edge, and part of that process is a new set of powerful and innovative tools.
The first of these, cCloner, is a tool that allows for a realistic overview of a process before one starts up the production line. It creates virtual models of machining steps and simulates real time so that the actual process, once started, can meet production requirements and prevent inefficiencies. Simulation enables a woodshop to adjust parameters up front, and to prevent potential bottlenecks. It allows a shop to reach the optimum level of efficiency in product changeovers and in processing different batches. And it also facilitates line starting operations, significantly reducing the time required. cCloner is quick and realistic: it can simulate a sequence of work days and, thanks to its library of 100 machines, recreate down to the smallest detail. Highly flexible and sophisticated, it offers tangible, useful support for the management of a single machine or a complete line.
When it comes to constant monitoring of the line, and the collection and analysis of data related to productivity, the answer is cTracker. This software instantly provides an operator with a host of opportunities, minimizing downtime and constantly boosting production efficiency. At power-up, cTracker displays a view of the line synoptic. A supervisor can then look into details of individual machines as well as alarms, recipes, and so on, and make appropriate adjustments.
Beyond tracking, monitoring and simulating, a shop also needs to integrate data into its enterprise resource planning (ERP). The third Cefla Finishing tool, cLink, fills the gap between ERP and cTracker so that data retain their value over time and can be used to optimize future workflows.
The fourth element in Cefla Finishing’s approach to Industry 4.0 is Smart Contract. The company has always understood that the core of evolution is service, and its massive presence worldwide makes it easy for CEFLA to agree with its customers on where and when to support them in order to solve any issue, or ensure an advantage. Smart Contract is akin to an engine kept idling, but able to immediately pick up speed to prevent a problem, provide a solution, or ensure improved performance. This is the cornerstone of the partnership, and it is flexible enough to be scaled up or down according to a customer’s needs. It allows the company to stay close, but only when necessary.
Among the solutions that Cefla Finishing provides are integrated digital printing that covers a broad swath of sectors, such as wood, laminates and plastic surfaces; OMNIDRY, which provides fully automatic management of piece height while retaining all the outstanding characteristics of a standard Cefla vertical oven; and the super-fast Smartedge for painting and sanding the edges of straight and shaped panels. Smartedge allows an operator to change edge shapes in about 10 seconds, and edge thickness in 15 seconds – all without having to turn the machine off. To learn more about these and other innovative solutions for fixtures such as iLoad and iFlow, visit CEFLA online.