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24 February 2017

Industry 4.0: Is your logistics equipped for the future?

Optimal performance thanks to Industry 4.0

The world has changed profoundly over the last couple of years. New technologies stride ahead, changing our lifestyles and evolving many business models. The concept of Industry 4.0 becomes more and more important in intralogistics. Swisslog’s Industry 4.0 concept brings transparency and efficiency to the warehouse, securing tomorrow’s intralogistics processes today.


Over the years, the Internet has evolved into a space of sheer limitless possibilities. Whether it is granola, notebooks or a new car, there are so many everyday things that we can already customize online. What is more, the Internet is gradually breathing intelligence into commonplace objects in our daily lives. For example, researchers have been working for some time on the development of a smart refrigerator that uses modern camera technology and sensors to monitor consumption habits and independently places an order as soon as an essential item runs low. In addition, cars are being tested that navigate through traffic completely autonomously while the driver, for example, leisurely peruses their e-mail.


IoT puts value chain on track

In recent years the Internet of Things (IoT) has become more meaningful in industrial processes leading to the wide adoption of terminology like Industry 4.0 and Advanced Manufacturing. The underlying idea is the end-to-end digitalization of intralogistics and production. Machine control systems and sensors are connected with classic production and intralogistic applications like warehouse execution system (WES) or warehouse management system (WMS) and exchange information, independent of their location, through software services. Thanks to this merge, Industry 4.0 technology optimizes the entire value chain of a company.


Simply put, Industry 4.0 technologies open the door to creating a digital image of reality that can be used as a basis for optimizing physical processes. This transformation process is often referred to as a “digital shadow.” These digital shadows are not only tremendously beneficial for the future of industrial production, but they also bring transparency and efficiency into all processes along the value chain. In Swisslog’s Industry 4.0 concept, they ensure that warehouse processes run reliably and at optimal performance even under constantly changing conditions. It is unrealistic to expect that warehouse logistics will undergo rapid, radical changes in the age of Industry 4.0. This change will be an ongoing process where initial steps are to collect and analyze data and optimize individual warehouse components. The next development stage will be devoted to the entire warehouse. After that, more and more boundaries will successively be overcome, allowing optimization to propagate from production to the higher-level supply chain.


The journey into the smart future has begun

As a visionary and pioneer of fully integrated and digitalized logistics processes, Swisslog provides real-time optimization of all data gathered from the logistics systems to offer its customers future proven solutions, promoting an economically efficient facility operation. State-of-the-art sensors, data collection methods, and optimization algorithms based on big data analysis are the cornerstones of a new service portfolio that could monitor all facilities throughout their entire lifecycle. Industry 4.0 technologies can deliver optimal performance even when the requirements in a world driven by ever higher customer demands are constantly changing.


Together with the KUKA Group, Swisslog is developing new solutions that not only help individuals perform difficult and repetitive logistics tasks but also control processes, thus contributing to sustainable business improvement.


Industry 4.0 brings efficiency to logistics

Predicting today what will most likely happen tomorrow is of great interest to supply chain and management professionals. Swisslog Smart Logistics approach relies on the analysis of a wealth of historical and future forecast data.


The underlying idea is simple: In the age of Industry 4.0, logistics systems themselves are becoming clever organizational talents. Recording all movements in the warehouse, for example, makes it easy to detect risks early on to avoid conducting facility maintenance during peak times. Major events that attract media attention could deliver forecast data relevant for the handling of relevant merchandise. For example, if an underdog team manages to climb towards the top in a sports tournament, this approach makes it possible to respond to changes in demand early on. Companies can even use the current weather forecast to their advantage – for instance to determine as accurately as possible tomorrow’s demand for rainwear or swimsuits.


More than anything else, securing a competitive advantage through Industry 4.0 technologies is dependent on choosing the right partner and making the right management decisions. With this in mind, Swisslog is eager to start a dialog with its customers on this very topic. Direct exchange is vital in order to find innovative solution approaches, collaborate on expanding the solution portfolio and fully understand all influencing factors and individual requirements.


Achieve maximum flexibility

As a provider of leading automation solutions, Swisslog is committed to supporting its logistics facilities over their entire lifecycle with maximum flexibility and future security. This can be through software updates, modular facility expansions or with the help of technological innovations such as add-ons designed to optimize processes. Swisslog also offers alternative financial models that are future-proof and flexible. Changing customer needs are always the main drivers of innovation, leading to the development of flexible intralogistics concepts, new robot solutions and comprehensive portfolio of facility-related services. Rigid logistics is a thing of the past with Swisslog’s Industry 4.0 concept centered on adaptability. This is the key to making intralogistics processes more efficient, based on individual requirements.


Condition monitoring for predictive maintenance

Swisslog offers services for the full breadth of warehouse management. Making warehouse operations more efficient using the means available today starts with collecting and analyzing information. A variety of optimization algorithms gives warehouse operators the ability to make the best decisions possible. Services such as condition monitoring and 3D warehouse visualization provide real-time data. These services make it possible to simulate overall operations in a logistics facility in real time and create a digital shadow of the actual physical processes.


Swisslog’s predictive maintenance service, the next component in its Industry 4.0 concept, uses the data supplied by the facility sensors. All automation sensors communicate with and learn from one another, helping to identify service and maintenance times with pinpoint accuracy and to optimize machine operations overall.


The next stage will focus on using forecast data to supply warehouse operators with important information on the future facility situation, performance, and warehouse utilization.


Through the interplay of the latest Industry 4.0 technologies, state-of the-art software, and many integrated warehouse operation services, Swisslog‘s Industry 4.0 solution portfolio is considered a pioneer of flexible, forward-looking, and highly efficient value-added processes, and optimizes the entire value chain of your company.


Source: http://www.logasiamag.com/2017/02/industry-4-0-logistics-equipped-future/