Smart Factory: Practical Application of Industry 4.0

In partnership with one of its top distributors, Bosch Rexroth held an open house to help customers get a better handle on its vision of the Smart Factory.

With industry terms being bandied about like Internet of Things (IoT) and Industry 4.0, it might not always be easy to get a handle on what they really mean for manufacturing. In an effort to show its customers the practical application of Industry 4.0, Bosch Rexroth and distributor Morrell Group put together a show this week at Morrell’s facilities in Auburn Hills, Mich., to not only explain the products and capabilities that have an impact on these advances, but also give them a chance to see everything up close.

With a theme of “Smart Factory Is Now,” Rexroth and Morrell wanted to be able to demonstrate the realities of what IoT capabilities really mean in a manufacturing environment—how the merging of information technology (IT) and operation technology (OT) can benefit production.

“I think we know now that both of those groups benefit when they work together well, and that’s what the Smart Factory is,” said Scott Hibbard, vice president of technology—factory automation for Bosch Rexroth Americas, during a press preview the day before the Automation Open House. The Smart Factory is not a new concept, he added, “but the definition of Smart Factory is changing, and changing quickly.”

The Smart Factory should be smart in many ways, Hibbard noted. It should make optimal use of all resources; it should be environmentally smart, and not just to meet codes or regulations; quality should be ensured upfront rather than enforced later through corrective action; it should be predictive, providing continuous improvement; and it needs to communicate information in real time.Read more