The smart factory of the future is flexible, highly efficient and communicative. What is Zimmer Automation’s smart factory implementation roadmap?
Due to new & accurate sensor technology and vision systems developments, it has made us think and embed them in our EOAT solutions. Applications such as ‘handle in the box’, ‘tracking’ & the ‘handling flexible parts’ have been automated in a procedurally stable manner.
A fundamental aspect of this is that the front end, which is the gripping system, has become the decisive element for the success of various applications. The gripper or the gripping system is a part of the digital chain of a value-added process. Earlier, end of arm tooling was fixed to robots or gantries working in cages for safety. Now, robots are working with humans.
Nevertheless, there still are areas where a human, due to his sensory, tactile & cognitive abilities, and empirical experience, is superior to any automation solution. Humanoid robots are not far away and Zimmer is thinking about it.
What are the current innovations from Zimmer Automation LLP’s technology areas?
Working unmanned in three shifts with improved availability is the main trend in recent production plants and hence, ‘preventive maintenance’ has become ‘predictive maintenance’. Sooner or later, cobots will be everywhere; man, machines and cobots will work together. This means developing end of arm tooling for cobots. We have a complete series in the range and are working with many reputed robot builders.
How do you work towards top quality, speed and reliability simultaneously for the production components you manufacture?
Remote maintenance and preventive maintenance are important measures to prevent the sudden failure of components and functional assemblies in production facilities and to make maintenance intervals more predictable. As we guarantee the unrestricted functionality of our Gripping Systems up to thirty million maintenance free gripping cycles, few might argue that it might be fancy or might be expensive. But they are an absolute must for Plant Operators who produce round the clock or for a manufacturer who is producing in mass quantities. Soon this feature of maintenance-free gripping cycles will become must-have specification as we upgrade to industry 4.0.
How are you working towards bringing in maximum sustainability through your manufacturing processes?
Our manufacturing is in Germany and our factory is built taking lot of care and with all acceptable environment norms. We also have our own solar park which supports our production requirements.
What is your next step for the company?
From all that I have said so far, all I can say is that we are helping build reliable, smart & agile function packages apart from EOAT to all line builders.