The ever-increasing integration of digital processes in manufacturing is one of the main revolutions the industry is witnessing. Marcus Schneck, CEO of norelem, addresses how data and standard components are key to the digitalisation and transformation of the manufacturing industry.
We have seen major changes in recent years in how data and digital processes are being used in manufacturing, from the use of CAD data through to the use of robotics to carry out key manufacturing tasks, but digital is in the details too. With a rising number of standard components being used in everyday engineering and manufacturing, advances in smart components play a key role in ensuring digital technologies can be efficiently harnessed. It is through these advances and the integration of standard components with digital processes that we will see improvements in design and development, as well as the minimization of both downtime and maintenance time.
Standard components themselves are becoming more digitalized, meaning that engineers and manufacturers can create optimal processes from the beginning. For example, this can be seen with standard components that can provide status queries or display clamping forces on screen when required.
As standard components are developed further to offer increasing digital integration, engineers will be provided with more opportunities for optimisation and continue to play an integral role in digital engineering processes. It is therefore imperative that these products integrate well with existing data systems, so that engineers and manufacturers can choose the most suitable products for their projects.
Designing standard components with digital integration in mind
Certain standard components can be designed to integrate with digital processes more so than others, but in particular those components ideally suited for digital integration include those that support with positioning, moving, and measuring. An example would be norelem’s Position Indicator with electronic IO link interface. These are used to check format adjustments, in order to effectively reduce set-up times and increase machine efficiency. They integrate well with smart technology systems because they make use of a standardised interface. They are also highly versatile and can be used in several different kinds of applications for example, in a milling machine or in the packaging industry. In fact, one of the unique selling points of norelem’s standard components are their standardized interfaces, which enable easy integration with digital processes.
Other examples of standard components integrating well with digital processes would be norelem’s stepper motors, safety switches, security hinge switches and spring plungers with status sensors.
norelem’s stepper motors have an integrated positioning control, meaning they can be programmed using software. Therefore, customers can control the motor’s speed and duration, as well as other programmable features. They are designed for use in areas where something must move without human intervention. So, once the motors have been programmed, they can operate on their own, which in turn reduces downtime and protects workers.
Magnetic safety switches, on the other hand, are made for use on safety doors, safety covers and hatches. The safety switch operates without contact via a magnetically coded system, so no human contact is required. The electronics are located in a fully encapsulated housing. Depending on the version, the switched status is indicated via an LED. Opening the safety device automatically leads to a safe system shutdown, which again protects workers.
norelem’s security hinge switches are used for monitoring the position of swing-hinged safety doors, protective hatches, and hoods. The protective device is monitored directly in the hinge. For the universally pre-set versions, the switching angle is freely adjustable over the entire working range. A mounting aid ensures the quick alignment to doors and posts. These switches have applications across multiple industries, for example special machine construction.
A final example would be norelem’s spring plungers, which make use of status sensors. An electrical control signal can be sent via the built-in end switch, meaning customers can control simple mechanical processes, and accurately position the workpieces being used.
The manufacturing sector must be capable of adapting to a variety of working conditions. Despite technology that allows off-site control of machines, the maintenance aspect of manufacturing is very difficult to manage.
In most cases, maintenance is determined by visual inspection, and off-site locations do not allow this type of inspection. The lack of a remote maintenance procedure along with remote working can pose a threat, such as components wearing out beyond repair and unexpected failures of machinery.
The solution for this is to integrate machinery components with digital processes to enable maintenance engineers to diagnose issues and solve issues remotely.
Sensors, for example, can be added to equipment to detect physical parameters, like vibration and heat. Rather than requiring multiple visits to the site, this approach eliminates the need for lengthy and tedious diagnosis testing. By having the right data at hand, standard components can be ordered as quickly as possible, and the machine can be repaired.
Providing the correct systems
As smart components like these are becoming more commonplace in manufacturing, as well as more of a requirement for innovation and growth, norelem sees it as a key responsibility to support customers and manufacturers in the buying process. THE BIG GREEN BOOK, the technical sales team, and the norelem online shopping platform are all designed to give manufacturers and customers the required data and support to help inform their purchasing decisions.
By providing a complete range of products to mechanical engineers, norelem strives to deliver the best mechanical components and the corresponding electrical components that will assist in their digital applications for future manufacturing systems. To browse norelem’s full product range, please visit: www.norelem.co.uk
norelem is a world-leading manufacturer and supplier of flexible standard parts and components for mechanical engineering. The company supplies 70,000 standard products relating to standard machinery and operating elements, as well as automation components. Ninety-eight per cent of these parts are available from stock, and the business delivers on-site technical support for products. This high level of inventory enables norelem to provide fast and reliable delivery times.
About THE BIG GREEN BOOK
THE BIG GREEN BOOK is both norelem’s ideas catalogue and a reference book and has become the norelem trademark. More than just a standard product catalogue, THE BIG GREEN BOOK represents everything norelem stands for, combining product information, specifications, and technical information, with best practice references, advice, and guidance.
THE BIG GREEN BOOK combines product information, specifications, and technical information in one single source. Created using a logical sequence of article numbers based on stages of production, it contains best practice references, advice, and guidance.