There are numerous options companies can draw on to save materials and energy in production processes. The new VDI Resource Efficiency Center film, Industry 4.0 – Saving materials in development and in production, depicts two practical, first-hand examples, clearly illustrating how digitalization measures can lead to a remarkable increase in resource efficiency.
Wetropa GmbH, in Hessian Mörfelden, designs individual foamed plastic packaging for their clients in the automobile and electronics industries, in medical and measurement engineering as well as in craftmanship enterprises. To accommodate even the smallest of lots, such as single tool or camera packaging, while increasing material and cost efficiency, the company developed an application with which customers can develop the packaging themselves. Thus, the foam lining and transport case can be adapted to specific needs. The advantages of this digitally generated construction data – easily created online – are that several smaller orders can be consolidated into one production process and customers no longer need extra test samples sent out before ordering. A doubly efficient method of saving materials.
J. Schmalz GmbH of Glatten, Germany also turns to digitalization to evoke resource efficiency. The company produces, among other products, customized vacuum grippers for machine engineering customers. Once the specific parameters are determined per telephone, the product is given a product key, which is digitally transferred to the production department. Industry 4.0 then optimizes the production procedure. According to the product key, only those components required for the so called “one-piece flow” are prefabricated, a just-in-time production allowing top material efficiency, as well as reducing storage to zero. Whether changes are made by the customer or a product becomes obsolete, this approach puts an end to superfluous inventory.