Industry Reports

Machinery Manufacturing

Chapter Keeping legacy equipment in action

2. Keeping legacy equipment in action

Producing modern machines that integrate with legacy equipment.

Many businesses have started to implement digital technologies to improve their productivity, efficiency and maintenance operations. According to the Digital Transformation Readiness Survey by the Center for Creative Leadership, 72 per cent of respondents have already implemented a number of digital initiatives to improve or adapt their organisation’s products and services. However, few of these organisations have digitalised their entire business.

To replace all machines in an industrial facility with modern alternatives is an investment that not all businesses can afford. A common practice is to start a digitalisation journey by identifying and upgrading just the machines with the potential to add the most value. This way, businesses can start to reap the benefits of digitalisation straight away.

Producing modern machines that integrate with legacy equipment.

Industry challenge

Upgrading some machines but not others leaves industrial facilities with a mixture of old, traditional equipment and modern systems. While modern systems should provide businesses with advanced capabilities, challenges can arise when they do not integrate well with legacy equipment.

For example, a manufacturing company may invest in a new machine vision system to improve the reliability of its quality assurance processes. However, if the new system does not integrate well with the legacy conveyor system, it is unlikely to add a worthwhile return on investment. Therefore, engineers need new machines that are capable of connecting, interacting and sharing information with older, more traditional equipment already in use.

EU Automation’s solution

Machinery manufacturers can source new, old or reconditioned parts from EU Automation and incorporate them into brand new machines. This will provide customers with machines that will function effectively with their existing equipment, without compromising on advanced capabilities.

Because legacy equipment was built with cyber protection measures that prevent them from accessing data required in a digitalised facility, new machines should include measures to bypass these security features. Software platforms like ThingWorx enable this functionality, by providing a common communication network between Internet of Things-ready machines and legacy systems.

As well as ensuring the machines they produce can integrate with legacy equipment, machinery manufacturers can help their customers to fit their legacy equipment with the components needed to integrate with new machines. These parts can also be sourced from EU Automation.

To find out more about how to provide your customers with machines that will integrate with their existing systems, contact EU Automation.

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Chapter How we can help

3. How we can help

The idea of the machine originated with Greek philosopher Archimedes who, in the third century BC, studied the mechanical work of a lever. The machines of today are far more complex and require advanced technology and specific skillsets to manufacture.

Machinery manufacturers can use an automated rig to transport components to, from and along a production line. Often, these rigs take the form of conveyor belts that are programmed to move at a certain speed. Automated guided vehicles (AGVs) are becoming increasingly popular as another way to transport goods to and from the required points along a production line. However, manufacturers must be careful when increasing automation, as more equipment means more opportunities for breakdown.

Customers who are purchasing a machine often have very specific requirements. For example, in the food and beverage industry, machines must be food-safe. Manufacturers can ensure their machines are food-safe by adding a specific coating to the outside. Customers also expect timely production and delivery of their order. To meet the complex expectations of your customers and maintain your company’s reputation, you must resolve machine breakdowns rapidly to minimise plant downtime.

This is where EU Automation can help. We will source the spare part you need, whether that part is new, reconditioned or no longer manufactured by the original equipment manufacturer (OEM). Compared to other industrial component suppliers, we considerably cut the time taken from the placement of a customer inquiry to the provision of a quote. In fact, we guarantee worldwide delivery in 48 hours or less, which allows you to get your plant back up and running quickly.

It’s important to minimise plant downtime to ensure you meet your customer’s expectations and protect your reputation. Working with an obsolete industrial parts supplier means you can return to production after a machine breakdown, with minimal downtime and costs.

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Chapter The future of machinery

4. The future of machinery

In the early 18th century, industry relied on humans using handheld tools to complete work. The invention of machines, such as the spinning jenny and the steam engine, changed manufacturing forever by sparking the first industrial revolution. Machinery manufacturing has developed with each industrial revolution, adapting to changing trends and technologies. As more manufacturers across the globe aim to digitalise their factories, machinery manufacturers must adapt again to meet demand.

Connectivity

One way to improve productivity in machine manufacturing is to increase precision and visibility in the supply chain. The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) means that physical objects have an intelligent interface that allow them to communicate with other objects, users and environments.

IIoT allows manufacturers to access real-time information about machine processes so they can make the right decisions and improve productivity. Better communication can help improve predictive maintenance, as a connected sensor can quickly detect machine issues, alerting maintenance engineers before downtime occurs.

Digital twinning

Machinery manufacturers should take the time to design with obsolescence in mind because manufacturers want equipment that lasts for a long time. However, designing and prototyping can take up time and resources.

Engineers can use digital twins to optimise machine design and prototyping. The digital twin uses data from sensors located on the physical asset to analyse its efficiency, working condition and real-time status. Manufacturers can simulate ideas, maintenance or new designs using the digital twin, giving the opportunity to test an idea before spending the money and resources.

AR and VR

According to Deloitte, more than 2.7 million baby boomers working in manufacturing will retire in the next ten years, taking their knowledge and skills with them. Manufacturers should look for new technology to help train a new workforce.

Manufacturers should look at how augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) can bridge the skills gap while optimising processes. VR is an effective way of teaching machine operators about a new piece of equipment on the factory floor. Visualising the inner components of devices allows companies to make detailed maintenance plans. This process is incredibly useful for identifying obsolete components or predicting which parts the original equipment manufacturer will cease to support in the near future.

AR is also useful to digitalise documents and change how workers use information. For example, maintenance engineers can bring up blueprints or manuals on smart eye-wear to help them quickly and efficiently complete a task.

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Chapter Resolving a quality defect

5. Resolving a quality defect

Quality in machinery manufacturing is as important as productivity and efficiency. A low-quality machine may have a reduced lifespan or poor function, which will damage your company’s reputation. A quality defect may even be so bad that the machine cannot be sent to a customer at all, resulting in a considerable waste of time, money and resources.
  • Your quality assurance system is alerting you to a consistently recurring defect on a machine
    being manufactured on your production line
  • The defect means the machines cannot be sold, costing you time and money and
    wasting resources
  • You know the cause is a fault in your equipment because the defect is the same in
    every product
  • You should inspect the product at every stage of the production line to identify where
    the defect is occurring
  • Once you have determined which of your machines is faulty, you must decide how you will
    replace the component causing the problem
  • You could buy an entirely new, advanced machine with top of the range features, but
    you should consider whether this will integrate with the rest of your plant
  • You may want to repurchase the component you had before, but you find it is no longer
    sold by the original equipment manufacturer (OEM)
  • At this point, you should contact EU Automation. We can source new, reconditioned
    and obsolete parts from global manufacturers.
  • We can deliver parts anywhere in the world in under 48 hours
  • Once the part arrives, you can quickly install it and return to production
  • You can stay in contact with EU Automation to stock spares that you may need in the
    future, to avoid long periods of downtime in the future

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