Digitization – an important driving force in manufacturing
The digital revolution has swept across the globe, changing everything from people’s purchasing patterns and behaviors to various digitized tools. Alongside new, disruptive business models for communications, trade, services, healthcare and entertainment, major changes are also taking place in more traditional manufacturing industries. Companies invest in digitization technology to accelerate growth and increase their productivity in various ways.
In Eupen, in Belgium, many gigabytes of data are stored relating to HEXPOL’s compounding operations and covering about 1 million recipes and each batch of material produced. Here, more than 1,300 data points (each at least once per second) are recorded from HEXPOL Compounding’s 18 units in Europe and Asia. As many as 56 data collection points per production line record everything from the weighing and feeding of materials into mixers, mixing speed, temperature, ram position, ram pressure, cooling, energy consumption, and the dimensions and weight of the finished goods.
Today, the information is used to identify variations in the production process, to analyze quality and, if something is amiss, to identify the fault. The increased data collection has already led to significant savings in mixing times and the body of data that has been amassed is used to continuously improve efficiency.