When it comes to manufacturing, WILD is facing the same challenges many others do: On the one hand, lot sizes are falling. On the other, orders are becoming increasingly complex. Those who focus on digitalisation, however, have an ideal tool in their hands to face up to this challenge.

Today, digitalisation forms the backbone of all successful manufacturing. What is required is digital data, from the CAD drawing through to product documentation, and a networked production that stretches over as much of the supply chain as possible. Currently, the crucial topics revolve around efficient manufacturing procedures and the securing of processes. In view of the much debated industry 4.0, companies must embark on a course of continuous action, i.e. convert theoretical approaches into practice and implement integrated manufacturing procedures. The WILD Group already began doing so
several years ago, introducing the Manufacturing 4.1 status in 2018. „By introducing a series of projects such as plant visualisation, digital maintenance and measurement data entry as well as parts inspection during ongoing processing, we are setting new standards in digitalisation and therefore in the networking of man, machine, and working environment“, WILD production manager Mario Pföstl explains.

Digitalised manufacturing control
Despite all of the hype around digitalisation, however, it is important not to lose sight of the actual objective. Only those who skilfully review and interlink manufacturing steps will achieve higher productivity, lower error rates and greater precision. This is also the reason why the times of conventional manufacturing control are finally over.

Therefore, a central aspect of manufacturing 4.1 at WILD is a quick response based on well-prepared data. „The better we manage to gain data-based insights into manufacturing process flows, the quicker and more efficient we can analyse deviations and counteract these. For this reason, we are currently digitalising our entire manufacturing control system to allow for an automated process capacity monitoring“, says WILD Group CEO Dr. Josef Hackl.

In an initial step, WILD has introduced various new digital systems in order to gain an overview of the complexity and transparency of numerous processes. More specifically, this involves, on the one hand, a software for measurement data collection and test planning. Furthermore, an in-line measurement machine was installed already at the end of last year. The device is located directly next to the manufacturing machines, thus allowing the worker to carry out measurements
simultaneously with production and to immediately ensure the desired quality.

Another machine was installed in the measurement room just a few months ago. This one guarantees higher precision and independent output control. Both of them represent the state of the art and they automatically transmit measurements to a computer-aided quality (CAQ) system that provides workers with feedback on manufacturing precision. „In addition, these systems monitor component temperature and offset the measured value output. The result is highly precise measurement. Moreover, this also allows workers to take parts from the manufacturing machine and place them directly on the measurement machine“, explains Emmerich Kriegl, Head of Quality Management at WILD. In addition, both systems can be programmed beforehand on measurement-asynchronous stations so as to keep the machines‘ operating time as long as possible.

Information is a major production factor For WILD, however, the key to success is not merely the introduction of new software or the installation of new systems and machinery. Even more important is a holistic digital approach and the corresponding work and data organisation. Intelligent manufacturing, as WILD sees it, utilises „information“ as a production factor on all levels of the value chain and makes such Information available at all times.

The company is currently testing a complete plant visualisation system. „In future, this may allow us to visualise the plant status during the entire production period so as to make all interference steps transparent and derive the necessary countermeasures more efficiently“, says Mario Pföstl.

A stable and automatically monitored process also plays a central role in the cleaning of parts. Along with the purchase of a new ultrasound cleaning system, WILD has also installed an automation and complete plan visualisation system in its fine cleaning facility. This guarantees traceable process safety and the corresponding documentation. For more information on the benefits of this new cleaning facility, read the article on „Delicate washing cycle for parts“.