Production with a great deal of (flexible) manual labor is increasingly under pressure in the Netherlands. Automation and digitalization provide a solution. We designed a smart factory for a manufacturer of medical disposables in which production is fully automated, while providing for a high degree of flexibility.
Because people are very versatile, production processes sometimes involve a great deal of manual labor. Aside from the wage costs and a shortage of workers, the increasingly strict quality control requirements form a challenge. This definitely applies to the production of medical disposables in large numbers and different configurations. The solution lies in automation and digitalization, while retaining flexibility. Together with partners we designed a smart factory and innovative technology that forms the core of the smart machines.
Our smart factory concept is based on advanced production cells for elementary processing steps in the production chain. Flexible logistics connect the cells into digitally controlled production lines in alternating configurations. AGVs (automatic guided vehicles) supply raw materials and transport intermediate products between the different cells. We identified the various options and visualized these in captivating videos designed to engage the customer in the development process. Key selection criteria included flexibility, space claim and total cost of ownership.
“we developed a vision for the smart factory of the future.”
As systems architect we took on the project coordination role and aligned the work packages that were assigned to specialized partners. The factory has not yet been realized due to corporate strategic choices from the customer. For us, this project has resulted in a clear vision and a concrete blueprint of the smart factory of the future.