Industry 4.0 is often spoken about. It is nothing but the digital transformation of manufacturing, production, and assembly lines. However, the question remains what electric assembly tools can allow assembly lines and plants to switch to automation and become smart? With majority of the assembly lines relying on pneumatic and manual wrenches, the question also remains that what type of tools can replace them? In this article, we will answer these questions and talk about the benefits of making the switch to Industry 4 revolution.
Before we talk about the DC electric assembly tools that can help in transitioning, we will talk about Industry 4 revolution which is an approach to automate manufacturing that includes the implementation of several different technologies like AI, cloud computing, and many others. Having systems that are connected, monitoring, communicating, and working with one another in synergy without any human involvement is the foundation for becoming a Smart Factory. Since, majority of the assembly lines rely on such DC electric tools, they are an important component to achieve such transition.
As majority of the manufacturing, production, and assembly plants use pneumatic tools, clicker wrenches, and impact wrenches for tightening, transitioning to a smarter plant would require DC electric assembly tools that are interconnected via controllers and also record data while doing the job. The disadvantages of traditional fastening tools are that the manufacturer must always rely on the operator to pick up the right tool for the job. One small mistake can cause huge losses and brand damage in the future without even able to understand the source of the problem.
Cleco’s NeoTek fastening tools are programmed to use multi-stage tightening strategies allowing the operator to use a single tool on multiple applications serving different torque outputs. For example, there is an application which requires a particular tightening pattern to seal the joint and avoid leakages. At such times, to switch between tools, take trainings, and follow paper instruction makes the organization rely a lot on the accuracy of the operator without any source of documenting this job; thus making it less effective. In such cases, a hybrid controller paired with Cleco’s Neotek will streamline the process by guiding the operator in tightening the joint and record the job. The Image Visualization feature in the Hybrid controller allows the controller to process the image and mark which fasteners need to tighten and in what order.
To further enhance accuracy, Cleco tools disable themselves and notify supervisor when an operator attempts to retighten the same fastener multiple times. This allows the supervisor to assess the situation and avoid production losses. Once assessed, the supervisor can resume the system by using a key.
Cleco Industry 4.0 electric assembly systems record and monitor job data. To understand the benefits, we would explain it in the form of an example. One of our customers was experiencing inaccurate rundowns. Based on the data collected, there had been an increase in 65% failure rate from the previous month. Back tracking from the data provided by the controller, the amount of prevailing torque observed during the free thread part of the rundown was minimal, less than 1Nm. That value had now increased to 5Nm and was, at times, reaching final torque well before the low angle limit. Finally, our customer was able to figure out that a worn tap caused an increase in the amount of torque required to drive the bolt. The supplier was contacted, made aware of the issue, and correct parts were shipped.
The ability of the Cleco’s NeoTek DC electric tools to monitor such key applications, provide real time data and communicate with the respective stakeholders was a crucial step in successfully transforming the customer’s plant to an industry 4.0 environment. This not only enhances our customer’s efficiency in plant but also accuracy to avoid production losses. Since making the switch all actions such as interpreting information, selecting correct application, archiving rundown data, real time monitoring torque and data, exporting torque traces happens without any human interaction.
We hope this article helped you understand the benefits of how switching to smart DC assembly tools can help transform assembly lines in to smart factories. Visit us next time for more knowledge sharing articles.