The VDMA is championing Industry 4.0 at CHINAPLAS 2017, where the German machinery association will be demonstrating how the smart factory is something every plastics processor can aspire to.
There has been great interest in the Industry 4.0 concept by Chinese converters in recent years and in its second edition, the CHINAPLAS Industry 4.0 conference will demonstrate the systems that enable efficiency, connectivity and savings for manufacturers.
The second Industry 4.0 Conference will take place over half a day on each of the first three days of the trade fair (May 16th-18th 2017), and has a sector-specific structure. Day one focuses on automotive, day two on electronics and day three on packaging.
Key dimensions of Industry 4.0 were presented by VDMA and its member firms at K 2016. The focus now is on transferring the added value of digital technologies to foreign markets. Five of the firms due to give a presentation at the conference will show short films illustrating the benefits that Industry 4.0 can bring to their Chinese customers.
The automotive industry in China is growing. In 2016, sales of passenger cars stood at 24.4 million units, which represents an increase of 15.5 per cent. Growth in the market for electric vehicles is particularly strong. China produced 517,000 electric vehicles in 2016, 53 per cent more than in the previous year. By 2020, the market share of electric vehicles will have grown to 5 per cent.
In order to be able to achieve these increases in production, manufacturing needs to be both flexible and efficient. Wage costs in China have risen sharply, as have the quality demands placed on plastic products in the automotive sector. As a result, Chinese converters have relied more and more heavily on automation and digitalisation in an effort to make their production more efficient.
Exactly how smart technologies can help them to optimise individual steps in the production process and thereby achieve better manufacturing results will be demonstrated by KraussMaffei, ENGEL and KUKA on the first day of the conference.
Individualisation of goods
China is the world’s biggest producer of electronic goods. The domestic market for refrigerators or even PCs/laptops, for instance, is now virtually saturated and the pressure on costs is high. On the second day of the conference, dedicated to Electronics & Electrical Appliances, ARBURG and Wittmann Battenfeld will show how mass-produced goods can be manufactured efficiently.
Products need to be smarter if market opportunities that go beyond providing a basic level of supply are to be developed. On the second day of the conference, the injection moulding machinery manufacturer ARBURG and the Chinese electrical appliances manufacturer Haier will discuss efficient ways in which mass-produced consumer goods can be individualised.
The food sector in China is booming. During the first 11 months of 2016, food production recorded year-on-year growth of almost 14 per cent. For Chinese food and beverage companies, annual growth up to 2020 is forecast to be around 8.8 per cent.
In addition, a change in consumer habits means that more food packaging is required. At the same time, the hygienic and safe packing of food products is valued very highly by Chinese consumers. On the third day of the conference, Reifenhäuser and Brückner will show how Industry 4.0 can help to improve production efficiency for packaging manufacturers and to ensure that rising demands, for example with regard to food safety, are met.
Standardised digital interfaces are crucial to the implementation of Industry 4.0. Uniform information models will make the networking of machines more straightforward, and components from a number of different manufacturers can be combined more easily into systems. Following the series of presentations on the first day of the conference, representatives of KraussMaffei, KUKA and Motan will use the panel of experts debate to highlight the practical experience they have gained in this respect.
In its introduction on each day of the conference, VDMA will also examine the current status of the work in terms of the EUROMAP standardisation of digital interfaces.
The official German pavilion at CHINAPLAS 2017 can be found in hall 5.1, stand 5.1A21.