Production 4.0 — The Transformation Toward the Intelligent Factory

As the leading provider of vacuum technology, Schmalz supports its customers on the journey to smart production.

Experts agree that in the future, all companies in the competitive international market must embrace Production 4.0. Companies have to lay the foundations for future development and prepare for networked production. In the next generation of factory, people, machines and resources will communicate. Highly individualized products are produced in a highly flexible and resource-efficient manner. Customers and business partners are an integral part of the value creation processes.

Yet, there is still a long way to go until this vision becomes a reality. Schmalz has already taken steps to support its customers with innovative and future-proof vacuum solutions. Our work was focused on intelligent process communication long before everyone started talking about the “industry of Things.” In 2008, we introduced the world's first vacuum generators with an IO-Link interface in preparation for Production 4.0. Today, we are the first manufacturer to combine sensor and actuator functions in an Industry 4.0-compatible vacuum switch.

All our efforts and endeavors have one common goal: Through intelligent vacuum solutions, we want to help our customers to make their production processes more productive, efficient and flexible in order to increase their competitiveness.

What Exactly Is Industry 4.0?

Industry 4.0 (also known as the Industrial Industry of Things or Production 4.0) describes the transition of production to a smart factory as the “fourth industrial revolution.” Intelligent, digitally networked systems communicate directly with each other and enable virtually self-managed production. People, systems and products are in direct contact and cooperate in such a way that production is made more flexible, efficient and sustainable.

The greatest benefit of Industry 4.0 is optimum productivity with maximum transparency and minimum downtimes.

Prepared for the Future — Our Solutions for Production 4.0

Handling Process Data in Real Time

Schmalz develops smart field devices that enable process data to be used in real time. Our intelligent products feature integrated energy and process control functions. They collect and interpret data and then make it visible for the user.

One example is the compact terminal SCTMi. This compact terminal consists of up to 16 individual ejectors that can be controlled individually. A single compressed air supply and one electrical connection is all that is required. All relevant parameters, such as the energy consumption and performance in the vacuum system can be recorded, monitored and analyzed via the IO-Link interface.

Compact terminal SCTMi

Making Process Data Visible Using NFC Technology

In addition to an IO-Link interface, Schmalz provides an additional means of communication with intelligent products in the form of NFC technology. Process data is recorded directly and transferred securely to a smartphone via a point-to-point contact using NFC. Device and process information can also be parameterized on the smartphone.

Vacuum and pressure switch VSi

Vacuum Generation without Compressed Air

The technological development Schmalz CobotPump is a gripper with electrical vacuum generation. In this product, the vacuum is generated without the use of compressed air. This means that the gripper is not only energy-efficient but also suitable for mobile use, making handling processes in logistics and production more flexible and more productive.

Process data can be collected and made visible thanks to the IO-Link interface. An NFC interface provides direct access to the process and device via smartphone. Maximum energy efficiency is achieved through integrated control and performance adjustments that are adapted to the handling process.

Schmalz CobotPump

Would you like to find out more about our solutions for Production 4.0?

Industry 4.0
Smart field devices from Schmalz