H.E.R.E., the new frontier in line supervisors by Sacmi


Gildo Bosi - Sacmi

The term Industry 4.0 refers to the technological scenario of today’s industry based on instruments that allow for full integration between the physical world of objects and machines and the virtual world of control and programming. The Sacmi 4.0 project encompasses all the digital manufacturing control tools developed by the company, including new applications designed to implement Smart Factory potential.

The process of innovation is being driven by the markets, which are becoming increasingly volatile with a growing trend towards smaller batches and rapid obsolescence. The solution consists of plant integration, a concept that Sacmi has been developing since the mid-1980s when it installed the first supervisors on continuous grinding plants. The H.E.R.E. (Human Expertise for Reactive Engineering) system presented at Tecnargilla 2016 marks the latest step in this approach.

H.E.R.E. is a new set of software solutions designed to interconnect production processes, allowing for supervision and information exchange with networked machines. As a result, each step in the production system can be managed. This overall view of the plant allows for constant monitoring of processes and improves machine diagnostics. The production reports generated by H.E.R.E. directly from the data received from machines and departments facilitate resource optimisation and production process planning, while the automatic exchange of data with the ERP system speeds up the processes.

In practice, on receiving an order H.E.R.E. acquires the data directly from the ERP and sends the data to the departments, where the machines receive product information and prepare for production. H.E.R.E. then connects with the departments to be able to track batches from the start of production through to completion. Once the process is complete, H.E.R.E. collects and processes the production information and automatically creates reports, ensuring more flexible manufacturing and more accurate production data control. All reports are available on mobile devices for immediate access from anywhere in the world.

The H.E.R.E. range also consists of a series of specific modules for each Smart Factory operating area, each of which is dedicated to implementing a specific function.

  • Plant layout: provides a complete real-time overview of the plant status.
  • Machine monitoring and control: allows for real-time viewing and control of machine process data.
  • Status Chart: displays the operational status of machines over time.
  • Trends: tracks the machine process parameters over time (e.g. temperature and pressure setpoints and current readings, etc.)
  • Alarms: collects and analyses machine signals and alarms and features integrated reporting tools.
  • Production reports: allows for rapid, user-friendly creation of personalised web-based production reports.
  • Raw material consumption: monitoring and logging of the raw materials used during the process.
  • Databases: manages item codes used in production (raw materials, semi-finished and finished products).
  • Recipes: centralised control of product recipes.
  • Batches: shares the production plan with the ERP to allow the batch to be tracked in the plant and to create production and consumption data logs.
  • Shifts: defines production shifts and allows production data to be aggregated by shift.
  • Preventive maintenance: schedules preventive maintenance tasks on the basis of effective machine output; provides data collection support.
  • KPI: calculates key performance indicators to identify and rapidly remove any plant inefficiencies.

The modules work on the process at a hierarchical level. Level zero consists of the machines, above which there are the controls and PLCs, then overall supervision of departments (grinding, pressing, drying, decoration, sorting and storage) and of the factory.

The individual H.E.R.E modules and functions can be composed and combined according to the customer’s specific Smart Factory requirements and production set-up. The H.E.R.E. range is customisable and modular and provides an effective response to the dynamics and the management and growth strategies of each individual company.

This makes it possible to constantly monitor the performance of an individual department, plant or even entire factory (in the case of groups with multiple production units). Sacmi machines interface with the supervisor and are equipped with self-diagnostics and teleservice systems based on augmented reality. The fact that predictive maintenance is already available makes it possible to prevent criticalities or intervene when they arise.

In general, H.E.R.E. provides an OEE (Overall Equipment Effectiveness) index, a performance index that allows a cost indicator to be associated with the state of health of the plant. This allows deviations in production to be anticipated and the highest levels of product quality maintained at all times.