Every day we talk about unattended factories, lights-out operations, smart factories, industrial 4.0, integration, and Chinese manufacturing 2025. In fact, their core content is "smart manufacturing." When we talk about "smart manufacturing," our manufacturing practitioners will feel anxious because the people who discuss these concepts are more engaged in non-manufacturing Internet megaphones or Internet elites, but they do "cross-border". See the future of the manufacturing industry's essential development direction.
Intelligent manufacturing is a human-machine integrated intelligent system composed of intelligent machines and human experts. It uses computer to simulate human intelligence activities, thereby replacing the human mental labor in the manufacturing environment. Intelligent manufacturing technology is based on modern sensing, network, computer, automation and other advanced technologies, through the intelligent perception, human-computer interaction, decision-making and implementation, to achieve the intelligent manufacturing process.
Computers, the Internet, and automation are not new things. Why is the concept of "intelligence" proposed now? Mainly today's sensor technology, various complex algorithms, software and computer operating speeds have reached a very high level, and can be used for timely judgment and execution of “uncertain” tasks.
We know that the first industrial revolution was the first technological revolution in the history of mankind initiated by the British in the 1860s. It was marked by the substitution of manual machines for manual labor and the use of steam engines as a power source. After a lapse of 100 years, the second Industrial Revolution emerged in the late 1960s. Its mark was the widespread use of electric power instead of steam power, which promoted large-scale industrial production. Also because of the electricity, a series of electrical appliances were invented by elite representatives such as Siemens, Gram, Edison, and Bell, which laid a solid foundation for the third industrial revolution. The third industrial revolution was marked by the invention and application of electronic computers. It was applied to information control technology revolutions in many fields and promoted the automation of industrial production. The fourth industrial revolution is just the beginning of an era of intelligence based on physical information systems.
The core of smart manufacturing
When it comes to intelligent manufacturing, we must understand the key steps of smart manufacturing: state awareness (accurately perceive the real-time running status of a device or system) → real-time analysis (fast and accurate processing and processing of acquired real-time operating state data) → autonomous decision-making ( According to the data processing results, the judgments and decisions are automatically made according to the set rules. Obviously, the above four steps are a closed-loop intelligent system that controls the machine to implement intelligent manufacturing.
What is the key core of smart manufacturing? Is "data driven"!
Two key elements of smart manufacturing: First, data and information software systems (online ordering systems, ERP systems, MES systems), packaging and printing companies want to practice smart manufacturing, the first task is to carry out information construction, the establishment of a data bearing And the data transmission information management system, this system is the brain neural network system that conveys the data required for intelligent manufacture; The second is the hardware manufacturing equipment that can interact with the above software system.
Typical features of the packaging and printing industry
Manufacturing industry can be divided into the following two types depending on the type of feature.
01 Process Manufacturing
The characteristics of the process-type manufacturing industry are that the product variety is relatively fixed and the single-species production volume is large; the production equipment is arranged according to the product line and can realize assembly line operations. For example, food, medicine, petrochemical and other industries are typical process manufacturing.
02 Discrete Manufacturing
Discrete manufacturing is characterized by a large number of product varieties and a small variety of production quantities; the process routes are not fixed, and they are short, short, and complicated; it is difficult to form assembly lines, and production equipment is laid out according to the process, and processing materials or semi-products are processed. Need to carry.
Packaging and printing industry is a typical discrete manufacturing industry, and it has obvious characteristics of personalized customization.
How far is the packaging and printing industry from smart manufacturing?
This paper describes the paper packaging printing industry as an example. The flexible packaging printing industry is very similar. As mentioned above, smart manufacturing must be driven by data. That is, from the collection of information on the customer's demand side to the generation and transmission of relevant operating parameter information within the factory, to the intelligent operation of the equipment, the whole process is driven by data. For the packaging and printing industry, this is not a general challenge but a great challenge! Specifically, to achieve full data-driven, you need to overcome multiple forts.
Fortress 1 Online Order System
Use Internet technology to directly obtain the demand data from the client, which includes the processing quantity, product specifications, process data, and finalized customer graphics files. Although it is a bit difficult to achieve the online ordering system, many of the printing e-commerce companies have already implemented it and have already put into practical operation, such as "Principal World," "Sunshine," "Evergreen," "Century, Kaiyuan." However, please note that these printed e-commerce online ordering systems are mostly used in the field of commercial printing. Except for very few such as “E Box Printing”, there are still few online automatic order receiving systems for packaging and printing e-commerce companies. It is not an easy task for the packaging and printing industry to overcome the first fortress. The difference between them is not repeated here.
Fort 2 builds ERP system
ERP system is the data source of business performance, of course, is a pair of bright eyes of business operators. The mainstream ERP system generally has the following modules: materials, product BOM, personnel equipment resources, warehouse management, sales management, customer management, supplier management, workshop manufacturing and financial cost statistics.
The ERP system provides objective and timely data sources for enterprise decision-makers to analyze business performance in real time and formulate major decisions. It is also a data source for intelligent manufacturing.
The ERP system is first and foremost a production plan to automatically schedule data protection for APS. The ERP system matches the data received from the online ordering system with the BOM of the corresponding process product to generate the corresponding customer orders, processing work orders and raw material purchase orders, and outputs the production planning schedule. Once the manufacturing process is completed, it can be delivered by the customer. The delivery plan of the delivery period informs delivery of the goods to the customer on time.
ERP system is the basic data system of intelligent manufacturing. Because the ERP system integrates all data such as sales, processes, materials, processing, warehouses, and financial costs, these data streams drive the resource requirements of the company's operations, which is equivalent to moving all business management links from the offline to the online, and the business of the enterprise is natural. In the operation of the data and process. Obviously, ERP systems provide a rich data source for data-driven smart manufacturing.
Fort 3 builds MES system
The MES system is a manufacturing execution system. The MES system is connected to the ERP layer, followed by the execution layer of the automation device.
1 MES system receives the operating parameters from the ERP system, and intelligent operation through the industrial control server and PLC controller drive equipment. For example, digital technologies such as servo, jet printing, laser, and 3D are used to drive actuators to realize the physical processing of the operational parameters such as the specifications and graphic content of packaging products, including smart changeover.
The MES system simultaneously collects and enters the status parameters of various types of jobs in real-time through the industrial control server and the PLC controller and enters the ERP system, allowing the ERP system to run accurate and intelligent data.
3 The MES system and the ERP system together constitute a complete intelligent manufacturing closed-loop system for planning, control, feedback, and adjustment.
Fort 4 hardware manufacturing equipment capable of data interaction (outsourced or self-designed)
Let's take a look at the various processes or processes in the manufacture of paper packaging and printing. What is the current ability of these devices to interact with data?
(1) Printing machine
Digital presses based on digital ink-jet/electrostatic imaging technology are the earliest devices for smart manufacturing in the printing industry (CTP is not considered yet). Of course, the digital printing press realizes the digital automatic interaction of the most important graphic content in the printing process, thereby realizing the intelligent manufacturing and intelligent conversion. This is a revolutionary technological breakthrough in the intelligent manufacturing of printing processes. However, the mechanical action of the auxiliary work part can not fully realize the intelligent change, such as the retractable digital printing press rewinding, the sheet-fed digital printing press Feida change the full intelligence and so on.
(2) Surface treatment equipment
Based on digital inkjet technology and digital image recognition and positioning technology, UV digital gluing machine, UV digital embossing machine and digital hot stamping machine, digital automatic interaction of UV glazing content, embossing content and hot stamping content can be realized. Implement intelligent manufacturing and intelligent changeover. This is also a revolutionary technological breakthrough in smart manufacturing of surface treatment processes in recent years. However, the mechanical actions of the auxiliary working parts of these devices cannot yet be fully realized, such as the full-intelligent changeover of feeders and hot foils.
In addition, surface treatment equipment such as water-based coating, calendering, and lamination in the surface treatment process has not yet emerged as an intelligent manufacturing prototype.
(3) Die-cutting and creasing machine
Digital die cutting machines based on digital laser cutting technology, such as Hai Ke and Han Guan Hua, have achieved a high degree of intelligence in the intelligent cutting and cutting process of die cutters; Hai Ke uses a similar 3D printing technology (Hai Ke DART The intelligent loading and changing of the indentation steel wire was realized, but the digitization of the indentation bottom mold has not yet been realized, and this is precisely the key control point for the subsequent realization of the smart glue box. In addition, the mechanical actions of their auxiliary working parts cannot fully realize intelligence, such as Feida's and all-intelligent replacement of materials received.
(4) Folder gluer
We have not yet seen the prototype of a smart folder-gluer. We currently only see BOBST's Matic folder-gluer adopting stepping technology to semi-automatically adjust the carton format folding mechanism. After the job order is over, the computer records the physical position parameters, and the next time “one-button change order” can only be used. Simple box type. This is the Feida size "one-click replacement" technology that was achieved many years ago by offset presses. Obviously, based on the changes in the multi-dimensional parameters of the carton material, size, box type, crease force and speed, it can be imagined that the digital intelligent operation of the folder-gluer will be one of the most difficult hardware devices to overcome.
(5) Intelligent Quality Monitoring
Based on CCD linear digital scanning/digital image (face) identification technology and glue sticking machine leak detection technology, using digital technology to achieve on-line monitoring of product quality, and the separation of unqualified products, although the difficulty is relatively large, but it has been achieved. At present, we have seen more and more applications in the industry for gluing box online inspection machines and online leak detection machines.
Fortress 5 Finished Packing Code 垛 Smart Logistics Line
The difficulty of the realization of the finished product packaging code and the smart logistics line is relatively small, and it has already been realized. For example, the automated packaging and palletizing logistics lines for multiple gluing machines have been successfully implemented by some manufacturers in the industry.
Fortress 6 Digital Intelligent Storage System (raw materials and finished products)
The realization of the digital intelligent storage system is not difficult and has been widely used in the industry.
Fortress 7 processing or semi-finished products in the process of intelligent transportation, transfer, until the finished product is automatically boxed
Processed materials or semi-finished products are intelligently connected and transferred between processes (work stations) until the finished products are automatically packed. In the packaging and printing industry, no effective method has been found so far, and there is no way for flexible material exchange. If it can be achieved, it will completely subvert the status quo of manufacturing logistics in this traditional and customized industry of the packaging and printing industry. In the foreseeable future, we must completely and completely realize the intelligent manufacturing of the discrete packaging and printing industry, and the intelligence of its logistics is really too difficult.
In summary, the packaging and printing industry must achieve intelligent manufacturing, and there are many fortresses that need to be overcome. Packaging and printing companies at different stages, especially enterprises in the industrial 2.5 stage, in reality, should first step into the industry 3.0 stage, using IT technology to establish and improve the enterprise's information management system. Regardless of the stage of packaging and printing companies, the road to intelligence can only be difficult after the first, after the first part of the overall.
It can be seen that there is no ready-to-use packaging and printing intelligent manufacturing system or intelligent factory for us to purchase. Even if we can afford to purchase it, soon everyone will fall into the "Red Sea" abyss, because ready-made things will never be their own core competitiveness. Where For traditional packaging and printing companies with discrete, typical and customized features, to firmly move toward smart manufacturing, this task must be a “one-handed project.” It needs the full cooperation of financial resources, energy, and perseverance. Otherwise, it can only be linked to The smart vision on the wall!