Technical Focus - Agathon Smart connectivity – or what you should have known all along

Author / Editor: Michael Merkle and Dr Stephan Scholze, Agathon / Barbara Schulz

Switzerland – A machine is able to deliver an enormous amount of information which can raise productivity by several levels. With Smart Connectivity, Agathon, the Switzerland-based manufacturer of grinding machines and standard parts for the tool and mould-making industry, offers an Industry 4.0 package.

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If teleservice is not enough, the problem will be solved by a short and well-planned field service assignment.
If teleservice is not enough, the problem will be solved by a short and well-planned field service assignment.
(Source: Agathon)

What exactly is the story behind the term Industry 4.0? From our point of view, what we are talking about is quite generally a bunch of convergent technologies all striving towards one common goal: to massively boost productivity in production. Or in other words, to maximise the utilisation rate of the individual machines as well as of the entire machine park. Here, networking plays a central role, or to be more precise: intelligent networking. This is why we have bundled our related activities and solutions under the title "Smart Connectivity".

We asked ourselves - what would speak against making the appropriate data available to our customers so that they always know the current status and condition of their machines including their subsystems? The answer is simple and plain: nothing. The required technical prerequisites were there. The result: Customers investing in an Agathon grinding machine of the latest models Leo, Dom and Evo are offered two interfaces.

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Data includes all necessary machine status information

The data made available spring from the most varied areas of the control architecture. They include simple and at the same time important information, like for instance the fact whether all doors are closed and whether components function properly. The data is read out via an OPC UA interface. OPC UA is a safe and open standard which - and of that we are convinced - will prevail on the market worldwide.

MES solution is compatible with all common ERP systems

Safety is granted by encryption and a certificate management already provided in the standard. In this connection 'open' means that the interface is open to all types of hardware and operating systems. In our view, openness is the central element to conduct a holistic plant management.

Moreover, we thought it necessary to not only enable our customers to obtain machine data but to also offer them the instruments required for effectively analysing those data. Together with our partner bfa solutions, we offer a Manufacturing Execution System (MES) as further option which is already being used by a lot of companies and which has continuously been optimised over a period of ten years. The MES solution called Pi-Solutions is compatible with all common ERP systems.

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