Case Study: AI in production
Optimization of a plastic
injection molding facility
A Hamburg-based injection molding company with several production sites wanted to reposition itself to secure its market position. To do so, the company introduced a new production management software with ERP integration and master data accumulation. However, the commissioned automation service provider was not able to meet some of the critical challenges with ready-made solutions. This applied to specific steps of the process like the automatic sorting of parts after compression molding and the connection of an interim storage facility to the PPS system. Given the ever more trying job market, the company also required a further increase of efficiency and job security by technology impulses.
Our first process element was the development and joint plausibility check of the vision for the future. We wanted to attain a creative consensus with our customer through confrontation with disruptive possibilities. In this phase, we see ourselves as a catalyst while the customers decide over the orientation of their production processes and products. Our solutions have to reflect as many different customer interests as possible. One thing is for sure: each and every collaborator has a wealth of competencies, suggestions for improvements and constructive criticism to contribute, often in a context where you wouldn’t expect it at first.
A fast and efficient local camera solution was used for workpiece sorting. After providing additional illumination and a connection to the molding press for synchronization during the integration phase, this solution went into permanent operation. With the help of semantic picture segmentation, the workpieces are sorted in the selected production step within fractions of a second (> 10 x faster than manually).
The systems are kept up to date for a long time by purposeful maintenance and updates.
The development of an internal app for the additional semiautomatic feedback on materials by the warehouse clerks matching the new RFID-based interim storage system was initiated together with a suitable service provider.
Due to their open interfaces, well thought out concepts like these present a good foundation for future projects. One example in the field of parts sorting is a possible CSV interface connection to the SAP PPS with extended master data accumulation with individual documentation.