Where is production? There’s compressed air and… Smc, a billion dollar company

Production unit for Carsoli Smc

With a global market share of 38%, the Japanese multinational is Smt is number one in the world in pneumatic components. Besides 5.5 billion euros in revenueis present in more than 80 countries including Italy. 12,000 products and 700,000 different variants, 6 production sites i Japan Besides China, Vietnam, India, Singapore, Czech Republic and production sites for local markets in the main European countries. For Smc, innovation is the rule. The company invests around 3% of its turnover in research and development. A commitment that results in a systematic use of new technologies and the release of approximately 40 new products per year. This is the case with the new product lines based on “J Conceptt ”which has reduced weight, dimensions and absorption, which helps to reduce energy consumption. The latter activity, which can be supported by specialized teams whose objectives are check consumptionmonitor plant and machinery performance and offer solutions to minimize bill costs.

“Where there is manufacture there is compressed air, and where there is compressed air there is Smc,’ he says Andrea Trifone, Head of Marketing for Smc Italia. There pneumaticsa market that in Italy is worth around 1 billion euros, sees the company present in all sectors, fromthe automotive industry to packaging. “We are not a mere supplier of components, our philosophy is to support customers in making real solutions», specifies Trifone. Philosophy that has been translated into a real business modelwhich combines globalization and localization. On the one hand places in the different areas of the world for mass production, on the other hand places nearby that develop one customized serviceusing specialist teams to design a sartorial pneumatics. This is the case with the Carsoli factory in Abruzzo, where complex solutions based on Smc products are created. Based on the customer’s design, they are designed and produced in the factory pneumatic cylinders and manifolds, that is, groups of valves mounted on specific materials. The industrial logic? “Instead of buying a product from the catalogue, it is possible to create a variant that better suits specific needs, with materials and geometries that best suit the context of use”, explains Trifone.

From the meeting in Italian industry with the manager of the Italian branch, a company is created that interprets smart factory with a holistic approach, aware of all complementary technologies capable of making production efficient and flexible. This is the case with the new wireless fieldbus communication system Ex600-W. Based on standards industrial wi-fi it has been tested in the automotive industry and is now available for all industry sectors. The innovationmeanwhile he continues. On the horizon 5G communication equipment, the future network standard on which the Japanese company is conducting experiments at its production sites. «In Smc, innovation comes from a continuous dialogue with customers. We gather the needs and transform them into technological solutions smart factory» Says Triphone. In other words, an analog-physical process that simulates the digital one: gathering information, processing and interpreting data to give life to the product that can guarantee the best performance.

Diversify the pneumatic offer with complementary technologies. The advantages of industrial wireless communication

Andrea Trifone, Marketing Department Manager of Smc Italia

To be a key figure in the field of mechatronics and industrial communication. This is the goal of Smc. “We want to be a multidisciplinary player,” says Trifone. This is the case with the aforementioned wireless system: it makes it possible to retrieve analog and digital signals from the field and transmit them to control systems with a wi-fi communication. The benefits? As the company’s technicians say: reduction of cables and connectors, less installation and maintenance time, reduction of risk of breakage and interruption, reliable and noise-resistant communication, increased flexibility of the machines.

“Experiments in the automotive sector, one of the most critical sectors in terms of the presence of disturbances and interference, have served to develop a technology that can be used on any line where robotics is present,” says Trifone. Wireless it’s zero cablingsolves the problems with cable wear caused by the most various mechanical stresses, such as robot. It is a technology that brings productivity and reliability’. Two years after its first appearance on the market, the solution is continuously updated. But it is not the only wireless technology that Smc focuses on. As we have said, iethe next step is 5Gthe industrial standard that the company invests in globally to soon arrive at proposing new and more efficient solutions.

A 360-degree vision of automation to create industrial IoT solutions

Smc laboratory in the Application Center (Brugherio)

The Smc approach to smart factory consists of providing perfectly integrated solutions to implement an environment”IIoT ready“How to develop services. On the one hand, the components exist sensorizationon the plant and machine level, on the other hand, all data collection through field protocols with a predominant attention onIO-Linkthe protocol that acts as a hinge with the edge. A wide range of products for measuring actuator flow, pressure and position, enabling the exchange of diagnostic data at automation level. As Trifone points out,

“Our interest goes beyond the individual component or unity, and it is with this in mind that we have developed the structure of the territory ». Advice, support and services are made available through a team of engineers, specialists for the various technological areas, which are activated in the pre- and post-sales phase. From the simple help desk, through field advice to co-engineering, customer support is present everywhere value chain of the product. “We have invested in training to get resources adapted to new technologies. The support is 360 degrees, starting from the development of the project. It is thanks to these skills that we are able to develop and transfer increasingly advanced solutions to the market», says the head of Smc.

Pneumatic and automation technology for flexible production

Smc Brugherio headquarters. With a global market share of 38%, the Japanese multinational Smc is number one in the world in pneumatic components. With over 5.5 billion euros in revenue, it is present in more than 80 countries, including Italy. 12,000 products and 700,000 different variants, 6 production sites in Japan as well as China, Vietnam, India, Singapore, the Czech Republic and production sites for local markets in the most important European countries

L’automation is in constant development. Companies increasingly need customized and tailored solutions, special and unique products to improve production processes, to build more efficient and performing machines. From mass production to mass customization, this is the way businesses are started. “It is no longer a question of mass production, but of doing it in a personal, economical, fast and sustainable way,” says Trifone. Industry 4.0 it is not a standard product that can be ordered from a catalog. To build flexible machines they offer adaptability, velocity And adaptation, there must be competences to support the design. Each customer has unique needs and requires a personalized approach, and at Smc we are able to improve solutions by offering exactly what they need. Does the solution want to be prepared for predictive maintenance? Algorithms must be developed machine learning, augmented reality? We depend on companies with which we have specific partnerships. We take care of all the automation technology needed to obtain the data ».

Collaborative design for an industrial IoT that extends the life of machines

THAT web services of Smc makes all product information available online to design systems and lines to create complete production processes. The development of the project can be done in collaboration with technical offices, or depending on the case with the involvement of a system integrator. “With digital the design of the machine has changed completely. Customers think about automation by looking at what aspects of it flexibility. During the same day, the machine must be able to handle different production lots, perform retooling and retrofitting ». Therefore, the need to design to minimize interruptions is to have all the information to understand if the machine is working well, where it can be improved and perfected. «The needs are becoming more and more complex, especially in terms of integration and timing. Everything must be done in a short time with quality and precision, as the level of service required is very high. But there is one important aspect to keep in mind: digital technology reduces obsolescence ». In short, like scientific progress has made it possible to extend people’s life expectancy, the same is happening withIndustrial IoT. “The machines installed in the last two or three years – born and conceived in the era of digitization – have a much longer life expectancy than in the past,” says Trifone.

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