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16.04.2018 | Production + Production Technology | News | Onlineartikel

Greater Flexibility in Plant Conversion

Nadine Winkelmann

How can production plants be converted flexibly and safely in terms of "plug & produce"? The solution is an extended modular safety concept presented by the partner consortium of the Smart Factory KL-Industrie 4.0 production plant at the Hannover Messe trade show from 23-27 April 2018.

Every system supplier must issue a conformity declaration confirming that all hazardous risk scenarios for the system have been addressed and the minimum safety requirements have been met. In the case of a modular plant of the future, conformity can only be quickly confirmed after each conversion if a modular certification concept for the various plant variants is provided in advance. If the plant has already been certified in terms of plug & produce in advance, long downtimes can therefore be avoided. The partner consortium behind the Smart Factory KL-Industrie 4.0 production plant will showcase this extended modular safety concept at the Hannover Messe trade fair.

The flexible transport system (FTS) has now been included in the concept for the first time. When the FTS moves into the zoned area of a production line, it is automatically assigned to this section of the plant and its emergency stop loop accordingly. The use case clearly shows the practical advantages of the extended safety concept for modular production systems: instead of the FTS, for example, a module component may be flexibly exchanged and automatically certified. Only an existing safety profile is required for this component.

Controlling modular certification via the cloud

The extended safety concept is now controlled in real time in the cloud via the wireless 5G communication standard. This enables the deterministic communication required for certification. A digital copy of all modules is stored in the cloud along with various safety parameters. When a new module configuration is set up, it is compared with stored scenarios with the aid of IT. If the configuration is already known to be safe, the conformity of the new configuration is confirmed. "The advantage of this solution is the significant reduction in downtime resulting from a plant conversion, because artificial intelligence is managing the most costly and time-consuming safety decisions concerning the plant. We conceptually demonstrate automatic certification in the cloud at our stand," says Prof. Dr. Detlef Zühlke, CEO of Smart Factory KL. 

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