Jeffrey Rowe has more than 40 years of experience in all aspects of industrial design, mechanical engineering, and manufacturing. On the publishing side, he has written well over 1,000 articles for CAD, CAM, CAE, and other technical publications, as well as consulting in many capacities in the design community. As editor of MCADCafe, Jeff brings extensive hands-on experience with many design and production software products, and bases his commentary on these products and services as a true end user, and not baseless marketing hype. He can be reached at 719.221.1867 or email@example.com. « Less
Jeffrey Rowe has more than 40 years of experience in all aspects of industrial design, mechanical engineering, and manufacturing. On the publishing side, he has written well over 1,000 articles for CAD, CAM, CAE, and other technical publications, as well as consulting in many capacities in the … More »
Lantek Sheet Metal Software Release Moves Customers Closer to Industry 4.0
April 21st, 2016 by Jeff Rowe
Lantek, a provider of sheet metal software systems announced the global 2016 release of its Lantek Factory concept and associated software products. The new version is targeted toward companies producing parts for sheet metal tubes and profiles. According to the company, the new release provides capabilities for customers to implement Industry 4.0 advanced and agile manufacturing processes. It’s the Industry 4.0 angle that makes this announcement really interesting.
Headquartered in Spain, Lantek Sheet Metal Solutions’ product suites include, Manufacturing Resource Planning (MRP), Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES), as well as its CAD/CAM nesting software. The software is used by companies fabricating sheet metal, tubes, and beams with cutting techniques that include laser, plasma, oxy-cut, water jet, shear, and punching.
The new release includes the following products and suites:
All of Lantek’s software now supports 3D CAD formats from Autodesk Inventor, CATIA, SOLIDWORKS, Solid Edge, Parasolid, PTC Creo, Siemens NX, and VDA. The range of supported CAD formats makes it possible to work with a 3D model, adding machining features in Lantek software.
What Is Industry 4.0?
Industry 4.0, Industrie 4.0 or the so-called fourth industrial revolution is a collective term embracing a number of contemporary automation, data exchange and manufacturing technologies. It had been defined as ‘a collective term for technologies and concepts of value chain organization’ which brings together cyber-physical systems, the internet of things (IoT), and th internet of services.
Industry 4.0 facilitates the vision and execution of a “Smart Factory”. Within the modular structured Smart Factories of Industry 4.0, cyber-physical systems monitor physical processes, create a virtual copy of the physical world and make decentralized decisions. Over the Internet of Things, cyber-physical systems communicate and cooperate with each other and with humans in real time, and via the Internet of Services, both internal and cross-organizational services are offered and utilized by participants of the value chain.
The term “Industrie 4.0” originated from a project in the high-tech strategy of the German government that promotes the digitization of manufacturing. The first industrial revolution mobilized the mechanization of production using water and steam power. The second industrial revolution introduced mass production with the help of electric power, followed by the digital revolution and the use of electronics and IT to further automate production. The fourth industrial revolution, then, is a natural outgrowth and evolution of the first three.
Characteristics for industrial production in an Industry 4.0 environment are customization of products under the conditions of highly flexible (mass-) production. The automation technology required is improved by introducing methods of self-optimization, self-configuration, self-diagnosis, cognition, and intelligent support for workers in their increasingly complex work roles.
This all looks good on paper (whatever happened to the paperless office anyway?), but some of the challenges that must be overcome for widespread Industry 4.0 to acceptance include:
While Industry 4.0 hasn’t really caught on yet in the U.S. (although I expect it will in a big way). A lot of companies (including Lantek) are recognizing its benefits and potential, and jumping on the bandwagon for what looks to be the next big wave in global manufacturing. Lantek’s products have features that will help companies improve efficiency, communication, cooperation and integration, and give them some essential tools for the implementation of Industry 4.0. For the U.S., Industry 4.0 is not an “if” proposition, but “when”. I suspect relatively soon.