On July 17th the topic "Industry 4.0: The introduction of cyber-physical systems in the production facilities of the semiconductor industry" attracted all interested parties to the AP&S International GmbH company’s headquarters in Donaueschingen, Germany. The event was held as part of the Technology Mountains Tour 2018, a series of lectures organized by a German technology networking association. Practically, using the examples of company's own Industry 4.0 solutions, AP&S presented the possibilities and challenges of cyber-physical systems (i.e. the combination of computer-aided software components with mechanical and electronic parts that communicate via a data structure, such as the internet).
AP&S IoT solutions are used for machine monitoring, machine control, maintenance, service assignments, spare parts deliveries and deployment, but also in the sales process for demonstration purposes and in the development phase. In the focus by doing so is always the benefit for the machine operator/customer. "Machine monitoring by humans, as we know them from the past, is no longer necessary and won’t exist in the future." says Christoph Kluge, Head Software Department at AP&S and Managing Director of the subsidiary tepcon GmbH. "In the condition monitoring area our solutions provide a configurable visualization of real-time data in tables, graphics or flow diagrams, monitoring of threshold values and timely alert-ing e.g. via email, SMS or WhatsApp. The customer can intervene flexibly from anywhere at any time, e.g. via his mobile device. Machine failures can be avoided in time. Process data analyzes enable the recording and tracking of recipes and incorrect operations as well as a comparison with historical data, which lead to an optimization of recipe sequences and efficient planning of service assignments."
The topic of machine learning was explained on the example of an AP&S solution, which was developed for the in-house UHPW system and now operates with a great success. "A typical failure that causes un-planned shutdown in this type of water treatment system is a blocked filter. This was one of the starting points for our development. Now our solution predicts with 99% certainty whether the filter needs to be changed in the next 3 days. This leads to a reduction of downtimes and an optimal operating life. " After the presentation session a company tour and a live demonstration of the AP&S Augmented Reality solution followed. In the last one the participants were able to interact virtually with the AP&S wet process machines by using the Microsoft HoloLens.
On the participant question, whether the risks of increasing digitization such as in particular the fear of job loss, which is often discussed in the public, is an issue at AP&S too, HR Manager Cäcilia Wegner answered: "No, there are several reasons for it: We are a technology company, many of our employees are tech-savvy, show a great interest in developments and enjoy the use of latest technologies. With a wide range of trainings and regular in-house seminars, we are optimally preparing our employees for the changes that new technologies could bring to their respective jobs.”
The conclusion of the evening: the cyber-physical systems provide a wide range of advantages to their users, are on the rise and will decisively drive and influence the world of special machine construction.
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