Embedding Industry 4.0 for major global manufacturers

Posted on 13 Feb 2023 by The Manufacturer
Partner Content

Discover how Mpac Group Plc and Siemens are using Industrial Edge, virtual simulation and digital collaboration tools to help major brands transform their manufacturing operations.

In 2020, Tadcaster-headquartered Mpac Group realised it needed to embrace the next level of digital technologies to address changing customer needs, reduce time to market and innovate for the future.

Mpac is a global machine builder that creates high-speed packaging and automation solutions across clean energy, pharmaceuticals, food and beverage and healthcare markets, with customers including Mondelez, 3M, CooperVision and Johnson & Johnson.

The team at Mpac took the time to stop – something we all know is harder than it sounds – to analyse how they needed to adapt to meet customer needs in the future.

“When Industry 4.0 entered the lexicon, it became an industry buzzword. In response, we looked at how we could embed Industry 4.0 technology into our customers’ factories. This was quite a challenge, however, as the digital landscape is very noisy. To ensure we were taking advantage of its potential, we had to get back to basics,” said Mpac Group Plc Innovations Director, Mike Lewis, at a Siemens event in 2019.

Lewis continued: “We addressed a few critical questions, including: Where is data created in our business or product? How could this digital information be turned into value? Do our customers have strategic needs around digital? And, importantly, how can our company realistically meet these needs?”

Now, embedding leading technology, from key partners like Siemens, into solutions is supporting Mpac’s drive to deliver the best, most innovative digital solutions to customers.

Maximising OEE with data transparency and reporting

Data is essential in today’s factories. It helps to maximise availability, offer scalability and de-risk decision-making. But in most manufacturing businesses, huge amounts of data lie dormant and unused. Tremendously valuable insights are lost. Industrial Edge offers manufacturers a faster and easier way of collecting and analysing data so valuable insights can be acquired – flexibly integrated into existing automation systems.

With Industrial Edge, data is processed right where it’s generated, whether that’s in production machines, machine tools, processes or plants. This means users can make practical use of this insight for rapid optimisation.

Mpac Cube’s digital products use Industrial Edge to collect and connect machine data, so Mpac can present vital insights on OEE and machine performance to both its own engineers and its customers in just seconds.

Learn more from Rich Fear, Head of OEM, Siemens plc in this short clip.

Reducing risk, time and energy with simulation for automation

It seems that every industry, from film to sport, is adopting the latest CAD or simulation technology to better performance. But there is perhaps no industry that could benefit more from the potential of simulation technology than manufacturing.

Whether it’s at the machine, cell, line or factory level, simulation for automation offers huge efficiency and sustainability benefits to manufacturers.

A key challenge for machine builders is understanding what they don’t know. By simulating machines or processes virtually, Mpac reduces the risk of the unknown, ultimately ensuring that its customers get machines more quickly, knowing they’ll work first time.

De-risking builds also speeds up builds. In projects where machines need to be developed at speed, simulation allows for weeks to be shaved out of the build process, meaning customers get machines quicker.

There are huge sustainability benefits too. Simulation also allows Mpac to reduce energy and waste since its teams can work together in a sandbox environment to prevent inefficiencies and redundant waste, and to optimise machines before any metal is cut. The sustainability increase doesn’t simply benefit Mpac’s customers; it’s increasingly important to Mpac as a business, including its own employees.

Learn more from Matt Potts, Head of Operations, Mpac in this short clip.

Engineering efficiency

Producing more efficient machines is one thing, but working as efficiently as possible as a business is a real challenge in our post-pandemic, hybrid world. As a business with customers around the globe, Mpac needs to be able to produce efficient machines, no matter the location of its engineers or time of day.

By adopting tools like Siemens’ TIA Portal, multiple teams can work together simultaneously in a shared, centrally-managed database with traceable changes and clearly defined workflows.

Mpac’s teams now collaborate as never before, all in one space, irrespective of location or experience, breaking down mechanical, electrical and software engineering siloes to create one source of the truth and cut engineering and commissioning time.

“Our currency is innovation. We are always looking at new ways of embedding technology into problem-solving,” Tony Steels, CEO, Mpac.

Discover more

Digital tools are having a transformative impact in the machine building sector. Yet there’s incredible potential for these solutions to drive further progress to the benefit of all corners of manufacturing.

Discover more about Mpac’s digital transformation here.