Ready for Industry 4.0 with the Smart Systems

The continuous requests for time-to-market decrease coming by customers who look for an increasingly high level of service persuades Italian companies to make their production processes smoother as well as more responsive and efficient.
Bossard, a Swiss company specializing in the development of customized logistics solutions whose origins date back to 1831, supports its customers in meeting such market needs by means of the solutions implemented within the Smart Factory Logistics, with the aim of obtaining a Proven Productivity. Companies all over the world will thus have the opportunity to rely on a lean production according to a “pull” logic aimed at avoiding downtimes. Smart systems for the management of B- and C-parts, such as SmartBin or SmartLabel, allow users to access the required data in real time and make information available throughout the supply chain.

by Giorgia Stella

The weight sensor at the base of the system
SmartBin flex consists of a weight sensor connected to a container. Each container is a separate entity that can be flexibly integrated into an existing point of use layout. The system is based on two major components: weight sensors, first of all, designed to meet all the requirements in terms of accuracy and stability and the tested ARIMS software, developed by Bossard. The SmartBin flex device can be placed anywhere that a standard container can, even at an angle, so often used at assembly yards. Employees can take the containers to the working area of the unit to be assembled or move from one working area to another, aiming to the highest flexibility.

A smart label for containers
Bossard’s SmartLabel can be applied to any standard box and at any storage site. The device allows users to view all important information about the product, as well as the real-time order status and the delivery date. Users can also issue orders directly from the point of use by simply pressing a button. The process is then simplified and more efficient. Furthermore, the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) is reduced and customers have more time for activities with a higher added value. The SmartLabel display is based on e-paper technology, which makes it easy to read under all lighting conditions; also, a long battery life ensures minimal maintenance.

The Smart Factory Logistics in action: towards the zero downtimes
“Relying on these key skills, Bossard provides customers with a complete package to meet the challenges of the fourth industrial revolution”, says Davide Di Marzo, general manager at Bossard Italia. These services are integrated with a portfolio of mechanical and electrical fasteners, along with technical and consulting services that make it possible to optimize production processes. Several manufacturing companies in Italy have turned to Bossard, implementing the Smart systems in their factories. One of these is the company Microelettrica Scientifica S.p.A. (MS), which manufactures various types of products in both railway and industrial sectors. The company has been working with Bossard since 2011. The drive towards Bossard’s systems came from the MS purchasing department that, persuaded also by the quality and prices of Bossard products, decided to take the road of the Smart Factory Logistics.
Such a decision made it possible to solve some inaccuracy issues. All the components are then always available and the possibility of downtimes is limited. Similarly, it was possible to reduce by 30% the quantity of small parts present in the warehouse thanks to a more efficient management, adjustable according to production needs. To date, in the Buccinasco plant of MS, the SmartBins are used for several tasks: as buffers for small parts from which operators can pick up the material and then move it to the workstations or directly on the line, thus meeting in a “lean” way the possibility to have the material available wherever needed.

Four types of benefits
“The installation of Bossard’s Smart systems ensured us some advantages, which can be grouped into tactical, instrumental, strategic and technical ones”, says Paolo Lambardi, Back Line Process Leader at Microelettrica Scientifica.
“From a tactical point of view, we have solved the problem of having lack of material in the production line. From the instrumental point of view, every issue related to material feeding is managed by Bossard. Therefore, MS has more time and resources available. Bossard also manages the warehouse of one of our subcontractors, thus feeding and delivering the required material. Basically, material supply is then optimized, without any effort required to our internal resources. On a strategic level, the relationship with a supplier like Bossard can be seen as a partnership. Finally, as far as the technical aspect is concerned, Bossard is a global supplier that ensures compliance with all the standards as well as the ability to meet any new technical requirement. We can say that Bossard has provided the solution to our issues as for this aspect”.

Flexible suppliers for a 4.0 development
With the aim to tell Bossard’s point of view, the general manager Davide Di Marzo talks about the reasons why Microelettrica Scientifica S.p.A. can be considered as an example of Proven Productivity.
“We did not have to convince MS to work with Bossard, as the common goal was and remains to optimize the supply chain processes. MS was, and is, strongly oriented towards Lean Manufacturing. We were aware that these goals would not have been easy to achieve but the results obtained by the customer have spoken for us. This is what I mean by Proven Productivity. We are proud to say that MS is one of our major customers in Northern Italy. Sharing the same values, the collaboration has grown over time thanks to a continuous exchange of data that made it possible to expand the production areas managed through our systems. The horizontal and vertical integration within the value chain is essential to meet market requests at best: being able to count on lean suppliers such as Bossard is essential to think of a ‘4.0’ development”.