Hannover, Germany. Industry 4.0 technologies are becoming increasingly important to process engineering industries as well as manufacturers of measuring equipment and process automation technology. The chemical/pharmaceutical industry is developing new modularization concepts for their process equipment in the context of ever shorter product introduction times, with the goal of substantially increasing the flexibility of process engineering plant and equipment.
"Plant and equipment designed for module-based production require intelligent and modular automation technology, leading to a whole new set of requirements for manufacturers of automation technology," reports Gunther Koschnick, Managing Director of the Automation Association within the German Electrical and Electronic Manufacturers' Association (ZVEI). Staged during HANNOVER MESSE in Hall 11 (stand D44), the special "Modular Production" display will feature technical implementation concepts involving modular automation, providing a glimpse of the future. Organized by ZVEI, the group pavilion is supported by NAMUR (the User Association of Automation Technology in Process Industries) and ProcessNet, along with the following twelve big-name enterprises: ABB, Emerson, Endress+Hauser, Festo, HIMA, Phoenix Contact, R.Stahl, Samson, Siemens, Wago, Yokogawa and Spiratec. The exhibits presented by these companies at HANNOVER MESSE will reflect their ideas and solutions – for example, a container for the chemical processes involved in leather processing – while at the same time offering a visualization of the "Module Type Package" for modular production. The Modular Automation committee in ZVEI as well as the Automation of Modular Equipment working group in NAMUR are jointly developing specifications for a manufacturer-independent definition of modules.
"Modular production will streamline engineering, make production more flexible, reduce time to market, boost efficiency and generally lead to greater competitiveness," declares Koschnick. He continues that automation technology is developing ever more in the direction of providing "the appropriate technical support for modular process engineering equipment."
Germany is the world's biggest exporter of chemical products. To maintain its competitiveness, the chemical and pharmaceutical industry is developing flexible modularization concepts for its process plant and equipment. The ability to substitute individual modules provides companies with greater speed and flexibility so they can make tailored product adjustments. Axel Haller, Chairman of the "Modular Automation" committee in ZVEI, sums up the process industry's group pavilion in saying: "Modular production is possible, and we have the concepts and solutions needed to make it happen."