AZO’s Digital World

AZO is continuing its strategy of digitisation, as already demonstrated at past exhibitions, at the K2019 trade fair. Further development of approaches is ongoing in order to supplement and improve new functions. The aim is primarily to offer better, practicable solutions with genuine added value for customers.
The first topic we are focussing on is virtual reality (VR). The engineering & services (AZO®e&s) division is presenting the latest version of the planning and digitisation tools, which can be used for planning systems and for services in the AZO®e&s area and hence also at AZO®Poly. Three different applications are demonstrated, which clearly depict the latest options for plant design in a virtual environment. 3D planning is used to create the model for virtual reality directly. In order to obtain an ideal basis for planning when extending or modernising plants, there is an option to create a point cloud via a 3D scan and to record the plant’s current status. This 3D scan has been made yet more detailed in the latest version so that even the most demanding design criteria can be recorded quickly and accurately and transferred to the digital realm. The time that is saved taking reference and interface dimensions can be invested in more detailed and accurate planning. In addition to the point cloud, a 360° photographic view represents additional added value from this service. A full 3D scan prevents incomplete documentation for supposedly unimportant areas and thus also potential additional expense for taking of measurements a second time.
The three applications can be chosen by visitors to meet their particular requirements. They give a clear overall picture of the broad portfolio, with which AZO can deliver intelligent solutions for its customers.
VR technology offers a wealth of advantages in plant design
VR technology offers a wealth of advantages in plant design
The second topic we are focussing on arises from virtual reality – augmented reality (AR). Here users are assisted in their view of reality with the aid of a computer, so it is their perception that is augmented. First and foremost, this technology can be used in the maintenance of plants.
We will be demonstrating our solution that provides a better understanding of plants and plant components with the aid of a tablet. Users can practically submerge themselves in the plant component. They obtain additional information, e.g. about components, wearing parts or functions that are on the interior and therefore impossible to see. Using a geometry-based comparison by means of a video camera, the tablet identifies the relevant component in the customer’s plant. Operating instructions, exploded-view drawings or simulations can immediately be shown for the identified plant component and be used for maintenance.
AZO is thus on the way to having a digital twin. The underlying structure for this is provided by Asset Management, which is stored in the ERP system and is based on an ERP material number as the key information. This means it is possible to depict the real plant, the digital twin. A cloud-based solution enables appropriate access and actions via web clients both for the customer and for AZO.
The first practical application is a maintenance function that makes use of these data. The next generation of manufacturing execution systems will show a message after a certain operating time about upcoming servicing – a feature that is familiar from the automotive industry. If wished however, the AZO plant can then in addition send an email to AZO with a request for support or report the requirement for servicing directly to AZO’s service department via an ERP interface.
AZO intends to consistently pursue this course of continuous development towards a digital twin, in order to see these solutions that are currently at the prototype stage through to the final product.
 
The third topic we focus on concerns the data from a plant. The Kastor DataCockpit solution demonstrated at past trade fairs will be a component in each Kastor manufacturing execution system from next year on. A basic configuration of predefined reports will be supplied with every plant.
Customers can analyse their systems, identify scope for potential improvement and initiate corrective measures. This software is based on the data that every plant with MES saves automatically in the database. Ultimately, the volume of data would be unmanageable for an individual. The data are therefore processed and presented clearly via a web-based application for graphical evaluation. The user can still examine the data in even greater depth until at the end each individual weighing is displayed as a graph.
The next stage planned is the option of adding to custom reports. This is done by AZO’s engineering team during the lifespan of a project or at a later stage during planned measures for optimisation. Of course, the fact that every AZO plant is unique is an important factor. Any measures for optimizing performance must be discussed with the customer and tailored for each specific plant. The same applies to data analysis. The fundamental specifications for every plant are also depicted in the data and need to be processed and visualised specifically for the individual problem.