Three leading Luxembourg-based manufacturers share how they are harnessing latest technologies and practices to stay ahead of the game. Learn about their experience and plans for Industry 4.0.
Cebi Group is a leading developer and manufacturer of components for automotive and household appliances, ventilation, electric vehicles and other industrial applications, employing more than 3,000 people in 13 countries. It recently launched an ambitious Industry 4.0 project in partnership with the University of Luxembourg.
Cebi admits that the company has always invested strongly in process engineering while vertically integrating its production. Over time, it has reached a high level of automation enabling it to become a market leader in specific segments while remaining competitive, despite strong market pressure and high labour costs in Western Europe. 86% of the turnover of Cebi Group is generated by plants in Western Europe.
According to Corporate Project Manager & Industry 4.0 Programme Director Franck-Alexandre Sallebant-Bessone, “you need to leverage the potential of the pro-posed technologies within a scope that will generate the highest ROI, i.e. increasing automation and robotics to improve uptime and optimisation of production equipment. We chose to address the challenge of increasing the overall equipment effectiveness, eventually enabling autonomous reconfiguration of manufacturing production units while supporting predictive maintenance, thanks to big data and live analytics.”
He believes a key driver is “a capacity to make the company responsive to change. Upgrading employees’ skills is an important success factor, not to be underestimated.”
Upgrading employees’ skills is an important success factor.
Going forward, Mr Sallebant- Bessone affirms that Industry 4.0 will be “a standard in the manufacturing sector and especially in the automotive segment. AI will start to support and help the workforce in all its operations. New technologies will enable better control of resource consumption and will support the mitigation of waste and inefficiencies. This is why we believe that the education systems have to transform to provide extensive training for young and experienced people in the digital field.”
Headquartered in Mamer, Luxembourg, Ceratizit Group is the world’s fourth-largest producer of hard metals which it transforms into wear protection and cutting tools for a wide range of different industries. Constantly innovating in the manufacturing process is something the company is focusing on.
In recent months, Ceratizit has initiated a whole series of projects to network their machines and collect project data, to increase the efficiency of their production, improve their products and offer new services to their customers. Big data and machine learning will of course also play a role in this. However, it is still too early to go into details.
According to Farsan Parwez, Ceratizit’s PR & Content Manager, “when implementing Industry 4.0 it is crucial to rely on standards when introducing new solutions. Industry 4.0 can help the company to better understand complex interactions within their manufacturing chain that could remain largely unknown or misunderstood without the use of digital solutions.”
Simply collecting the data is not enough. The art lies in the analysis.
Mr Parwez emphasises that Ceratizit “has a very strong industrial base in Europe with numerous key players who are active worldwide and also play a leading role in the implementation of Industry 4.0 solutions. Luxembourg is already doing a lot to strengthen the Industry 4.0 sector. Examples include FEDIL’s D4I initiative, and various LIST (Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology) and University of Luxembourg projects. Of course, more can be done, but Luxembourg is already on the right track.”
As to the continued development of Industry 4.0, Mr Parwez believes “the standards and technologies are now there but simply collecting the data is not enough. The art lies in the analysis and in making use of the data volume and finding the right people to do this. Not only through internal competencies but via public-private partnerships and cooperation with start-ups, crucial in order to be able to play a leading technological role.”
Household name Goodyear’s R&D operations for EMEA and Asia Pacific are based in Luxembourg where Goodyear currently employs some 3,350 people in R&D and manufacturing.
Engaged in numerous national and international R&D programmes, Goodyear represents today the perfect compromise between the traditional industry of yesterday and the innovative one of tomorrow.
In September 2017, the company announced the construction of a new plant in Dudelange in the south of the country dedicated to innovation in the automobile sector and code-named Mercury. The investment of USD 95 million is expected to create 70 jobs and the ultra-modern plant will produce 500,000 tyres per year, premium large size value-added tyres, normally produced in small series.
The ultimate goal is to deliver the right product at the right time at the right location.
The project will be based on Industry 4.0 using latest innovative technologies. The plant will be highly automated to produce high-performance tyres with high complexity using optimised production techniques. In partnership with the LIST, Goodyear is very much focused on data science. New business models are being developed and Goodyear believes that fast experimentation is key.
While not a lot of details are currently available, the plant is expected to build on agility to complement traditional manufacturing processes with digitisation and networking via high performance computing. A digital hub will connect people, data and processes. The ultimate goal is to deliver the right product at the right time at the right location. This involves improving the accuracy of the manufacturing processes, achieving a faster response to market demand and optimising logistic flows.