- Amberg Electronics Plant is perfect example of automated production
- Real and virtual worlds merge in “Digital Factory”
The Siemens Electronics Manufacturing Plant in Amberg (EWA) is celebrating its 25th anniversary on September 12-13, 2014. Among the products Siemens has produced at this location since it was founded in 1989 are the Simatic programmable logic controllers (PLCs). Amberg currently manufactures more than 1,000 versions of this product which controls machines and plants, and automates production. This not only saves time and money, but also increases product quality. Simatic controls the on-board systems of cruise ships as well as industrial manufacturing processes, for example in the automotive industry, and even ski lifts. Simatic also controls production in Amberg itself. Products made for some 60,000 customers all over the world are ready for dispatch within 24 hours.
For many years now, scientists have been discussing how manufacturing will change in the future. They discuss different visionary models that have all a common sense: end-to-end digitalization. The main elements of a digital factory are already installed in the Amberg Electronics Plant today. Products communicate with machines and all processes are optimized for IT control, resulting in a minimal failure rate. Although the factory is highly automated, its outward appearance has changed little since 1989. The plant has increased production eightfold without expanding the production area, and with hardly any change in the number of employees, which currently stands at around 1,100.
Siemens is the global leader in the electronic controller market, and with a production quality rate of 99.9988 percent, the plant is a showcase factory in its field. Karl-Heinz Büttner, Head of the EWA, said, “I don’t know of any comparable factory in the whole world that achieves such a low failure rate.” The factory makes some 12 million Simatic products each year and, with 230 working days a year, this means that one product leaves the plant every second.
Production is largely automated. Machines and computers handle 75 percent of the value chain autonomously. Employees are responsible for the remaining quarter of the work. The only time a human hand touches the basic component – an unpopulated printed circuit board – is at the start of production when an employee places it on the production line. From that moment, everything is machine controlled. Simatic units themselves control the manufacture of Simatic products. Some one thousand of these controllers are in action from one end of the production line to the other.
“For 25 years, Amberg has been showing that high-tech innovation secures the long-term future of Germany as an industrial location. We’re proud of the Amberg site and the Electronics Plant, which indicates the direction versus Industrie 4.0.”
– Joe Kaeser, President and Chief Executive Officer of Siemens AG.
Nevertheless, human beings will continue to be indispensable for developing products and production processes, planning production, and for handling unexpected incidents.
by email@example.com of PowerElectronics korea news