A User-friendly Environment for Production Monitoring

Following the acquisition of ZF Italia Factory Automation division, Yaskawa Italia now counts on more than 90 people working in four different locations throughout the country and acts as a supplier of complete solutions for industrial automation. The company’s commitment as a partner for factory digitization results in the offer of packages such as the Yaskawa Industry 4.0 i3-Mechatronics solution, an advanced tool for specific application monitoring of individual production environments.

by Sebastiano Mainarda

It’s time for important news at Yaskawa. The inauguration, last April, of the first European plant for the production of robots in Kocevje, Slovenia – which is expected to satisfy about 80% of the overall continental demand for Motoman robots – took place just a month after another milestone that involved, this time, the Italian subsidiary of the Group whose parent company is in Japan. In March 2019, in fact, Yaskawa Italia acquired ZF Italia Factory Automation division, the local subsidiary of the well-known international group ZF Friedrichshafen AG.
According to Norbert Gauss, president of the Drives Motion & Controls division at Yaskawa Europe, such an integration will allow the company to “make the most of the potential of the offer dedicated to industrial automation and provide Italian customers with better support”. During the press meeting organized at SPS Italia, Marco Civinini, Managing Director of the Drives Motion & Controls division at Yaskawa Italia, talked about the potential of a Group that, in the 25th year of its presence in our country, now counts on more than 90 people working in four different locations throughout the country: Orbassano (Turin), Milan, Modena and Brescia.
Looking at the global context, about 27 million drive components and 430,000 Yaskawa robots are have been installed worldwide. Sales in Europe in the last fiscal year exceeded 600 million euro.

Defining and viewing the KPIs
At SPS Italia we had the chance to see the latest version of the Yaskawa Industry 4.0 i3-Mechatronics solution, presented for the first time at the last Hannover Messe trade fair. It is a key element indeed within the “i3 Mechatronics” solution concept, which combines conventional mechatronics, ICT and digital solutions such as artificial intelligence, big data and the IoT. The brand-new Industry 4.0 i3-Mechatronics solution includes a redesigned graphical user interface to make the software even more user-friendly, and a new, integrated calendar function for scheduled preventive maintenance measures.
First and foremost, however, the platform offers industrial manufacturing companies of all sizes a toolkit for application-specific mapping of their individual production environments. For example, users can define their own key performance indicators (KPIs) based on preset tables, diagrams or trend graphs, and link them to data sources. The software development kit also enables experienced users to further customize the software.

Visualizing live data from production
The Yaskawa Industry 4.0 i3-Mechatronics solution allows users to collect and analyze relevant process and system data from networked production facilities in a scalable database in real time, or provide it for external further processing. The data is visualized directly and clearly in the software platform. The live data collected over a certain period of time represents the performance of a system, which can be used to draw valuable conclusions about possible weak points. Yaskawa Industry 4.0 i3-Mechatronics solution predicts the system’s future performance based on the performance data. At the same time, the software generates schedules for preventive maintenance and required measures to keep production running as smoothly as possible. In the event of a malfunction, the system offers valuable targeted information to allow a fast return to functioning production. The data can also easily be transferred to existing ERP, MES, big data or AI environments in compliance with the highest security standards to allow sound decisions to be made on this basis.
Yaskawa Industry 4.0 i3-Mechatronics solution works with data from Yaskawa robot production facilities and drive components, as well as many other installed components such as PLCs, safety technology and sensors from other manufacturers, as long as these components meet the communication standards (ideally OPC UA).