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Creating the learning-circle

Contributor

To unlock the possibilities offered by Industry 4.0, businesses must be ready to learn from each other – as the ‘closed loop’ between Samac and Bosch Rexroth demonstrates.

Building a feedback loop between customer and supplier is essential for successful innovation. 

It’s rare for organisations to go full-circle. But that’s exactly what Bosch and Samac did, allowing each party to supply their services back to the other.

The result is a valuable case study in collaboration – and an important lesson on mutual learning for manufacturers.

Made in Italy

Founded in Italy in 1975, Samac is a specialist producer of assembly and testing machinery, mainly for the automotive industry.

The Brescia-based company, which doubled its production area at the end of 2017, approached us with a forward-thinking proposal. We’d supply the firm with components for their new assembly lines and train their staff to identify new engineering opportunities. In turn, Samac would use our systems to supply assembly and testing systems to companies in the Bosch group – bringing the story full-circle.

Shared goals

Samac aimed to double their production capacity while maintaining the high level of quality demanded in the manufacture of automotive powertrain and safety components.

We were therefore the natural choice – offering exceptional plant reliability, industry-leading efficiency and a level of system modularity that would allow Samac to expand their factory operations in the future. In return, we would have a window onto how our customers use our systems.

Samac began to integrate our components into its assembly and testing lines almost 30 years ago. Our team acted as a consultant for Samac’s technical and design choices, before training some of their 75 employees and associates to operate their new systems.

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Closing the loop

This learning was put into practice in our own factories – with Samac commissioned to supply new assembly and testing systems to Bosch Rexroth Oil Control and another Bosch plant.

This new Bosch plant is, in turn, a showcase for Industry 4.0 in action. Designed for the assembly and testing of car vacuum and oil pumps, the line uses our modular system in a lean manufacturing layout.

Manual operations are managed using poka-yoke checks, while our data monitoring and registration systems provide traceability and interconnection.

Components include:

  • IndraControl XM21 control platform to manage production line automation
  • Complete system control via single-channel (CS3515–D) and multi-channel (SB356) racks
  • Intuitive system access via our IndraControl VR2109 operator panel
  • Precise axial movement via combined EMC axis and Indradrive CS drive
  • Axial screwdrivers with torque and rotation angle control 

 

Bosch Rexroth wins; Samac wins

Opportunities to close the feedback loop in this way don’t come along every day. But our story contains an important lesson. To lead at Industry 4.0 innovation, engineering teams must be willing to be both teacher and pupil.

Author: Massimo Gattillo
Job Title: North West Channel Management

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