Digitalization is transforming the manufacturing industry.
Sandvik said the company harnesses collective intelligence to empower smart factories of the future. “Sandvik is revolutionizing manufacturing with digital solutions that enhance productivity and creativity,” said Magnus Malmström, chief technology officer at business area segment Sandvik Manufacturing Solutions.
Following a series of strategic acquisitions of highly specialized companies over the past years, Sandvik is uniquely positioned at key elements of the value chain, from design to machining planning and machining to verification. Connecting all the steps will incrementally enable unmanned, automated production.
Sandvik is in a situation where experienced teams with their own culture are coming into Sandvik with acquisitions.
“Since we strive for autonomy through our decentralized organization, we have found a way to collaborate on dependencies with a customer-first mindset,” the company stated.
In a new collaboration program entitled Collective Intelligence, 14 Sandvik brands from across the globe teamed up to leverage the power of connectivity between the various stages of the digital production chain, and to develop a common technology roadmap for the future.
“We want to harness the tremendous amount of knowledge in the product teams and encourage communication between them, exchange experiences and innovate together,” said Malmström.
Participating Sandvik companies are highly specialized in different areas, from CAD/CAM to metrology. As part of Sandvik Group, their skills may be applied in a much bigger context.
“By aligning on customer needs and key use cases, we overcome obstacles and become even more relevant,” said Malmström. “Our customers must be able to trust that our products work smoothly and seamlessly together, to create the best user experience.”
Malmström testified to the benefits of introducing digital, automated production. “Many European customers report that they are increasingly able to compete with low-cost suppliers in China and India. The agnostic approach means products and solutions work together across the manufacturing chain irrespective of vendor. The open ecosystem secures interoperability and connectivity with products from all leading manufacturers,” he stated.
Digital solutions and connectivity are key enablers of digital manufacturing. Many smaller manufacturing companies, however, lack a dedicated IT team, which makes user friendliness and ease of use when installing new software a top priority. “Our customers demand software that is easy to understand and apply, and creates added business value from day one without time consuming and costly configuration,” Malmström said.
The path toward smart manufacturing is not a revolution, but an evolution in incremental steps. Sandvik customers are found in different sectors, from automotive and aerospace to energy and consumer goods. The goal of Sandvik and the Collective Intelligence program is to address different customer segments with varying requirements.
Every great journey begins with smaller steps. The smart factory envisioned by the Industry 4.0 concept may not be realized overnight, at least not for smaller workshops. But, as Malmström concludes, the collective intelligence of Sandvik and early adopter customers is a great way to start: “We want to offer a smorgasbord where smart manufacturing is the common theme. The ultimate goal is seamless integration of all production steps,” he said.