Digital technology for the aluminum industry

 

From 9 by 11 October 2018 the largest event for the global aluminum industry will be held in the German city of Dusseldorf – World Congress "ALUMINUM 2018".

Digital technology in the aluminum industry

The global aluminum industry is preparing to introduce digital technology - the introduction of the concept of "IndustryI'm 4.0 ". This conclusion was made 240 aluminum experts from 39 countries in a special review for the Congress “ALUMINUM 2018”. Questions, related to the concept of "industry 4.0», are the agenda for about 90 percent of companies. Near 62 percent of companies are already developing strategies or have reached the implementation stage.

The transition to digital technology and the development of smart manufacturing is one of the most difficult tasks for the entire industry. Aluminum industry is no exception. Digital production has a “very high” or “high” priority for 85 percent of companies, who participated in the review. As small companies (before 9 workers), as well as large industrial companies (5,000 employees or more) realize the importance of digital technologies.

What is the level of digital technology adoption

The levels of digital adoption in different companies differ:

  • 28 %  - are still in the "information-gathering" phase;
  • 28 % - are in the process of developing a digital strategy;
  • 23 % - the first digital projects were implemented;
  • 11 - already fully exploit digital technology.

How the use of digital technology is growing

Currently, projects in accordance with the Industry 4.0 concept are mainly implemented in the following sectors:

  • production (27 %);
  • departments of R&D (22 %);
  • product distribution (15 %);
  • logistics (13 %);
  • supply chain (12 %).

Digital technologies are already used in the following areas of activity:

  • product quality control (14 %)
  • information networks for machines ("Internet of Things") (14 %)
  • production technologies (13 %)
  • communication with partners (11 %)
  • mobile devices (11 %)
  • Cloud programming (9 %)

According to surveyed aluminum companies, digital networks for communication with customers and partners are becoming more important. Nonetheless, only 28 % companies include their partners in the planning and implementation of their digital manufacturing strategy.

application 4.0 by sectors of the aluminum industry

The extent to which digital technologies are applied in different sectors of the aluminum industry varies:

  • Networked equipment control (39 %) and product quality control (37 %) are considered the most important in the production of materials and semi-finished products.
  • Manufacturers of components for consumers of aluminum products consider the development of digital technologies for technological processes as the main task (38 %)
  • Production support services consider, that effective production control requires the use of digital network management of all units of production equipment (35 %)
  • Aluminum Processing Companies, for example, for surface treatment of aluminum products, interested in digital communication with their partners (38 %)
  • Distributors of aluminum products are interested in using digital technologies for operational communication with customers (67 %) and mobile devices (44 %).

The goal is value chain optimization

Efficient Manufacturing Technology, increased productivity and increased collaboration across the entire value chain of the aluminum industry - this is, what are the main advantages, that digital technologies can provide in accordance with the concept of Industry 4.0. Moreover, many companies, participated in the survey, hope for closer relations with partners and customers and expect faster and better interaction with suppliers, better customer support, as well as generally reducing the time for collecting and processing information, sharing information and making effective decisions.

Despite, that many companies are already planning and implementing their digital projects, there is a need to disseminate know-how and best practices in the development and implementation of digital production in the aluminum industry. Practical experience of digital solutions in the following areas is most in demand:

  • supply chain management;
  • network management and control of production equipment;
  • production automation;
  • processing large databases;
  • technologies for the sale and distribution of products in real time ("online");

From industrial aluminum production, manufacturers of aluminum semi-finished products and extruded products are most interested in digital solutions.

What hinders the introduction of digital technology

All companies participating in the survey expressed obstacles to the implementation of the Industry 4.0 concept in their work sites.. Digital projects in companies are held back mainly by a lack of investment funds, as well as by many unresolved problems in their practical implementation..

ALUMINUM 2018: focus on digital manufacturing

Coming soon, from 9 by 11 October 2018 of the year, World Congress ALUMINUM to be held in Düsseldorf 2018.  He will focus the attention of participants and visitors on the digital transformation of aluminum production and the introduction of smart manufacturing technologies in the aluminum industry..

At the Congress ALUMINUM 2018 there will be a new special venue called Digital Production and a special forum will be organized to demonstrate the benefits of computerized manufacturing. This forum provides an overview of the achievements in introducing the Industry 4.0 concept in the aluminum industry.

Near 1000 companies exhibiting at Congress and around 27000 visitors from 100 countries expected at this world's largest aluminum industry event. Spread across six exhibition halls, this Congress will showcase all sectors and sectors of the aluminum industry - from aluminum production to machinery and equipment for the manufacture of finished products and processing of aluminum scrap.

A source: Aluminium Industry: Digital Manufacturing on the Rise, 26 July 2018, ALUMINIUM 2018