There is an acute need for more automation in the Swiss process industry.
Different process manufacturers can bundle their efforts to create cost-efficient and scalable solutions from which they all benefit.
What’s the problem you’re trying to solve?
There is an acute need for more automation in the Swiss process industry. Most automation use cases that are implemented are highly tailored to their unique setting of their process plants. As such, most automations are custom solutions with high development cost and limited reproducibility. That said, there are indeed production steps in the process industry, which are nearly identical for all manufacturers. For instance, quality assurance steps have to be undertaken regardless of your end-product – whether this is sugar or salt. For the automation of such “common” production steps, different manufacturers can bundle their efforts to create cost-efficient and scalable solutions from which they all benefit.
What are your goals and milestones?
Based on this notion, Schweizer Zucker, Schweizer Salinen, and CSEM – a Swiss research and development company – have started a collaborative effort through the Leap platform. Our aim is to jointly develop “common automation use cases” to strengthen Swiss manufacturing. On the basis of these use cases, the automation of process plants will be made more scalable and more cost-effective. Within this journey, we envision the following three milestones: First, piloting of highly-scalable automation use cases that stand to benefit multiple manufacturers. Second, foster a dialogue between manufacturers tackling similar challenges in factory automation. Third, a common catalog of automation use cases to facilitate inter-industry knowledge transfer.
What’s your approach?
In an initial step, Schweizer Zucker, Schweizer Salinen and CSEM have decided to pilot a use case within the context of control tour of inspection tasks in process plants. Therein, we were guided by the following question: which use cases exist that have such similarities that they can be employed in different factories using the same technology? Through a Leap Workshop we have identified several such use cases which we are currently exploring. Specifically: First, condition detection of pipelines in the manufacturing facility. Second, acoustic and visual detection of production abnormalities. Third, estimation of filling levels of raw product in storage halls. Here Schweizer Zucker and Schweizer Salinen have found a commonality in measuring level of storage for Sugar and Salt.
What’s the impact your aiming for?
We intend to leverage the Leap Ecosystem so that research & industry organisations as well as solution providers come together on the basis of concrete automation use cases, so that factories in Switzerland receive an “automation boost”.