STEEL INDUSTRY

Manufacturing Industry 4.0: 4 innovation trends

How PNR is entering the future of industry 4.0

Manufacturing Industry 4.0: 4 innovation trends

How PNR is entering the future of industry 4.0

FORECASTS OF THE MANUFACTURING INDUSTRY PERFORMANCE
2021 – 2022

The manufacturing sector, of which PNR Italia is part, is that sector of industry that transforms raw materials into finished products.
The current negative scenario, which is common to many sectors, is the result of the current global pandemic.

The data available are crucial in understanding and governing change:

  • The Istat Institute, in its Monthly Note on the trend of the Italian economy, argues that “the phase of improvement of global industrial demand and production, which was accompanied by the rise in Brent quotations, has continued. At the end of the year, international trade in goods in volume exceeded pre-Covid levels.“. And again, “The improvement of business and household confidence and the resumption of international trade could be factors in support of a positive trend in economic activity in the coming months.
  • The rebound in manufacturing turnover is estimated, in the next two years, at an average annual growth rate of 6.8% at constant prices, in the case of an efficient management of the health emergency that may create the conditions for a rapid return to a brighter demand environment.
  • The conversion of the manufacturing sector into an environmental and digital key will support a more vigorous recovery of the investment goods-producing sectors in 2021-22.

The conversion of the manufacturing sector into an environmental and digital key will support a more vigorous recovery of the investment goods-producing sectors in 2021-22.

What we can draw from these data is certainly the fact that, despite the period being very negative, one of the turning points is certainly innovation.

We’ve been talking about Industry 4.0 for years now, but what is it?
Industry 4.0, thanks to a technological mix of automation, information, connection and programming, will lead to the fourth industrial revolution according to experts. This is the direct consequence of the digitalisation in the productive field that has taken place for years. A process defined by analysts as “digital transformation”.

4 innovation trends in manufacturing industry

What are the trends for the coming years? What are we doing in PNR to be the protagonists of change? 

1 | AUTOMATION

Industry 4.0 will be highly automated. Today, more than ever, automation plays the main role in advancing industrial production towards growth, higher quality and lower costs.

PNR, thanks to its excellent Technical Office, internally realizes the process automation systems, for successive stages and giving priority to those products prepared in large batches, for which post-production operations required considerable time.

Today we have developed a robotic island able to choose, orient the parts to be assembled, assemble (full cone nozzles of small size), control, mark and finally funnel in a completely autonomous way. The system is totally flexible due to the easy adaptation to different products with the simple replacement of dimensional parameters in the control software.
We can now offer small full cone nozzles with controlled quality, in faster times and with a price competing lower quality products.

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2 | 3D PRINTING

Particularly in the design and prototyping phase, 3D printing is an excellent tool available to companies. It allows to save time, money and above all it cuts waste amount by reducing the material to produce a piece.

Also in PNR we use this technology for the prototyping phase, so for the moulding of parts whose traditional processing would be difficult and expensive. Once printed, the pieces undergo a treatment called shot blasting to remove dust residues and clean the piece

In PNR we have two types of Additive Manufacturing -the industrial process used to manufacture objects starting from computerized 3D models, adding one layer on top of the other, as opposed to traditional subtractive production methods such as milling machines or lathes that start from a block of material from which chips are mechanically removed.
One of the two types of Additive Manufacturing is Nylon powder sintering, the other liquid resin molding.

DCU Nozzle
Sintering of Nylon powders

UKD
Liquid resin molding

Diverter disc
Sintering of Nylon powders

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3 | ENVIRONMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY

The issue of sustainability has a growing impact on the political agenda and on business behavior.
In particular, within companies, this theme induces new practices that are potentially able to combine growth and economic performance, social and environmental sustainability. With “environmental sustainability” in manufacturing companies like ours, we mean to promote both resource and energy efficiency and sustainable infrastructures.

PNR Italia does not have work processes with significant environmental impact. Despite this, for years it has been investing to improve structures so as to minimise potential risks.

For more than a year, PNR has become a solar energy producer, with a 203.93kWp plant that produces a monthly average of 20 MWh of energy, avoiding carbon dioxide emissions for over 9 tons equal to an average of 240 trees planted.

› The plant is monitored in real time 24/24

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4 | QUALITY 4.0

The transformation towards Industry 4.0 poses new challenges for all company functions, focusing on the issue of Quality.
For a company like ours, in fact, one of the most important parameters is the controlled and constant quality that is assured to the customer. In PNR we invest considerable resources in quality control and therefore in its modern instrumentation.

One of the tools available to our laboratory is an automatic dimensional measurement system using images. Conventional dimensional measurements, in fact, risk being slow, complex, inaccurate and even dependent on the skill of the operator.

This high precision instrument can be programmed to instantly detect the measurements to be kept under control, automatically adapting to the position and orientation of the piece under examination, even for several pieces at the same time, with considerable advantages over control times. When used during the series production of a particular, the instrument records the subsequent measurements, calculates statistical values and allows to keep under control the possible degradation in the precision due to the wear of a certain tool.

This advanced measuring system is just one of the many equipment and tools available in PNR Lab. Quality control has always been a key element in PNR fifty-year manufacturing history, in order to guarantee to its customers the best possible products.