Dudelange, Luxembourg — Husky Injection Molding Systems Ltd. is using new technology to digitize and automate production of molds and components.
The company said key benefits include cutting delivery times to within one week — compared to a typical four to five weeks — along with cutting cost. Husky is implementing the technology in its Dudelange factory with support from the Luxembourg government.
Bolton, Ontario-based Husky intends to roll the technology out in its Canadian plants sometime after 2021.
Husky unveiled the technology Feb. 6 at its European mold products business headquarters in Dudelange. President and CEO John Galt showed a video to illustrate fully automated manufacturing cutting "steel-to-mold" time to 17 minutes and a vision of cutting delivery time to less than one week in the future. That means Husky will be better able to compete in delivery against Chinese mold makers, "speed being our first goal," Galt explained.
Husky calls the technology a "new generation operating model" (NGOM) to "provide a heightened, more accessible customer experience."
NGOM was developed as a Luxembourg Factory of the Future project with software provider Siemens AG and the Luxembourg Ministry of the Economy.
At the event, Luxembourg Economy Minister Étienne Schneider explained that the country's third industrial revolution has adopted a "Rifkin Plan," inspired by U.S. economist Jeremy Rifkin's social and economic theories. Schneider called NGOM "a pioneering project illustrating our digital innovation strategy in the priority area of Industry 4.0."
Siemens Board Member Klaus Helmrich said its MindSphere cloud-based Industry 4.0 open operating system is key to NGOM implementation, by using simulation for design, production and process optimization. Shortening engineering time means 50 percent faster time to market, he said, as well as development of new business models. These include "pay-for-use" machine tools instead of owning tools, shifting from capital expenditure to operating expenditure.
Husky has 918 employees of 33 different nationalities in Dudelange, including 23 apprentices. Some 18 employees have been NGOM team members since the fourth quarter of 2018 and 74 employees participate in "closed-loop learning," with 3.2 million euros ($3.6 million) of financial support from the Ministry of Economics as part of the Luxembourg Digital Skills Bridge program.
Galt said NGOM is about fully digitalized and automated molds and mold core production by using the cloud to maximum benefit so either customers or Husky chose how Husky makes products. Customers should also be able to pay Husky to make molds, instead of doing it themselves, Galt suggested.