Manufacturers in the plastics and rubber industry are facing increasing competition, higher raw material costs and tighter margins.
Fausto Belotti, global segment manager for rubber and plastics for ABB Motion, says that adopting digitalization can help manufacturers address those challenges through increased efficiency while also enhancing their sustainability.
A "very significant factor" compounding the challenge of increasing efficiency is the global footprint of many manufacturers, Belotti said.
The global aspect requires them to optimize production on multiple lines spanning different sites in different countries. Because they need to be close to demand points and sources of raw material, larger manufacturers may have, for instance, a presence in 35 countries with a number of individual plants in each country, he said. Each plant also has different production lines, so to enable proper resource planning, they need a robust platform that optimizes manufacturing processes and reduces costs.
The end goal for many of these companies is to create smarter process equipment through digitalization — machines that can self-diagnose, self-correct and communicate with overarching plant control systems, Belotti said. The benefits of networked machinery are clear: increased productivity.