System 4.0: the industry of the future is already here

The industrial automation industries are getting ready to enter the next generation of manufacturing

Fiorano Modenese, in the heart of the Italian ceramics district, is home to one of the leading international industrial groups in the field of automation for high-performance sectors: the System Group.

Founded by Franco Stefani in 1970, the System Group represents a hub of innovation and cutting edge technology, where the future of manufacturing is already here, right within its production sites and processes.
An example of great company dynamics, where the pioneering traits of its founder become the principles of the forward-looking actions that have transformed the traditional manufacturing industry into a new industrial era.

Within the Group, the theme of Industry 4.0 has been studied in depth by a special department named Digital Industrial Design, employing electronic engineers, mechanical engineers, IT engineers, chemists and physicists, with the aim of creating one of the Industry 4.0 models for the ceramics sector, as a point of reference not only in Europe but worldwide. Redesigning industrial production, analysing processes and production methods with the expertise and human assets within System are all intangible aspects that make the group one of the main players in the eyes of the international market.

The personalisation of products, reduction of costs and quantities are the new challenges faced by today's manufacturing industry. The changeover from large-scale production to production of small series or single product requires a high degree of manufacturing agility. In this scenario, the human assets, complete digitalisation of processes and effective use of data all represent essential factors, vital to the creation of a new manufacturing paradigm.
Within this context, a platform has been introduced, which the System Group with its business line and associate companies has been developing. On this platform, the final client, via the web gateway, becomes an integral part of the production process, transforming him/herself into the main actor in the new development model, shifting the focus from large-scale production to a "tailor-made" approach oriented on personal needs.

The objective set by System is to define a new standard in managing ceramics manufacturing, offering an authentic and effective service. With this principle of "Ceramics as a Service" clients can redesign their production processes and share them in an integrated application for using resources.
With this in mind, the company is working on a platform of software services, aimed at controlling production capacity of entire factories, optimising the quality of control processes and the standardisation of information received from systems, in order to provide management tools aimed at improving awareness and decision repeatability.
This is a product analysis tool hosted on highly integrated and cutting edge IT systems, which by using modern concepts aims at reducing costs, improving business processes and standardising the industry. Thanks to a single graphic interface of the latest generation and the use of 3D technologies, the production facilities can be represented as a whole and dynamically, enabling a holistic view of the entire production cycle, where all systems are connected and can share information on feedback or the alignment of processes, aimed at improving the process itself in real time.


This approach represents a real evolution and authentic role change for the company, which from manufacturer and supplier of machinery for automation now becomes a supplier of services, in which the organisational structure, and the relative business model, are redesigned in line with the cornerstones of Industry 4.0.

In terms of hardware, System is strongly aiming towards robotic automation, which will enable its machinery for the ceramics industry to change production without the need for operator intervention, all by entering production set-up data via the interface.

For several years already, the Group has been involved in a process of digitalisation, to offer its clients "smart manufacturing" solutions that until then were highly complex.
The digitalisation of production systems, automatic reconfiguration of machinery and total traceability are already a reality for System and have achieved impressive success and acclaim internationally among sector professionals.

In this highly evolving scenario, the role and expertise of man still remain central. The production process, thanks to interlinked machinery, can now communicate with its various components. Here emerges the fact that assigned personnel must be able to set machinery as well as solve any problems arising on the IT systems used to control production. The HMI (human-machine interface) here becomes essential, because with times changing, work changes, but the hand and mind that moves the instrument are vital to conquer territories still to be explored.

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