by Baris Cem Ozpolat, Ozpolat Makine, Turkey
There is a simple, but a very frequently used term in business nowadays: Industry 4.0.
Industry 4.0 is very valid and very necessary term but, in fact, it is a brand.
Let's explain: There is a specific era we think of when people say 'Industrial Revolution' or 'The first Industrial Revolution'. In this period, people began utilising steam energy in
production processes during the 18th century, which caused production speed to increase and production costs to decrease.
These results have raised awareness of the benefits of using machinery and not only hands and tools in the production process. This is called the Industrial Revolution. According to many, the second Industrial Revolution was the 'mass production system' Henry Ford invented in the early 1900s.
Mass production means producing hundreds of the same products at once. In this system, the main purpose was to decrease the production time per unit. However, when applied successfully, mass production also led to decreasing the production costs and decreasing product defaults. When producers realised these results, all producers converted their production systems to ones featuring mass production, no matter whether they produced cars, pencils, furniture or chocolate. And that is how Mr Ford ended up being called the 'father' of the second Industrial Revolution.
Until the 1980s, only machines, the labour power and our brains were used in all production types, including mass production. All calculations and crosschecks were being done by
experts by hand. In the 1980s, society then started benefiting from the first examples of digital technology; computers started to be used in production processes.
Although computers were only being used to make people's jobs easier in calculating and recording production, the ones who use computers started to use their time more efficiently and produce with fewer default ratios compared to the users who did not use computers in production. So, day by day, more computers started being used in production. People who invented 'Industry 4.0' called those years the third Industrial Revolution.
Industry 4.0 is the name of the fourth Industrial Revolution of which globally known engineering and technology company Siemens are accredited to having started. Therefore, Industry 4.0 is a brand of Siemens. The main purpose of this revolution is to use computers and components in production, but not as a helper.
In the 20th century, as people were growing more conscious about human rights, producers realised something: All their production processes were depending fully on their human workers. They found out that to develop their production, they needed to develop their workers.
They used various methods to achieve this goal, such as training their personnel, giving them the feeling of belonging or paying them high salaries to increase worker fulfillment. Some of these methods did work, actually. But after a while, no-one was able to develop with the same speed they used to have. Because no matter how trained or how dedicated their workers were, humans were just humans. Humans made mistakes.
Plus, the time of a human was getting more and more expensive. Since products grow more and more complicated and specialist in terms of manufacturing and understanding, finding the right expert was getting more difficult.
This is where Smartmill, the technology that Ozpolat has developed and has solely the rights of comes on the scene. Ozpolat has designed a smart and 'lightless' factory for the milling sector. The reason why people call Smartmill 'lightless' is that you do not need to turn on the lights when the mill is running because there are no workers inside.
Smartmill is the name of the new technological system Ozpolat has designed for mills. The results of Ozpolat's study is well worth paying attention to. According to Ozpolat, when we replace the people in the production process with PLC machinery and robots, and when the decision-making software is working according to the results of the data it receives from sensors and cameras, two things dramatically change: Production costs can decrease by up to 15–20 percent. The number of errors taking place in the factory also goes down to almost zero. They almost disappear.But these are only the first two advantages of the Smartmill.
The new mills set up with Smartmill technology can run non-stop for 24 hours, therefore the electricity consumption stays the same and at the minimum level all the time. Another difference from a regular mill is that the first quality control at the intake section is also done by sensors and software. Your mill is checking its own raw material's cleanliness, colour and moisture and contacts you electronically if any discrepancies or changes should be brought to your attention.
From cleaning to dampening, from milling to packaging sections, you can track your inlet and outlet extraction rates for all sections simultaneously all the time and you can always track the efficiency of each of your machines.
One of the last things you want is your mill to stop. That is why your mill notifies both you and Ozpolat a week before it needs a spare part. Ozpolat already promises to keep all the spare parts for any brand new machine for 10 years, so you can receive your new part within a week from the date of notification, which means you do not need to stop your mill no matter in which part of the world your mill is in.
You can directly communicate with your Smartmill and can programme it to suit your own unique needs. You can give your mill commands such as 'Start working at 8am and work for 12 hours' or 'Start working at 7am and work until 9pm' or 'Start working at 9am and mill 100 tonnes of wheat' or 'Start working now and produce 200 tonnes of flour'. And the best part of this is that you can do all of this from the convenience of your smartphone.
You can see a list of all machines which are actively working and another list of all machines which are on standby in your mill on your smartphone. If any machine is working, you can see the current capacity and the electricity consumption of that machine. Plus, you can stop the section of the machine you want or restart them from your smartphone.
On top of that, if anything out of the ordinary happens in your mill, such as a capacity or extraction rate drop at a section or an electricity consumption increase for any machine, your mill calls you and lets you know. So, you know where to look even before a potential problem starts and you can shape your mill the way you want.
The Ozpolat Milling Machinery Technology team believes that the number of Smartmills in the world will increase in the next five to 10 years and a Smartmill is the only way for millers to be able to compete in the future. According to the Ozpolat family, mills that operate with human labour that are more prone to mistakes, have low efficiency and high fixed costs will not have much chance to compete with others in the future.
The motto of Ozpolat, 'Mill of the Future is Available Today' is coming from that point of view.