Seamless assembly line production with smart CONNECTivity

The Connect, an industrial smart hub, recently unveiled by electric assembly tools specialist, Desoutter Industrial Tools, is poised to transform assembly line production. This innovative multi-tool management unit raises the connectivity bar, boosting flexibility, uptime and productivity.

The state-of-the-art hub, which was recently sold to an international motor vehicle manufacturer based in South Africa, provides a single point of connection for communication between the factory network and up to 20 cordless Desoutter tools, facilitating installation, customisation and line rebalancing.

“In using the Connect, our customers are able to rebalance their line which provides them with savings in terms of up-time and tool cables,” explains Corrie Coetzee, Business Line Manager, Sub Saharan Africa. “Furthermore, it also frees some tools to be used elsewhere on the line or as backup tools.”

Manufacturers, in aligning themselves with Industry 4.0, are introducing new technologies that will assist them to work smarter, more efficiently and cost-effectively leading to substantial cost savings and plant optimisation. Designed to accelerate the transformation towards the Industry 4.0 factory, the Connect’s features enhance traceability and data security to manage all items, actions and information relating to assembly line activities.

Available to the local market, the Connect -X model can activate up to 20 Tools, thus allowing a maximum of 20 Desoutter devices to be connected and used simultaneously with communications between the Connect and the tools, constantly transmitting and receiving data with no interruptions. The Connect -X has both internal and external access points.

Each tool is assigned a Tightening Unit on the Connect which acts as its platform and contains all items, actions, and information related to it. Customising, programming, integration and reassigning is possible without the need to reconfigure the whole system.

Application-based customisation is a prime feature of the Connect which provides customers with ultimate accessibility and flexibility. Desoutter feature management is a scalable solution that enables customers to, at any time, with a simple activation, add any additional features they require. The Connect can be fine-tuned by loading only those features needed for each application. These features can also be assigned from one Tool to another in response to the production line’s changing requirements. Furthermore, line rebalancing allows for Tool relocation as well as for the upgrade of the line whenever required by work load.

Further adding to the industrial smart hub’s versatility is a Removable Integrated Memory (RIM) that quickly and efficiently transfers data and settings from one Connect to another, enabling customers to reconfigure their assembly lines within seconds for optimised uptime and productivity.

“Even in situations where there is a failure, using the RIM, is as easy as removing it from the Connect, inserting it into another Connect and switching the unit on,” notes Coetzee, adding that the unit will start-up the same as before the failure occurred.

With a volume of only 4 litres, the compact unit can be installed virtually anywhere in the plant – at the workstation, at the end of the production line, in the server room or even on the process manager’s desk. This versatile element ensures a cable-free assembly line and frees up production space, improving overall safety and efficiencies. If all Connects are housed in the same area, the operator no longer needs to walk from station to station to check each line but can simply go to the Connect area to gather all the information required, for ultimate productivity.

Designed to be future proof, all existing Desoutter Wi-Fi solutions as well as devices currently in development, are fully compatible with the Connect, thereby future proofing manufacturers’ plants, providing them with solutions that they did not even know they would need. A number of dedicated error proofing accessories such as stack lights, socket trays, operator controls and remote user interfaces are also available to help assure 100% control reliability of the process.

The Connect harmoniously couples multi-tool management with advanced digital technology, accelerating transformation to the Industry 4.0 factory. This compact, powerful and smart connectivity solution deliver lowest possible total cost of ownership to customers. “For the factory of the future, this solution will allow savings far into the future which will free up funds which can be spent on other important matters, thereby getting the most out of budgets,” concludes Coetzee.