How is the digital reconversion of heavy agro-industrial machinery
Is the sector ready to make the leap towards industry 4.0? What are the technologies capable of catalyzing the intelligent manufacturing of caterpillar tracks, seeders and harvesters? Today, there are 10% of companies between medium and large that are technological, 45% in the process of change and another 45% that have not yet begun to go through this revolution.
In economic terms, the patenting of harvesters, tractors and sprayers reached a total of 7,494 units in 2021, with a year-on-year increase of 37.8% compared to 2020, according to the latest data released by the Agricultural Machinery Division of the Association of Automotive Dealers (Acara). To meet the demands of the market, it is important for the sector to take another step towards an infrastructure capable of obtaining data, processing it and converting it into intelligence for subsequent decision-making. Consequently, it can be said that the concept of the fourth industrial revolution permeates production in a way never seen before. Interconnected manufacturing, real-time data (Big Data) and artificial intelligence are some of the tools that have arrived to speed up processes. This implies investments in networks, data service and reliable storage servers.
One of the initiatives that has been incorporated is to have the equipment monitored and connected to obtain data in real time as they are the ones that, in this instance, report the information to be processed. These tools, today, are characterized by being wireless and flexible. This is something new in intelligent manufacturing of agricultural machinery: the possibility of connecting all electronic tools and assembly processes on a universal platform to make products faster at lower cost..
How is this reflected in the production? From the central controller, abnormal operating parameters can be identified and interact with the operators who are working in person to avoid a possible plant shutdown. Or, for example, detect if the torque of the tractor tire is correct or if, on the contrary, the operator forgot to adjust a part. In addition, alarms can be generated on certain tasks that are recognized as incomplete or inefficient.
Thanks to the high levels of automation and digitization, today it is possible to connect in real time all the actors that make up the productive structure of an organization, making it possible to decentralize decision-making. At the same time, it is important to note that the big data generates new challenges, since not everyone is prepared to make use of the information generated by the ecosystem.
Before this panorama, A determining factor for entrepreneurs is to understand how to manipulate all this large volume of information so that it can later be used for a specific use that produces profits.. Either: increase activity time, reduce defects, introduce new products, improve productivity, improve human interaction with the work to be done and generate less environmental impact, due to the consequent use of energy.
The author is Business Line Manager for the General Industry division at Atlas Copco Argentina