At the Imtex 2019 trade fair (from L to R): Mr. Axel Schneider, Chief Technology Officer - Schmersal Group, Mr. Ramji Singh, Vice President – Sales & Marketing - Schmersal India, Mr. Michael Ambros, Managing Director - Schmersal Group,
The Schmersal Group is a global market leader in the field of functional machine safety. As a group we have had a very successful business year 2018 with continued growth rates. And we are convinced that this upward trend will continue. One reason is that we are currently experiencing a time of accelerated technological innovations, e.g. Industry 4.0, Artificial Intelligence, robotics etc. This has a positive impact on the global machine building industry, which is our major customer segment. The machine building sector is worldwide on a continued growth path. And Schmersal is growing with its international customers. This applies also to Schmersal India. In the Indian industry we see a growing awareness for the benefits of machine safety, especially since India is increasingly exporting its products and supplying multinational companies. But Schmersal’s success is not only due to a positive business environment. We do a lot to keep pace with the technological change and invest continuously in our R&D capabilities. That’s why we can always offer our customers state-of-the-art safety solutions. In India, we have an own R&D team to develop solutions that are adapted to the specific requirements of the Indian market – and which are produced locally true to the motto “Make in India”
A perfect example of a safety solution, that Schmersal has developed for the specific requirements of the machine tools industry is our solenoid interlock AZM400. The development was based on a survey which Schmersal conducted among its machine tool customers. They expressed a desire for a solenoid interlock especially for large safety doors that can also be locked and unlocked reliably under unfavorable conditions and thereby ensure a high level of machine availability. With this in mind, we have developed a solenoid interlock whose design combines compact dimensions, an unmatched strong holding force of 10,000 N, a bistable principle of operation, an electric-motor-powered locking bolt and integrated RFID technology. In this way, the product not only fulfils the desires of the users but also the requirements of new safety standards. In addition, the AZM400 has various features that help to prevent machine downtimes and increase plant availability. Meanwhile, this innovative safety interlock has been very well received by our customers. But it is also a good example on how we always strive to find the best solution for the specific needs of our customers
The safety of machine tools is a major issue. Complex machinery, high speeds, and high power levels can be a dangerous mixture for the operator. Nevertheless, machine tools are very safe products. This high level of safety has been achieved not least due to the European Machinery Directive and other international regulations, that have established worldwide very high safety standards to which the industry has to comply. Therefore, the machine tool builder must consider safety concepts right at the beginning of the design phase. At this point, Schmersal can support its customers with its expertise in both, the machine tool sector and in the field of functional machine safety. We can help our customers to identify possible hazards, to design customized safety concepts and find the best solutions – in terms of safety and also in terms of economic efficiency. In addition, Schmersal has the world’s largest portfolio of safety components and a global presence. Therefore, we see tremendous market opportunities since few other suppliers can offer such holistic safety solutions for the machine tools industry.
The machine tools industry like any other industry has to continuously improve its competitiveness in order to be successful in the market. Industry 4.0 concepts can help to achieve this goal. A major principle of Industry 4.0 is the collection and analyzing of data to monitor and control production processes. For example, predictive maintenance is based on a system of permanent status monitoring of technical processes and components directly on the machine. Sensors measure indicators including vibration, temperature and moisture. This data is recorded and evaluated so that potential component failure can be identified before it happens. The cloud is a key technology in this, allowing, amongst other things, comprehensive data analysis. The evaluation of monitoring information in the cloud is currently carried out with great success. The inclusion of safety technology in concepts of this nature has been an uncommon occurrence. The benefits, however, are obvious: components used to comply with safety standards can also provide data to contribute to increasing productivity. Schmersal has therefore developed a solution, that allows to transmit data from its safety sensors to the cloud: All safety interlocks and safety sensors as well as some safety light barriers from Schmersal fitted with an SD interface can transfer cyclical data to any cloud service via the PSC1 safety controller, an SD gateway or a separate edge gateway. A connection to this cyclical SD data within the cloud offers users comprehensive diagnostics options, including information on switching cycles, safety statuses, limit warnings, distance warnings and much more. The benefit is improved transparency. Machine and plant operators get a whole range of data that is collected during cyclical diagnostics of the safety systems, which they can then use to optimise their machine as part of predictive maintenance.
Embracing the ‘Make in India’ initiative, the manufacturing facility of Schmersal India is enhancing its product range by designing and manufacturing customised safety products as per the needs of the customer specific applications in India. Also, Schmersal plans on adding more skilled manpower to enhance their local R&D centre and Product Management to focus on developing even more products for the Indian market. To date, Schmersal is the only company producing safety switches directly in India, meaning that we are very close to our customers and the market. Also, companies in India are showing an increasing readiness to adopt advanced technologies. An example is robotics: In 2017 robot installations in India increased by 30% to a new peak. Hence, it is of utmost importance for companies to address safety issues with robots. They need to make sure that robots and humans are working together without endangering the human life and the process. With regard to robotics, Schmersal offers a comprehensive range of products to safeguard robot workstations, such as optoelectronic protective devices, safety mats, RFID based interlocks etc.
“The upward trend will continue”, says Mr. Ramji Singh, Vice President – Sales & Marketing, Schmersal India
The latest innovation that Schmersal presented in autumn last year was a safety controller with OPC UA connection. Many experts believe that OPC UA will establish itself as the new communications standard for digitalised production. The latest generation of safety controllers from Schmersal is therefore fitted with an OPC UA server. This type of communication via the OPC UA server offers additional options and benefits. Comprehensive data records from all safety sensors in the Schmersal range can now be accessed in machine-readable format, with semantic descriptions via the M2M communications protocol. This includes, for example, status data of safety outputs, safety keywords, information on sensor lifecycle, order information, datasheets or CAD data and images. The use of the global OPC UA standard ensures interoperability between products from different manufacturers and offers real added value for users of machines and equipment. They have access to additional information in order to, for example, establish the prerequisites for improved production control or more efficient maintenance planning. In addition, the key indices for products can be viewed and their documentation or operating instructions uploaded.
Our vision is to be the world’s leading provider of systems and solutions for machine safety. As a reliable partner, we assist our customers in all matters relating to functional machine safety and occupational safety and act as one-stop-shop for turnkey solutions. Our customers can confidentially entrust us with the provision of efficient safety technology so that they can concentrate on their core competencies. We consider our efforts to be successful once the expectations of our customers have been met or even exceeded and when we have contributed towards the safe, sustainable and future-orientated improvement of their production processes.
Schmersal India, production facility and headquarter, Ranjangaon, Pune, India
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