Mazak Unveils Next Generation iSMART Factory Concept

Modern Machine Tools – November 24, 2014

Yamazaki Mazak headquarters in Aichi, Japan, has recently announced its new forward-thinking Mazak iSMART Factory concept. A dynamic, ongoing and limitless concept, the next-generation iSMART Factory represents Mazak’s all-encompassing manufacturing vision. Mazak will eventually designate all ten of its manufacturing operations as iSMART Factories, the first being the Oguchi factory in Japan and now the North American factory in Florence, Kentucky.

The Mazak iSMART Factory uses advanced manufacturing cells and systems together with full digital integration to achieve free-flow data sharing in terms of process control and operation monitoring. In the iSMART Factory, the MTConnect® open communications protocol works with process support software and provides connectivity and the capability to monitor then harvest data from all the different production floor machines, cells, devices and processes.

Through PCs and portable electronic devices such as smartphones and tablets, both management and manufacturing easily access the same real-time manufacturing data to improve overall productivity efficiency and responsiveness to customer/market changes.

“For Mazak, iSMART Factory is a vision – the complete digital integration of the factory with state-of-the-art manufacturing equipment, automation and advanced manufacturing practices. The name establishes a philosophy – a credo of sorts for Mazak that is unique to our operations but symbolizes our commitment toward the ultimate smart factory,” said Brian Papke, president of Mazak Corporation. “While the name is new, our U.S. factory has long demonstrated a commitment to growth and technological advancement, with a critical part of that strategy being such factors as plant-wide connectivity, automation and optimized production flow. At Mazak, benefits have and continue to be significant increases in machine utilization, shorter throughput times, elimination of non-value added operations, Production-On-Demand capability and more efficient part machining.”

In Kentucky, full simultaneous 5-axis, Multi-Tasking and DONE IN ONE® machining technologies, advanced automation that allows for different machines within the same cell and innovative machining systems highlight Mazak’s North American iSMART Factory operations. Also under the iSMART Factory umbrella in Kentucky, a fully automated paint line provides the versatility to completely change over from one color to the next very quickly and will be digitally monitored through the same technology.

Additionally, all the various manufacturing systems in the plant are designed for fast changeovers and allow for producing in small lot sizes and with a higher mix of components. The systems are also all integrated to the MTConnect standard, and further advances in 2015 will incorporate the factory floor data with Mazak’s ERP system.

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