Array Plàstics, S.L. has been awarded with the 4.0 Industry accessit Award, which the 4.0 Industry Commission concedes once a year, to the companies with remarkable implementations of 4.0 Industry.

It doesn’t exist a clear and consensual definition of what 4.0 industry is, probably because it’s an industrial paradigm change that we are immersed in – I would say that we are just starting it – and for this reason we don’t know exactly where the 4.0 will drive us. To simplify, 4.0 Industry (or 4th Industrial Revolution) it’s accepted as a new way of organising the production means in a more intelligent way, looking for interconnection, adaptation to needs and technological optimization of resources. Technological bases of this revolution are, among others: the IOT (internet of things), artificial intelligence, Big Data, 3D printing, cyberphysical systems, robotics…

Array Plastics, S.L. has long been aware about the importance of Automation and the interconnection of processes for the competitiveness and quality of our parts. For this reason, we started our bet for the 4.0 industry long time ago, connecting a PC to each injection machine to control its production (MES), quality (defects, quality control), traceability (total traceability per box)…. Our next step is beyond:

The SENTINEL project is the development of a real time data monitoring and PREDICTIVE control System for the plastic injection process.

SENTINEL project basically deals with:

  • Continuously data gathering from the injection Machine of 3 parameters, which are considered the most representative for the quality of the injected part. This is done by connecting a PLC to the 4.0 computer and then to each machine.
  • By means of artificial intelligence techniques, Big Data and Machine Learning, the data is processed in order to make a quality real time prediction of the parts being manufactured.
  • During the learning process, every time a defective part is detected, the operator informs the System about the specific defect. In this way, thanks to artificial intelligence the SENTINEL System is continuously fed with updated information, so as to improve the prediction, changes its algorithm.
  • When SENTINEL identifies a cycle that it’s considered by its artificial intelligence algorithm that might provide a defective part, it sends a signal to the robot connected to the machine, that separates the faulty part. In this way, it’s possible to guarantee that all the parts that are sent to the costumer are correct, and any suspicious part is taken out of the flow.
  • The System keeps and manages the data of hundreds of thousands of cycles in order to maintain the traceability of all produced parts. (Big Data).

This project, which Array Plàstics, S.L. is carrying out in conjunction with the Eurecat technological centre, has received a grant from ACCIO co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund of the European Union under the FEDER Operational Programme of Catalonia 2014-2020.

Currently, the project is being tested in real injection cases to debug algorithms and user interface..

This research project is important for Array Plàstics, S.L. because it supposes a high quality guarantee, in such a demanding market as the automotive sector. Quality control, being the great revolution, is based on being able to predict any faulty parts from being manufactured in real time.