How important is innovation in industrial production today? We talk about it with Diego Zagato, who presents the new AGV, an automated guided vehicle.
In 27 years Diego Zagato, Plant Manager, has seen CPC Inox transform itself into an increasingly solid and enlarged industrial reality. Many are the innovations introduced that have improved the production processes bringing many advantages at all levels.
Here is the complete interview
How many years have you been working in CPC?
I have been working at CPC since 1994 and next October it will be exactly 27 years.
Over the years, I’ve been involved in many different fields: as workshop manager in Basiano, I’m active in different areas such as logistics, purchasing and supplying and maintenance, but always with an open door to plant engineering.
Before the new millennium, the company had fewer employees, the tasks were rather broad and encompassed areas not always attributable to a single figure or a single department. This allowed me to have a broad overview that has always come in handy.
The importance of innovation
What is the aspect of your work that you like best?
Mechanics has always been my vocation. I had a school career that formed me and oriented me towards the curiosity of knowing “how it works” and why it is done that way. In CPC I found the opportunity to combine this inclination with the company’s strong need to get into the specifics of the lines we use, to learn to know and evaluate them; over time this has led me to be a reference for plant engineering.
The continuous technological evolution has enriched the plants with contents that were unthinkable until some time ago, revolutionizing production with surprising innovations. Today, digitalization, man-machine interfaces, operating logics and electronics in general allow a very precise control of plants and enable us to govern production processes with strict limits and extreme precision. In some cases, even, the plants can be left in operation without human supervision, because they are able to discriminate autonomously whether the line can continue working or must stop.
CPC Inox has always pursued this evolution by investing, converting or modernizing plants and working tools, selecting the most technologically advanced models available on the market and suppliers able to guarantee high quality standards.
So, to answer the question, being able to work with innovative tools and rich in new content and technology is one of the things I like and appreciate most about my profession.
What innovations are making a difference in industrial production in your sector today?
One of the great advantages introduced by innovation in our sector is the continuous control of the process through the constant reading and memorization of the strategic parameters useful to reconstruct, even at a distance of time, what happened at a certain moment and in a particular work order.
For some years now, government institutions have also contributed to giving a great acceleration to innovation according to the “Industry 4.0” model by facilitating taxation of automation systems interconnected with company management systems.
Today I believe that what makes the difference are those innovations that remove the repetitiveness, the monotony, the fatigue derived from some elementary operations, leaving the operators free to occupy their time in a more responsible role in the chain of control, in different aspects
- qualitative (continuous inspection of the materials being processed, control of processing accuracies in compliance with permitted tolerances, etc.)
- of accuracy in the preparation, packaging and packing of products to be shipped
- organizational to better manage the working methods of a given work order
An example of this is the new AGV self-driving vehicle that we have just tested in the tube department. The machine moves in complete autonomy the bundles of pipes produced by the production lines, placing them in the automatic warehouse that CPC has inaugurated in 2020.
The Automated Guided Vehicle AGV
What are the advantages of the AGV?
AGV is the acronym for Automated Guided Vehicle and identifies vehicles, mainly used in the industrial field, for the handling of products, sub-assemblies or manufactured goods within a plant.
The AGV system performs the mission and stops, temporarily or not, in case of anomalies or obstacles detected by the safety sensors.
Once the obstacle is removed, the AGV continues its assigned mission. Regarding this last aspect, it is worth underlining how much technology has greatly improved AGV systems, equipping them with intelligent software capable of optimizing pickups and routes and all this considering two important parameters: reliability and safety.
Already in 2019, with great foresight on the part of the company, at the same time as the idea of the automatic warehouse, an automated system was thought of as the next step to convey the bundles of tubes produced by the various profiles inside the warehouse. The AGV responds perfectly to this need, transporting the tubes to the loading bay of the warehouse to be automatically recognized, codified and loaded without human intervention.
The advantages are really many.
time saving: not having to transfer the bundles of pipes from one bay to another, the operators can dedicate themselves to other tasks.
Safety is increased: line operators no longer have to stack bundles of pipes on top of each other to optimize space in the span, which used to reach considerable heights.
The bundles now quickly go into the automatic storage and the line operators have more time to do other things.
The bundles are stored in the automatic warehouse in a more orderly manner than they used to be manually, thus optimizing the filling of the latter.
The AGV vehicle is constantly in service and helps the operators even during the night hours of the H24 shift profiles.
What advice would you give to those starting out in this job today?
I would advise those entering this world today to have a lot of passion and curiosity. To observe and think for yourself, but at the same time to listen to the people who work on the plants and those who have more experience. That if something can be done more easily, that is the right way.
To not take anything for granted and to think that nothing is too easy and nothing is too difficult.
I always like to give this example: how many times have we heard the phrase “he can’t do a tube”. The intent of those who pronounce it is to denigrate the ability of the subject, without having the real awareness that, to make a pipe, there is behind a really meticulous work!