“Loading the Future”, organised in collaboration with ifm electronic and Digital Innovation Hub, was held on 2nd October at the new headquarters of our Hydraulic Systems BU in Lainate.
Around 100 participants, including clients, prospects and specialised press, discussed with us the future of components that were considered downmarket until now because they were non-automated, whereas today, it is clear how important these can be on the road to digitalisation of processes and complex control systems.
The day was kick-started by Roberto Maddalon – Ceo of Duplomatic, who explained how the company, with an extended experience in the construction of hydraulic valves, has made a clear change from providing products to providing solutions: "A choice dictated by the need to grow has urged Duplomatic to invest in one of the areas more akin to its traditional activities and in which it has gained key skills. Over the years we have notched up some enormous successes, achieving excellence in the production of hydraulic valves. All this has been made possible thanks to the people who work with us and joined us as the company began to expand. Faced with a globalising market, we must constantly compete in international markets. Markets that are now driven by the Industry 4.0 phenomenon, which also requires a concrete knowledge of communication protocols. This is why we were among the first to invest in IO-Link, without losing our core business in the production of valves".
The speech by Renzo Zaltieri, Head of Research and Development at Duplomatic, focused on IO-Link: "IO-Link is a communication protocol that is being used for industrial controls because it allows to access more data which is useful for predictive maintenance, without interfering with the logic of the PLC. In fact, the machine designer focuses only on the automation side of things, while the data for predictive maintenance can be managed directly on a dedicated and independent external system. In addition, IO-Link has the advantage of being easy to integrate into the system, which can be done gradually".
An advantage confirmed by Maurizio Bardella, ifm electronic's Project Leader, who pointed out that 95% of ifm products already have an IO-Link chip, allowing a simple IO-Link master to connect to the control units by installing only one cable and adding a virtually unlimited number of sensors.
An opportunity that Duplomatic was able to exploit in a control unit created by the new Duplomatic Hydraulic Systems Business Unit shown during the event. The hydraulic control unit, developed by Duplomatic's team of experts, manages the power supply and the movement of a hydraulic system, but also analyses the status of each single valve. A prerequisite to properly manage predictive maintenance, whose benefits are apparent in comparison with the performances of a "traditional" control unit.
In order to make the most of technology, as Giuseppe Linati, Head of the Digital Innovation Hub Lombardia (Dih) pointed out, it is however necessary for companies to increase their level of digital maturity. A process that Duplomatic keenly supports in the development of vertical projects and via its Training Centre.