In 2020 the Parent Company El.En. S.p.A. began a re-organization of the layout of their plant which is still being worked on, and which includes the manufacturing area of the medical sector and a new plant for the production lines of the industrial area which were moved to a new factory which was completed this year. The objective for both sectors was the re-organization and optimal use of the available spaces by making them more comfortable and functional and to improve the efficiency of the activities by redesigning the factories on the basis of Industria 4.0 and inserting the so-called “smart” technologies into the production processes which characterize the evolution of the factory into a “Smart Factory”. Industria 4.0 is a set of all of the innovations which in the next few years will transform the methods of production; it is a technological mix of robotics, sensors, connections to the web and programming which will change forever the management of the Company and the production models that we now know: the factory will lose its concept of immobility and physical presence thanks to the sharing of data, and to co-working, by taking advantage of the opportunities offered by Big Data and the Internet of Things. Our country, as part of the National Industry Plan 4.0 2017-2020, has offered a series of measures intended to promote investments and allow the companies to more easily access the "digital transformation”. We want this transformation to be a tangible reality in El.En. and for it to continue in all of the factories of the Group, so that we can deal with a double reality: the management of physical resources as well as the virtual ones, considering them as a single system for the company production.
The new plant layout of the factory was designed on the basis of Industria 4.0 and the manufacturing processes were integrated and connected with each other. We started using intelligent testing benches for the laser sources: the new benches made it possible to increase the production capacity by decreasing the amount of time required for the sources to pass through the testing line, a simplified management for the operators and greater ease in identifying potential alarms. The inter-connection offered the possibility of monitoring the advancement of the testing phase and to verify the condition of the benches at any time, as well as automating and programming the start of the phase; in fact, it is possible to conduct these controls even remotely by using a tablet with user-friendly interface. In the production facility they have created specific spaces for high-technology and performance like the clean room spaces for assembling of components in a clean environment and the plant for the ultra-sound cleaning of mechanical parts, in this way guaranteeing a complete cleaning and reducing the risk of work-related accidents. They also introduced an automatic vertical storage area which, with respect to traditional storage solutions makes it possible to save space and speed up storage and delivery operations. Again following the criteria of Industria 4.0 we created a production line for prototyping electronic boards, which was composed of three machines: a serigraphic printing machine, a Pick and Place machine and a reflow oven. Moreover, in the workshop we inserted two machines, a lathe and a cutter, both with numerical control, for high-precision machining. During 2021, for these two technologies, we will complete the process of inter-connection with the entire infrastructure of the Company.
The objective of the re-design of the medical plant layout was to re-organize and optimize the use of the spaces and make them more comfortable, functional and efficient. The number of BOXes for the testing of medical systems was increased on the production lines also with an aim to increasing the production capacity, while the electronic production improved the positions for testing the electronic boards by renovating the structure of all the area for the purpose of reducing the risk of static discharges on electronic products (ESD) by installing a static dissipative floor. The work stations for the service department were increased and we created a special area for the personnel dedicated to customer care; the production engineering areas were also enlarged and now include a burn-in zone which is specifically dedicated to prolonged stress tests. The warehouse was also amplified and two automatic vertical storage containers were installed, in addition to the pre-existing ones, with an aim to improved storage and faster distribution, safety and reliability of the storage and distributing operations which are connected to the company management system. All of the medical area is preparing a digitalization process for the advancement of the production (MES – manufacturing execution system) in order to optimize the processes, from the tendering of the offer to the finished product. By the end of 2021 it will be possible to monitor the activities without adding to costs and guide the operations and processes of the factory with the greatest efficiency. Moreover, we have purchased, integrated and inter-connected a 3D Smart 4.0 printer with which it is possible to make products by generating and gradually adding layers of material (additive manufacturing) with speed and precision.