A subsidiary of Japan’s 100-year old
Yamazaki Mazak Corporation, the U.S.
plant’s pioneering IIo T initiative, which
has now evolved and expanded into its
iSMART Factory concept, set a new standard for digital connectivity and data-shar-ing across the company’s 10-site production network worldwide.
In our latest Dialogue with a manufacturing industry leader, Mazak USA’s President, Daniel Janka, talks to Manufacturing Leadership Executive Editor Paul Tate
about the increasing productivity impact
of connected Io T and sensor networks on
the plant floor, the promise of next-gen-eration hybrid machine tools combining
subtractive and additive techniques, and
how today’s skills gap is accelerating the demand for greater automation and digitization across the industry.
Q: What excites you most about your role
A: When you think about everything we take
for granted in life around us today, whether
it’s our automobile, whether it’s the aircraft
we board to travel, whether it’s the home we
live in and the construction equipment re-
quired to build it, I have the opportunity to be
involved in the engineering and production
of the stuff that makes that stuff.
Take an aircraft, for example. Basically,
you’ve got thousands of high-precise structural components all flying in formation
and you don’t want any of them to fail.
When you break everything down to its
component level, we design and produce
the systems that machine and form those
key components. Or take medical implants
as another example, where you can you see
an artificial hip being produced to the precise, three-dimensional shape of that particular individual’s original hip.
It’s very cool. You can’t get bored. A day
doesn’t go by where I can’t wait to get out of
bed and go to work.
Q: What challenges keep you awake at
A: Often, it’s the external forces that we
PENED IN THE MID-1970S, MACHINE TOOL-MAKER
Mazak Corporation’s flagship U.S. plant in Florence, Kentucky, was
one of the early pioneering American factories to adopt a widespread
Industrial Internet of Things (IIo T) plant floor network in 2014 based
on the emerging MTConnect common connectivity platform. Five
years on, it won Plant Engineering magazine’s Top Plant award last year for its continuing
efforts to streamline its operations and reimagine its production processes with the help
of Manufacturing 4.0 digital technologies.
As one of the first U. S. adopters of an Industrial Internet of
Things initiative on its plant floor, Mazak’s award-
winning Kentucky factory is now getting even smarter.
By Paul Tate