Zago develops Industry 4.1 strategy
Explaining how this Italian footwear moulds manufacturer has created what it says is a new method of operating for the 21st century.
To continue the evolution of its footwear moulds production process, Italy-based Zago has installed a range of high-performance machines. According to the company, this step will further streamline the manufacturing stages that previously relied to a larger extent on human resources, and so as a result faced natural limitations.
Faster production times and smoother project communication are said to have become possible with computer numerical control (CNC) equipment, and especially with five-axis, machining centres. Zago also takes account of the operative’s work situation, reportedly paying attention to the ‘man-machine relationship’ on a daily basis. In line with this, the company says that it has designed a fleet of machines which are geared towards effectiveness and efficiency, while refining high-quality hand craftsmanship by its team.
In an interesting production strategy, Zago states that whatever the skill of the operator, his or her machine will also need some breaks after a certain period. The company calls the ability of the worker to make this judgement ‘psycho-mechanics’, and this ‘living coordination’ between the operator and machine is practised daily in the Zago employee working community.
The link with artificial intelligence
The ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution’, otherwise known as ‘4IR’ or ‘Industry 4.0’, has been defined as ‘conceptualising rapid change to technology, industries, and societal patterns and processes in the 21st century, due to increasing interconnectivity and smart automation’. According to Zago, its 4.0 robot-assisted work centres are experiencing the implementation of a new worker-machine relationship code, leading to the creation of what it terms ‘Industry 4.1’.
The company has reportedly been learning to optimise the relationships between inert, robotic, and human matter over more than 60 years in the production of direct-injection footwear moulds. This experience is said to have led to the incorporation of artificial intelligence within its work community, which has resulted in a new balance between its valuable human resources and the latest technological achievements.
This article was originally published on page 4 of the January 2023 issue of SATRA Bulletin.