Industry 4.0 Quarterly Update: Digitalization in our Plants

Digitalization. A term bucked by some (why read something online when you can print 50 pages instead?), embraced by many, and fully understood by few. However, digitalization does not need to be a complicated nor overwhelming topic - on the contrary, by its very definition its aim is to simplify. So what is Kautex doing around digitalization, and how does it tie to Industry 4.0?


We begin our story....

...with the need for digitalization in our plants, which is perhaps the area with the greatest opportunity for digital solutions. The goal of 0-0-0 (zero injuries, zero scrap, zero unplanned downtime) has long been known and integrated into our processes and procedures, but we were still seeing downtime and scrap occurrences that we felt could be prevented with the right digital tools and systems in place. For instance, automation when it comes to decision-making and reports; these decisions and reports would ideally come from a single source based on actual equipment information, and would result in automatic alarms and automatic notifications, reports and analytics, as opposed to being something that relied on a subjective human outlook. On top of process automation, we were seeking a system that would support predictive maintenance, machine learning, and artificial intelligence to support our daily production runs, all with the intent of improving quality, reliability and overall service to our customers.


Enter PTC ThingWorx

PTC ThingWorx is an IIOT (Industrial Internet of Things) platform that enables digital transformation through the implementation of innovative, smart solutions. We were looking for a platform like this that would be scalable to all 30+ plants around the globe, with ready-to-use applications and built-in functions, such as anomaly detection and predictive capabilities. We wanted a tool that we could use right out of the gate, but could continue to build upon and learn from the more that we used it.


This brings us to where we're at today: we have successfully implemented PTC ThingWorx in our plant in Avilla, Indiana as our pilot program. Where in the past certain parameters would be logged manually in an Excel spreadsheet, with PTC ThingWorx, when a parameter is violated, it is immediately logged and the team member is notified via tablet. In doing so, these parameter violations become much easier to track and predict. The parameters obtained from the equipment now also help us to understand the process and equipment behavior in more detail since the data can be plotted in a graph (which has never never been available in that resolution) and that amount of information on a retrospective view - and on top of that the obtained data - is already being used to compare lines/products or processes with each other for the behavior that is in question. PTC ThingWorx is also being utilized as a data prediction and analysis tool - predictive models have been set up on lines in Avilla in order to determine prediction percentage and how much time will occur before the alarm becomes active.

And really, this is just the beginning.

We're starting to see the implementation of digital work instructions, visual dashboards of information, and all kinds of data analysis - and the best part is, anybody can use it. It is designed to be user-friendly for even those without a lot of data analysis experience. Going forward, we plan to implement this in all of our plants, as well as make it a SaaS (software as a service) - which is sometimes also called Web-based software, on-demand software, or hosted software. Whatever the name, SaaS applications run on a SaaS provider’s servers, which then manages access to the application, including security, availability, and performance.


The road to Digitalization in our plants has been a long one, but PTC ThingWorx is just the beginning of our journey. As we continue to publish quarterly Industry 4.0 updates, we will keep you in the loop on how Digitalization is improving our operations, not just in our manufacturing facilities but in departments such as finance, sales, and supply chain, and how these improvements are being passed on to our customers.

Industry 4.0 is hailed as the "fourth industrial revolution", and we plan to be on the forefront.

About Kautex

At Kautex, we are driving the future. As a Tier One automotive supplier with more than 30 plants in 13 countries, Kautex designs, develops and manufactures traditional and hybrid fuel systems, advanced cleaning solutions for assisted and autonomous driving, engine camshafts and plastic industrial packaging solutions. A pioneer in the design and manufacture of automotive plastic fuel systems, Kautex is expanding its portfolio to offer smart products and data-driven services to our customers, including thermoplastic composite and composite-metal hybrid battery systems. From a lightweight battery system to a hybrid fuel system to autonomous drive vehicle cleaning systems, Kautex is committed to pioneering solutions for the era of new mobility.

Our employees are part of a global community committed to solving customer needs, leveraging diverse skillsets, making sustainability a differentiator, embracing the diversity that is part of a global, multi-industry leader and creating an environment where employees can build a dynamic career. Together, we are reimagining the future of mobility.

About Textron Inc.

Textron Inc. is a multi-industry company that leverages its global network of aircraft, defense, industrial and finance businesses to provide customers with innovative solutions and services. Textron is known around the world for its powerful brands such as Bell, Cessna, Beechcraft, Hawker, Jacobsen, Kautex, Lycoming, E-Z-GO, Arctic Cat, and Textron Systems. For more information, visit:

Certain statements in this press release are forward-looking statements which may project revenues or describe strategies, goals, outlook or other non-historical matters; these statements speak only as of the date on which they are made, and we undertake no obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements. These statements are subject to known and unknown risks, uncertainties, and other factors that may cause our actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements.

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