SOAG orders 24 Negri Bossi machines ready for Industry 4.0

Negri Bossi SpA are delighted to receive an order from SOAG Europe (Sigit Oman Automotive Group) for 24 machines to be installed during 2017 and 2018. SOAG are amongst Negri Bossi’s most prominent and long-established customers, having installed over 150 Negri Bossi machines in the last ten years. The machines range in size from 50 to 2,000 tonnes.

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SOAG is a multinational automotive and appliance components manufacturer with over 1500 employees.

Formerly SIGIT, the company started operating in Italy in 1966, establishing themselves in the automotive industry as a Tier 1 supplier to Fiat group. The company started a growth strategy in 2000, when new plants were opened in Italy, Spain, Serbia, Morocco, Russia and in Poland strengthening their relationship with Volkswagen, Renault and Peugeot. In 2017 a new business unit, SOAG Appliance was formed, acquiring Tecnoplast group, who have strong relationships with Whirpool, Electrolux and Philips.

60% of the SOAG Group turnover is in the Automotive sector, with 29% in Home Appliances and 9% in Food and Beverage. Main activities within the group involve engineering & design, injection moulding of thermoplastics and rubbers, assembly and post process, aluminium die-casting and tooling and automation.

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The continued growth of Sigit led to the development of two research and development centres in which the designing, prototyping and construction of equipment is concentrated. Whilst all plants have access to these facilities, all component testing is carried out at the individual plants, ensuring product conformity to International Standards and customer specifications.

SOAG names Negri Bossi as one of their most important strategic partners, where technologies including gas, IMD and 2K moulding are in operation. Heat and Cool Technology and over moulding of glass and metal inserts are amongst other technologies offered. All the machines installed in SIGIT are equipped to the same specification enabling total inter-operability between plants. Strong economies of scale ensure reduced management and maintenance costs, whilst standardisation of processes and technologies assure better repeatability and product consistency across the various plants.

SOAG is the first customer of Negri Bossi to have already adapted its production organisation to the concept of Industry 4.0. All 150 presses in 8 factories are connected to a dedicated WIFI network and transmit real-time production, machine shutdown and quality data to their ERP (SAP) system. There is therefore a centralised and always up to date view of the manufacturing performance of the factories.

The new machines ordered will allow the company to further experiment with new technologies keeping Industry 4.0 in mind. Experimenting with predictive maintenance solutions, synchronised planning and orchestrated production with other business processes is a key focus. To achieve these goals, Soag and Negri Bossi signed a collaboration agreement for the joint development of the Open Plast project, the first open and scalable open source platform for Industry 4.0 in the plastics world.

The strengths of the Soag group are represented by the geographical footprint of their production sites, but above all by their strong technological and organisational skills. In this context, it is at the forefront of collaborative robotic applications, component assembly operations and factory organisation already under Industry 4.0.

To demonstrate the close collaboration between the two companies Negri Bossi recently installed an 800 tonne ‘X-Concept’ machine in one of the SOAG plants. This service provides development and testing of new machines in a production environment. This model will form part of a brand new machines series due for launch at the end of this year.