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The SMC Expertise Hub

SMC Expertise in: Understanding your daily needs

Inspiration, industry challenges, views, automation trends, support, answers, some questions, interpretations, advice, guidance. Our Experts speak up……

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Go ahead, click on the icon and choose the topic or industry you are interested in: Energy efficiency, Packaging, Food industry, Life Science industry or Robotics

                           

Sustainable becomes attainable with SMC

 By Iván Martínez, Industries Manager, SMC Spain

JANUARY 2023
The ethos of corporate responsibility, sometimes called corporate social responsibility (CSR) or business sustainability, begins with recognising that the activities of your business impact on society, the environment and the economy, as well as your employees. It makes good sense for your company to operate sustainably as the benefits extend from enhanced brand reputation through to better staff engagement. For sustainability managers at engineering companies, SMC drives sustainable development and delivers a highly positive impact through various CO2 emissions reduction initiatives. These efforts provide a major contribution towards attaining the ISO 14001 environmental management standard, and help any companies reporting their carbon reduction journey based on Scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions, as set out in the GHG (Greenhouse Gas) Protocol.

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Fast-track your route to lower energy bills

  By Jeff Careless, Business Development Manager – Continuous Improvement, SMC UK

JANUARY 2023
In an era where manufacturing and process plants are under increasing pressure from soaring energy bills and ever-tightening CO2 emissions legislation, it begs the question: is there a way to reduce my energy consumption quickly without compromising efficiency or output? The short answer is yes, with the right advice and expertise.

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SMC can help OEMs develop energy-efficient machines

 By Roy Schep, Manager Energy Efficiency, SMC Netherlands

JANUARY 2022
OEMs traditionally design their pneumatic machinery and equipment for an operating pressure of 7 bar. However, by reducing this to 4 bar, I know from experience that end users can cut their energy costs by up to 29% in some instances, creating a powerful USP for the OEM. To help achieve such a desirable outcome, increasing numbers of OEMs are engaging with our team of experts here at SMC, who can offer both the know-how and products to turn this concept into reality.

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Energy efficiency: amplifying the benefits of working at 4 bar

 By Marek Strojil, Customised services, SMC Czech Republic

JANUARY 2022
Although most pneumatic machinery and equipment operates at 7 bar, I know from experience that taking steps to reduce the system’s operating pressure to 4 bar can enhance energy efficiency, cost savings and environmental credentials. After all, every company is usually looking to save something, be it money, air, CO2, or even the planet. Unfortunately, in the majority of cases, big savings do not happen overnight. Only by implementing small improvements step-by-step is it possible to bring about the overall gains desired. Here at SMC we have a simple yet highly effective product that can be one of those steps.

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Pneumatic cylinders: drive energy efficiency by switching to 4 bar operating pressure

 By Séamus Dunne, Actuator Section Technical Manager, SMC European Technical Centre

JANUARY 2022
Climate change, sustainability and energy efficiency have never been so high on the political agenda. The UN’s recent Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow, UK brought the world’s political leaders, Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), businesses and scientists together with the aim of accelerating action towards the goals of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. The question for those of us at the industrial machinery level, is how can we contribute? Today, I see a new generation of engineers keen on influencing the industrial world in a positive way, creating machines that attain new levels of energy efficiency to help protect the Earth for future generations.

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Release the pressure  

 By Andy Still, Industry Projects Manager, Energy, Europe

APRIL 2021
The subject is more than serious. Pneumatic equipment accounts for about 20% of all factory power consumption and there is a proven way to improve energy efficiency: reduce the operating pressure. SMC explains how companies can achieve this objective and thus fall in line with manufacturing’s most important current trend.

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Thermal management: a hot topic for life-science OEMs

 By Max Lemacon, Team Manager Life Science, SMC France

MARCH 2022
Design engineers at OEMs serving the life-science sector are starting to acknowledge the significance of thermal management in the drive to create quicker and more precise laboratory equipment. After all, let’s not forget that chemical reaction rates are generally proportional to temperature, while lab technicians can also increase the working time or shelf life of samples and reagents by maintaining the substance within its optimal temperature range. Of course, delivering this capability in a reliable and cost-effective way is the real challenge, which is why companies are increasingly calling upon our expert team of engineers here at SMC.

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Keep a cool head when selecting temperature control technology for life-science applications

 By Kim Holy, Product Management & Industrial Application Center (IAC), SMC Germany

MARCH 2022
There are certain characteristics you should seek out when selecting temperature control technology for use in the life-science sector. Arguably one of the most prevalent is a system that leverages the benefits of the Peltier effect, which introduces advantages important to those conducting laboratory work, such as high temperature stability, low noise, low vibration and compact physical dimensions.

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SMC thermo-chillers: low TCO, high peace of mind

 By Kees van Kampen, Product Manager Thermo Control Equipment, SMC Netherlands

MARCH 2022
Thermo-chillers serve a key function in sectors such as life sciences, pharmaceutical and biotech, where correct product temperature is vital to process precision and reliability. Such is the criticality of temperature control that preventative maintenance becomes a crucial element of owning and running a thermo-chiller. With this thought in mind, our team of experts here at SMC has devised a separate preventative maintenance standard for each chiller series in our portfolio, bringing complete peace of mind to your temperature-critical processes.

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Optimised fluid handling for life sciences analysers

 By Philippe Pinto – Industry Manager Life Science, Europe

MAY 2021
Who has not heard about the PCR test? In vitro diagnostics (IVD) in general and analyser in a more specific sense, have always played a key role in society as they are non-invasive tests performed on biological samples (for example blood, urine or tissues) to diagnose or exclude diseases. Covid-19 has put IVD in the spotlight and diagnostic tests are, unfortunately a normal part of our daily conversations. The professionals in IVD already knew that an early diagnosis can make the difference; that the right diagnosis can make the difference. Now we all know. In this context it is no wonder that a key target for IVD in general, and analysers in particular is for them to provide fast results as well as accurate ones. Appropriate fluid handling of these techniques plays a fundamental part in achieving the desired speed and accuracy. As fluid handling involves many critical components interrelating together, it is vital to involve a skilled partner able to supply proven solutions for the entire system, at early stages of development. And that´s SMC.

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Cobots and end effectors team up for affordable flexible solutions

 By Andrea Trifone, Cobot project leader, SMC Italy

JANUARY 2021
While robotics led the way for the rapid growth of automation, we see cobots as the democratisation of robotics technology. They eliminate the cost and complex programming that robots usually require while providing much greater flexibility.

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Maintenance: SMC sets out why the ‘P’ in predictive maintenance should represent progress, not pain

 By Oliver Prang, Expert Digital Business Development, SMC Germany

DECEMBER 2021
Predictive maintenance has very much become an industry buzzword in recent decades as factories try to drive down their capital equipment TCO (total cost of ownership) by preventing failures and downtime in a ‘just-in-time’ way. Many wrongly assume that implementing a predictive maintenance strategy entails a complete overhaul of operations, but in reality, taking a few small steps can make a big difference to machine uptime and OEE (overall equipment effectiveness). To ensure success, it is advisable to engage with a trusted technology partner. For SMC, a global leader in pneumatic control solutions, the ‘P’ in predictive maintenance should stand for ‘progress’ not ‘pain’.

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Making sense of sensors

  By Danilo Giordana, Energy Efficiency Project Manager, SMC Italy

DECEMBER 2021
Such is the evolutionary rate of change in modern manufacturing that failing to keep pace with the industry’s shift to digitalisation – and its associated efficiency and productivity benefits – can prove extremely costly. But where to begin? Most professionals in this space point to data collection as the first step, because subsequent data analysis can support the adoption of predictive maintenance strategies, better decision-making and continuous process improvements. However, it is only possible to fulfil this ambition by adopting the optimal sensor for the application.

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IO-Link to move easily to smart sensors

 By Mile Milovanovic, Senior Engineer, SMC German Technical Centre

DECEMBER 2021
As industry turns to digital, IO-Link stands out as an easy to implement and cost-effective solution.

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Four ways to make your vacuum system more efficient

 By Martina Höller, Electrical technology product manager CEE, SMC Austria

JUNE 2022
With energy prices surging across Europe, efficiency has become a high priority for all manufacturing and process plants using vacuum handling systems. Fortunately, based on decades of experience and know-how, SMC can outline four simple ways that you can reduce the energy consumption of your vacuum system. Using less energy per lift/transfer will provide a direct contribution to your bottom-line profitability while simultaneously supporting industry’s drive to net-zero carbon emissions.

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Give your vacuum handling system a lift

 By Irina Hermann, Product Manager, SMC Germany

JUNE 2022
We all know that the centrepiece of any vacuum system is the application and system layout, typically involving the method of vacuum generation, and thus whether you use ejectors or pumps to generate the negative pressure and transfer the workpieces. However, there are many more important system components which, if overlooked, could mean that your vacuum handling unit fails to perform at its optimum level.

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Don’t get sucked into poor vacuum system configuration

 By Tom Litster, Engineer, Air Equipment, SMC European Technical Centre

JUNE 2022
The performance of your vacuum handling system is typically only as good as its configuration for the specific application in hand. This of course makes direct reference to the workpiece you are looking to lift or transfer in terms of its weight and shape, for example, while further considerations include target cycle time and stroke travel. Upon establishing these factors it becomes possible to experiment with vacuum level, pad diameter and number of pads to deliver the optimal-performing vacuum handling system, one that is fast, reliable and energy-efficient.

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What you should know about air preparation

 By Mark Brinsley, Sales Engineering Group; Air and Fluid Equipment, SMC UK

OCTOBER 2021
Even though almost all factories have air preparation systems to protect their pneumatic equipment, the subject is still not so well known, and it hides some interesting aspects and optimization. One of the key questions is how prepared should my compressed air be? There is not one simple answer to this question, because compressed air quality depends on a myriad of variables, such as the air quality coming in (from the compressor), the air quality requirements in the end-of-line applications, the process or industry requirements or even the position of the filtration units. With all these uncertainties, SMC, an Expert in air treatment, will be able to support you.

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SMC´s FRL Unit: with you since 1961

 By Sean Mackenzie, Engineer, Air Equipment, SMC European Technical Centre

OCTOBER 2021
SMC was established in 1959 to manufacture and sell Sintered Metal Filter Elements. The FRL unit was first launched by SMC in 1961. 60 years of design evolution based on our customers’ requirements.

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Shedding light on the dew point

 By Axel Delsaux, Product Marketing, SMC France

OCTOBER 2021
Dew point can be an overwhelming term, but put simply, it is the temperature at which water becomes visible. The water droplets that you can see in your cold drink derive from the dew point.

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The technical challenge of sustainable packaging  

 By Jorge Salgado, Food & Packaging Industry Manager, SMC Spain

AUGUST 2021
The trend is clear, and there is no going back. Consumer environmental and sustainability concerns, in terms of plastic pollution and the rise of Circular Economy principles consciousness compel the packaging industry towards a more ethical packaging. This means using material easier to recycle like monolayer plastic or paper and reducing the quantity of material used. Moving towards sustainable packaging brings technical challenges to packaging machines. Furthermore, ensuring higher sustainability goes through higher efficiency. How? Keep on reading.

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The fine art of chocolate manufacturing using SMC solutions

 By Paolo Tornavacca, Client Group Manager, SMC Italia

MARCH 2022
Refining is arguably the most important process in chocolate production as it determines the consistency and texture of the final product. We know from experience that only by using high-quality, high-performance industrial control and automation solutions, backed up with global support on a local level, will builders of chocolate refining machinery succeed in gaining market share.

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SMC hits the sweet spot at chocolate machinery manufacturer

 By Wim de Vos, Sales Engineer, SMC Belgium

MARCH 2022
The class-leading service and breadth of products available from SMC is helping a leading machine builder to maintain and extend its prominent position in a highly competitive global market. HACOS designs, produces and installs high-quality chocolate manufacturing machines that spur the development and growth of every size of chocolatier, from artisans to large industrial producers. The company builds from small to very large machines that cover all chocolate manufacturing processes, necessitating the use of a high-calibre technology partner with a proven track record in industrial control and automation.

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Wafer oven OEM tastes success with SMC solutions

 By Karl-Heinz Ursch, Senior Sales Expert, SMC Austria

MARCH 2022
One of the world’s leading manufacturers of premium baking ovens for the large-scale industrial production of wafers is using SMC air-blow technology to reduce the energy required for a key cleaning process. In this article we set out the solutions and products that turned this ambition into a reality.

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Meeting food industry challenges means having automation specialists directly on the factory floor

 By Diego Mirabelli – Industry Manager Food, Europe 

JUNE 2021
Between 2020 and 2027, the food processing market is expected to grow with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6.04% according to Verified Market Search. The industry will have to increase its productivity while simultaneously dealing with a lack of workers and cost pressure. 
As most automation companies are focused on machine builders, SMC is differentiating itself by being present with the food manufacturers on their factory floor in order to identify the food industry’s most pressing challenges and help to overcome them.  In order to improve their productivity, factories must reduce downtime, implement more automation and improve energy efficiency, machine safety and hygiene. 

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Time to be doubtless about wireless

 By Alejandro Molinero, Product Manager, SMC Spain

SEPTEMBER 2022
Wireless technology is seeing rapid uptake within the industrial sector, particularly on shop floors where a degree of mobility and freedom is required, such as in robot, automated guided vehicle (AGV) and RFID tracking device applications. But there remain plenty more areas where this technology could make a real difference to operations in terms of reduced costs and increased reliability.

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Adopting IO-Link, the easy way

 By Bruno Salami, Product Manager Electrical Axis & Fieldbus, SMC France

SEPTEMBER 2022
Despite the many advantages of an IO-Link system - such as standardised and reduced wiring, increased data availability, remote configuration and monitoring, simple device replacement, and advanced diagnostics – we know that some of you are reluctant to adopt this technology due to the belief that configuration and programming is complex. Well, today SMC has the product solutions and in-house expertise to make your transition to this cost-effective communication protocol far simpler and quicker than you could ever imagine.

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Dial into remote assistance for your equipment

 By Massimo Gazzaniga, Technical Support Engineer Mechatronics & Network Manager, SMC Italy

SEPTEMBER 2022
Although there are many bigger advantages to the adoption of industrial communications, one of the benefits you can tap into very quickly is the enablement of remote assistance. By implementing a system such as the SMC webserver, our remote teams can access your historical data and easily analyse the possible causes of your failure or malfunction. Our webserver offers short ROI for both users and machine builders as they can avoid expensive travel costs and provide an extremely reactive service.

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Why optimal machine safety leads to higher profitability

 By Clement Pucher, Manager European Working Group Safety Technology, SMC Europe

OCTOBER 2022
Although machine safety circuits serve to protect employees from harm, here at SMC we know from experience: you can achieve many more benefits by creating inherent machine safety – including higher profitability. This results largely from the potential to elevate productivity and tap into fully engineered solutions.

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Create a pneumatic safety circuit in just 3 minutes

 By Richard Driver, Technical Manager, SMC European Technical Centre

OCTOBER 2022
All machine builders will be aware of the requirement to design safety-related circuits. However, this task no longer needs to be an onerous one. By using a new online tool developed by our expert team, you can create a pneumatic safety circuit in minutes.

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Machine safety is center of attention

By Ferdinand Rein, Manager German Technical Center R&D 2

OCTOBER 2022
There are many benefits to both centralised and decentralised machine safety. However, here at SMC we have an innovative solution in the shape of a fully certified PROFIsafe remote I/O module with integrated valve manifold that allows you to connect all SMC devices consistently for control by the central safety-PLC (F-PLC) in a safe way.

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Check out the SMC Experts’ Reports


A more in-depth view on the following topics:
Energy efficiency 

Air treatment 

Industry 4.0 

Robotics 

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