In this month's Best Practices, we turn to extrusion process control — with a side trip to “the cloud.”
Oden Technologies Inc., a new supplier of process monitoring and data integration systems, has made sales to cable manufacturing — and company officials now are expanding their efforts to sell to the general plastics extrusion market.
Based in New York, Oden Technologies is the U.S. subsidiary of a U.K. company, and the business is incorporated in both countries, according to Peter Brand, founder and chief operating officer.
Oden began in 2014, then last year launched its first product, focusing on cable extrusion operations. But now Oden is looking at a broader plastics processing market.
“The platform is designed to be agnostic to any manufacturing process,” Brand said. A wireless device about the size of a bar of soap plugs into industrial machinery.
Extrusion is a continuous process, and the sector has come up with many continuous controls, covering things such as — for pipe and tubing, monitoring shape, level of ovality and wall thickness — to the critical dimensions of window profiles. Linking all the data together, so that any authorized person can view it live, anywhere, is the goal of Oden Technologies, Brand said. The control devices feed back into the complete extrusion line.
Another feature of extrusion: Production lines are stretched out over a long distance, especially when you also consider the auxiliary equipment, like pullers and cutters.
And Oden's system is cloud-based.
“We can store an infinite amount of data and have an infinite number of users able to access the data on their laptops and phones,” Brand said.
“We can tie everything together. We can give a view that is detailed for just what that machine is doing, or give a view about all those machines on the line,” he said.
“We have our own cloud database, and what that means basically is that you don't need any hardware. You don't need any infrastructure. You don't need a server in a closet somewhere,” Brand said.
Brand said extrusion is a good market for Oden's expansion strategy: “This applies very much to process engineering, where you're making a lot of one thing, and there are many data points available. And with extrusion, you've got so many variables happening on the same line, so that only increases the power of being able to collect all that data and put it together, in an easy-to-understand manner.”