Irvine, Calif. — As of early November, Conair Group had completed installation of its SmartServices-brand systems in 20 facilities.
Alan Landers, manager of the Conair blending, upstream and SmartServices product lines, noted the progress in a talk at an Arburg Inc. seminar in Irvine.
“We probably have another 15 in the pipeline,” he said later.
Conair is among several auxiliary equipment makers endeavoring to provide customers with more opportunities for operating and analytical support.
Each of the plastics processing locations uses or will use the SmartServices' cloud-based Industry 4.0 platform on one to 15 or more auxiliary machines.
Soon, “we plan to do on any machine” including primary plastics processing equipment, Landers said. “We have a beta site working through that now, and we are going to implement in a [SmartServices] library fashion so a customer can pick and choose whatever the user wants.”
Conair can install compact wireless machine adapters in the controls of any auxiliary that may be providing process heating or cooling; drying, delivering, blending or feeding materials; monitoring, measuring or cutting to size; or reprocessing waste or scrap.
Conair offers a free six-month trial with ongoing connection. The subscription plan costs $250 per machine per year or, in some cases, a flat fee for the facility, Landers said.
In advance of an installation, Conair needs input about connecting through the end users' remote communications protocol whether that involves a Modbus transmission control protocol, Ethernet internet protocol, direct Ethernet or cloud-based solution.
The SmartServices system can provide monitoring and visualization functions with advanced data storage and analytics on new or existing auxiliary equipment from Conair or any competing manufacturer willing to share protocol details.
On any mobile device, a user can remotely access key performance indicators for each auxiliary production unit in a facility with any alarms being emailed to the correct individual.
In the future, Landers said “internet of things” digitization of the physical world through upstream-downstream sensors and connectivity would enable pinpointing the cause of an alarm.
“Connection is the first part, and sense is the next step,” Landers said. “We collect data and gather analytics so the system will provide feedback. It can grow to integrated solutions that can pinpoint the coincidence of things happening at that moment.”