The Conair Group has updated its web-based portal, SmartServices, with machine controls and programmable performance indicators to monitor, manage and analyze auxiliary equipment.
The latest capabilities are the result of six-month trials by processors who shared their experiences and offered input for the Industry 4.0 program after Conair announced the trials at NPE 2018.
Smart Services was designed to help processors manage data generated by hundreds of pieces of plant equipment and turn it into actionable information.
The data is collected through a network of hubs that transmit to the SmartServices database for processing and presentation in the user’s dashboard, or human-machine interface.
“Now, through the portal, authorized users can access the complete control system of individual auxiliary machines and execute functions from a remote location the same way they would if they were present at the machine itself. This capability is not only valuable to a manager monitoring processing operations, but is of particular value for maintenance and service personnel,” Alan Landers, SmartServices project leader for Conair, said in a news release.
For example, the system can page a maintenance supervisor at home or anywhere. The supervisor then can launch the portal, open the machine control, clear the alarm, figure out the problem and correct it without leaving his home.
“One supervisor called this feature ‘a godsend.’ And, when Conair service personnel use this feature to solve a production or maintenance problem remotely, without making an on-site visit, processors think it’s a godsend, too,” Landers said.
The portal also can be set to only notify supervisors when a machine moves outside the programmed thresholds of key performance indicators.
“If a SmartServices user wants to keep a close eye on dryer dewpoint readings, he can customize the dewpoint KPI to specify a high and low limit. If any dryers vary outside that range, the portal will send him a notification indicating the variation, with a link to the dryer that is involved,” Landers said.
Smart Services also can operate with and control Conair blending, temperature controls and downstream equipment, even some competitive auxiliary equipment.
“Say that there’s a customer with a clean room operation that relies on a blower to maintain a specific air pressure,” Landers said. “SmartServices has the capability to monitor that blower. We simply add a sensor or two to monitor blower performance, connect the sensors to SmartServices, then customize KPIs to track the equipment output.”
The other products and auxiliary equipment that Conair supplies to plastics processors include resin drying systems, blenders, feeders and material-conveying systems, temperature-control equipment, granulators, line-control systems for extrusion, film and sheet scrap-reclaim systems, and downstream equipment for pipe and profile extrusion.