Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) concepts are inspiring new business models for manufacturing. In turn, manufacturers are asking equipment makers to find new ways to help them improve machine reliability and production uptime. For example, Ecoclean Inc., a maker of industrial and automotive cleaning machines, now provides remote monitoring and diagnostics services on dashboards by using PROFINET networks.
Machine Builder Services Business Model
Ecoclean machines are a key part of the quality control process for manufacturers and reliability is critical. “Often a washer can be fed from many production lines, making that process crucial in overall plant production,” said Aaron Zarembski, controls engineer for Ecoclean.
Ecoclean’s technical support involves three tiers of service, beginning with remote diagnostics of the programmable logic controllers (PLCs), human-machine interfaces (HMIs), robots, drives, and other components that control the cleaning machines. Online troubleshooting, modifying parameters for process control, software upgrades, and adjustments to the PLC code can be handled remotely.
Statistical data from the machines also can be logged onto a server and then used to identify trends and make preventive decisions for maintenance prior to any equipment failure. A third service level enables the information that’s been compiled to be displayed for the customer in real time on a dashboard interface that shows the pertinent machine data graphically.
“Our primary goal was to maximize uptime and customer satisfaction, as well as to identify opportunities for continuous improvement for current and future equipment,” Zarembski said. He wrote the algorithms that evaluate machine performance and guide the company’s service technicians in their troubleshooting and technical assistance work with customers.
The First Installation
Hugo Benzing LLC manufactures fasteners for the automobile, aerospace, fine mechanical, and electrical industries. The first installation of Ecoclean’s new remote support capability was at the Hugo Benzing manufacturing facility in New Hudson, Mich. The plant has a Profinet network, which allowed Ecoclean technicians to remotely connect to the network and clean machines using a self-contained and secure virtual private network (VPN) router.