At FachPack 2016 in Nuremberg, Germany many visitors were fascinated by Industry 4.0 being harnessed by packaging machinery companies. For this important exhibition, Lenze invited ei3 to show what’s possible when secure communications are established to Lenze controllers. Lenze provided a premium location where ei3 demonstrated its robust and proven suite of Internet applications that leverages Industry 4.0 value drivers to reduce service costs, improve asset utilization, save energy and improve quality. We hope you’ll enjoy this video of Spencer Cramer presenting the ei3 solution from the show floor:
Transcript of the Video
Good afternoon I’m Spencer Cramer, the founder and CEO of ei3, and I’m very pleased to be talking to you today from the show floor of FackPack. Together with Lenze we’re offering some very exciting services that enable machine building companies, large and small to take advantage of Industry 4.0 and offer digital services to their customers.
Let’s just take a moment and talk about what we mean when we say Industry 4.0. From our point of view there’s four things that we can offer in terms of value drivers;
One, we can provide a secure platform for remote service of equipment that’s connecting technicians to machines in a secure way that’s audit-able and traceable and that enables the machine owners to know that their machines are only being accessed by the people they want, when they want.
Two, we are gathering data from machines and storing that data in the cloud to perform advanced analytics where the data is analyzed and computed and converted into numbers that provide deeper insight into the operation of the machines.
Three, by tracking the data in the cloud we’re able to identify energy savings opportunities, and
Four, we have a full cloud-based quality management system.
Now it’s interesting that these services can be provided to a customer as a software subscription service through the internet and that has a number of advantages over having an “in-the-house” system running.
- it doesn’t require maintenance
- it doesn’t require IT assets to be purchased and
- it doesn’t require expensive software licenses
- and most importantly, it doesn’t require complex custom programming
In our model, these services can be delivered for a modest monthly subscription fee, enabling a very scale-able way to get your machines data online.
Let me show you how we do it. Let’s walk over to the easy machine which is running on the show floor. You can see this machine has a number of controllers and also servo drives and motors. The easy machine also has this black box here in the middle. This is a security appliance developed by ei3. ei3 has been doing this since 1999 and was started when a group of IT security professionals met with a group of machine control specialists, and through that combination was able to create a secure way to connect to machines and transmit data through the cloud. So the solution starts with the security appliance. It can be put on a machine, it has din rail mounting, it takes a 24-volt control signal, and it is easily reconfigured so that it does not require an IT specialist to visit the customer site to set the device up.
Once the device is online and the machine is connected, data is then routed through the ei3 secure network to one of our data centers. We have three data centers, one
is in Europe, one is in asia, and one is in the United States. These data centers have equipment that we own so that we’re providing a private cloud which is hosting both the data storage, disaster recovery backup, and the applications that convert data from the machines into valuable actionable information.
We’re going to show you some of those apps now. The first step is our application for secure remote service. Here I’m going to connect to the easy machine right next to me here on the show floor but connect to it by going through our secured data center. I’ve selected a key, I click on the key, I define the reason why I want to connect to the machine, (in this case I’m going to say operator support), I say connect and what’s happening right now is a dedicated VPN tunnel is being made from my desktop computer to the machine controls which are operating on the Easy Machine right next to me. I can see the devices that are on the machine network, I can see how their communications are running, and I can go in and I can put journal notes that describe the work that I’m doing during my session.
Once all the session work is done, I close it up, I give a quality rating for the performance of the network and for the session, and I end it. At ei3 we track the quality of every service session so we know what parts of the world have good network connectivity and what parts need special attention. I also have a dashboard which I can provide for the machine manager, the manager of the service department which will show key performance metrics about how my install base of equipment is being serviced around the world. When a service session is active you’ll see a flashing green light like this one and when it’s passive you’ll just see a dot indicating it. But most importantly I’m showing you that all of these service sessions are traceable, audit-able, also there’s a report which is ready to be provided to the end customer showing the amount of activity.
It’s more than just service there is also data. I can take the data points from my machine control program, those data points that have value to the machine, and I can program them into this site. From there I have the ability to look at them in real time as I’m showing you here and I can chart them. I can see how the different parameters interrelate with charting tools similar to the charting tools that I would have if I was physically on the site. I can export the data to excel, I can then take this data and add more value. For example I can do downtime tracking where I look at machine stop reasons. I can apply the stop reasons and then I can do advanced analytics showing stop reasons in a Pareto analysis for this machine.
But also maybe all the Easy Machines in the world. So I can start to really see how this machine compares to its peers. I also have the ability to analyze when faults occur, what was happening to the machine just prior to those faults, and through that analysis I can make models where I do predictive modeling of the machine so that the next time the same conditions occur I can send an email to the right person at the right place at the right time to take action. To go in and avoid having that fault create unplanned downtime, thereby boosting asset utilization.
These and others applications really provide a lot of value to the end customer and a machine builder who makes the effort to put this into their solution stands to benefit,. Because they will surely get their investment back for the hardware and to get the network started if they can save just one field service trip to their customer. We see that that machine builders can save up to eighty percent of the field service trips to their customers. So there’s real value.
As they are the OEM, they can provide these web pages as a software subscription to the end customer, developing a recurring revenue business. It is a new revenue stream and it enables the OEM to become intimate with the end customer for a long-term basis, and that promotes great business relationships, better spare parts sales, and helps get that future machine order. Which are all things that are important to the OEMs. So that’s in a nutshell what we have here today. We’re very excited to be showing it to the customer market and we’re very pleased to see the enthusiastic response that we’ve seen so far.