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COVID-19 & Beyond
Shift #3:
Remote Site Management

Spiroflow conveyor in a factory

This is installment #3 in Spiroflow’s 4-part blog series: “Making Manufacturing Shifts: Adapting During COVID-19 & Beyond.” In this blog, we look at the current requirements for social distancing and how remote site management via equipment monitoring software and IIoT technology can assist in facilitating this critical pandemic restriction.

Shift #3: Remote Site Management via Equipment Monitoring Software and Iiot Technology

Today, we’re exploring the critical role of remote monitoring and the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) in manufacturing, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. Manufacturers are rapidly adopting IIoT technologies to maintain high productivity while ensuring safety. This shift’s focal point is managing off-site equipment, particularly in enhancing conveyor belt systems and conveyor solutions.

Impact of Global Pandemics on Business Operations

The current global pandemic has significantly impacted businesses, prompting a closer examination of conveyor systems manufacturers. This situation mirrors past global events that have triggered significant changes. For instance, 9/11 drastically altered our perception of global terrorism, and the 2008 economic crisis revealed the vulnerability of even the wealthiest. Similarly, COVID-19 has led us to reevaluate our interactions and prioritize health and safety. In the industrial world, this has translated into a heightened focus on improving industrial conveyor systems, including flexible screw conveyors and conveyor belt solutions.

Innovating Industrial Conveyor Systems for Resilience

The advancement in conveyor technologies, spearheaded by conveyor manufacturers, reflects a broader trend of innovation in response to challenges. Businesses are increasingly turning to sophisticated belt conveyor systems and solutions to ensure continuous operation and efficiency. These conveyor belt systems are more than just parts of the manufacturing process; they represent the adaptability and resilience of businesses in the face of unprecedented challenges.

A woman using computers

Embracing New Technologies and Operational Strategies

The global spread of the pandemic has inflicted lasting impacts on the infrastructure and economic foundations of numerous countries. As many nations continue to navigate various stages of lockdown, preparations are underway for the post-COVID-19 world. This emerging landscape is likely to be marked by a significant recession, accompanied by social distancing measures that may become a part of our routine.

In response, there has been an unprecedented shift towards technology, altering our approach to interaction. For instance, the traditional question of “Can we meet in person?” is increasingly being replaced by “Can we connect online?”. This shift is also evident in the industrial sector, where the demand for conveyor belt solutions and belt conveyor manufacturers is rising. Businesses are looking towards conveyor manufacturers to adapt their operations to this new reality, relying on conveyor technologies to streamline processes in a socially-distanced environment.

A man working remotely with a laptop

Deep Dive into IIoT and Spiroflow’s Active Monitoring System

In our last blog, we touched on the role of remote monitoring in allowing management and operational leaders to remain productive while keeping a safe distance. Now, let’s delve deeper into this topic.

Understanding IIoT and Its Industrial Applications

IIoT, or the Industrial Internet of Things, combines interconnected sensors, instruments, and devices with industrial computing applications, notably in manufacturing and energy management. This network facilitates the gathering, exchanging, and analysis of data, leading to enhanced productivity and efficiency, along with other economic advantages.

Critical Data Points in IIoT

Key data points in IIoT might include machine runtime hours, safety violations, identifying production bottlenecks, and monitoring motors for high amps, vibration, temperature, and unusual spikes. These are critical issues that typically require on-site human intervention.

Introducing Spiroflow Active Monitoring (SAM)

Spiroflow has harnessed IIoT technology to develop a system called ‘Spiroflow Active Monitoring,’ or SAM. SAM is designed to monitor Spiroflow’s process equipment, as well as compatible non-Spiroflow systems, using sensor-based technology to provide key performance, safety, and operational insights.

SAM’s Technical Integration and Benefits

SAM is integrated into the standard electrical panel of Spiroflow machinery by a team of skilled electrical engineers and connects remotely via 4G/5G or Wi-Fi. It offers a custom dashboard with graphs that aggregate data from various sensors, showing live trends based on pre-set variables tailored to customer needs.

Ensuring Security and Safety with SAM

All collected data is securely stored online, ensuring high levels of security and privacy. Importantly, SAM’s remote functionality means there’s no need for engineers to visit sites for implementation, thus reducing the risk of COVID-19 transmission.

Overview of Remote Monitoring Capabilities

Remote monitoring offers a comprehensive software package that plays a crucial role in system maintenance and efficiency. This package is designed for fault analysis and detection in system components. It helps in identifying potential safety hazards, understanding the overall health of the system, and providing visibility into equipment status and machine efficiency. This can be accessed from anywhere globally, using a variety of devices. The system includes all necessary tools for configuration and administration as standard features.

SAM’s Advanced Fault Analysis and Remedial Measures

In traditional settings, an engineer would need to be on-site to address faults. However, SAM revolutionized this process. It first identifies problems through the internet, intranet, or mobile data and can swiftly analyze faults that may occur in extensive networks, pinpointing their causes. This advanced capability enables quick and precise remote remedial actions. As a result, reaction times to issues are significantly reduced, leading to optimized costs for both internal and external staff.

Adapting to Changing System Requirements Remotely

With the evolving requirements of a system, changes can become necessary. In such scenarios, these requirements can be communicated to our team. Any necessary software modifications are then implemented remotely by our experts, ensuring seamless adaptation to new system needs without the requirement for on-site visits.

A monitor and a laptop on a desk

Integrating SAM into Manufacturing Processes

Manufacturers have been utilizing SAM for over a year, including in our own operations, where we’ve implemented it across all our test equipment. To demonstrate our commitment to this technology, we’ve integrated SAM into our entire plant. This allows for the monitoring of various parameters, including electricity and compressor usage, as well as CO2 levels in every office.

Remote Monitoring and Performance Comparison

With SAM’s custom dashboard, key personnel can remotely access data from any location worldwide. This feature enables a detailed comparison of the performance of different manufacturing processes. Such a move has also streamlined manufacturing costs globally, as bottlenecks can be identified more easily, leading to enhanced overall efficiencies.

Enhancing Efficiency with Predictive Maintenance

A significant benefit of SAM is the reduction of downtime through planned, predictive maintenance. It’s well-known in manufacturing that the key to high profits lies in accurate, high-quality, and reliable production. Unexpected machine downtime, especially during critical production periods, can lead to costly delays. SAM’s remote monitoring capabilities, powered by continuous sensor data reporting, allow for timely notifications before critical failures occur, thus minimizing potential downtime and associated costs.

A custom SAM dashboard across devices

Proactive Maintenance to Mitigate Production Loss

In manufacturing, timely and correct actions are crucial to avoid significant production disruptions and profit loss. In scenarios where 82% of asset failures occur unpredictably, Spiroflow’s SAM system proves invaluable. It not only identifies the causes and timings of failures but also learns from these incidents to predict future issues more accurately. Additionally, SAM aids in determining the optimal time for replacing wearable parts. This allows for effective planning of spare part inventory, ensuring that there is no overstock while maintaining enough supplies for predictive maintenance. In the context of COVID-19 restrictions, the ability to accurately maintain sufficient spare parts inventory is a substantial advantage for any operation.

Remote Tracking and COVID-19 Compliance

While this example predates the pandemic, the key benefits remain highly relevant – the ability to remotely track data without the need for on-site engineers aligns well with COVID-19 social distancing guidelines. The introduction of SAM has positively impacted production by limiting downtime and virtually eliminating critical failures. The custom SAM dashboard, designed specifically for customer needs, can be accessed remotely by authorized individuals using a phone, PDA, or laptop anywhere in the world.

Can Older Equipment Accommodate SAM?

Absolutely! SAM is versatile enough to be retrofitted not only on existing Spiroflow machinery but also on machines from other manufacturers. This adaptability ensures that even older equipment can benefit from the advanced monitoring and efficiency that SAM provides.

Spiroflow Custom Dashboard

Contact Us for Enhanced Efficiency with Remote Monitoring

We encourage you to reach out and discover how remote monitoring with SAM can elevate your business’s efficiency, especially in the post-COVID-19 landscape. It’s also a great opportunity to embrace technological advancements in your operations. Contact us for enhanced efficiency with remote monitoring.

Upcoming in Our Series: Adapting Packaging Lines

Don’t miss Part 4 of our “Making Manufacturing Shifts” Series, where we’ll explore how packaging lines can be modified for small packaging capabilities, showcasing our commitment to continuous innovation in manufacturing.

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