IoT-enabled inkjet printer can save on downtime

Traceability codes and best before dates are a vital part of the production process in the food and beverage industry.

Industrial ink jet coders print the vital information such as best before dates and traceability codes on to products, and their performance can be a major contributor to manufacturing Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) statistics.

With that being said, it is critical they are being monitored effectively so they can be working at optimum efficiency. Through the emergence of IIoT and cloud technology, this has become more achievable for manufacturers.

Industry 4.0, smart factories and IIoT (Industrial Internet of Things) are all terms that illustrate the future for manufacturing. They describe a world where each component of a factory is connected through a cyber system that monitors factory processes to achieve optimum OEE.

READ: Insignia discusses challenges impacting the beverage industry

With this in mind, insignia, the sole Australian distributor of Domino marking and coding hardware, have embraced IIoT technology to provide a cloud offering that delivers better visibility and improved performance of their coding solutions. But how exactly does it work?

“A Domino Cloud interface plugs into the inkjet coder and uses a 3G network to send data to the cloud,” said Blair Kietzmann, insignia’s head of sales for Domino.

“From there, the data is used to analyse performance and areas that require particular attention, so we are able to provide proactive maintenance.

“The customer’s uptime is paramount,” said Kietzmann.

“With the cloud we can remotely monitor our customer’s fleet of inkjet printers around the country from our technical help desk, and if necessary assist in live issue resolution – before it impacts the production line.

“The other benefit of this kind of predictive maintenance is that if the machine does fail, both the customer and our HelpDesk team are instantly notified of the issue and its cause. The biggest cost in any production line is downtime. If we can help reduce that downtime in our small way, then we are doing our job.”

The main benefit highlighted by Kietzmann is that Domino Cloud has allowed insignia to move their support services from a reactive to proactive approach. With cloud technology the company is able to provide more value to their customers through remote diagnostics and predictive maintenance. Having full visibility allows insignia’s experienced technicians to call the customer, find the right person and navigate them to remedy the issue over the phone. That can turn a potentially lengthy period of downtime into a 10-minute resolution over the phone, or aid in a first-time, field-support fix.

In addition to the support from insignia, Domino Cloud also allows users to monitor their plant remotely via a smartphone or tablet, as well as a desktop or laptop computer, giving real -time visibility of the production line.

“Cloud solutions can be challenging and at times expensive to implement,” he said.

“Having an IoT device ready to go on your printer gives you a window into your production line through the eyes of the printer. It gives a taste of what Industry 4.0 can deliver without the big costs and complicated set up.

“You can log into that printer through a smart device anywhere in the world, any time you like, and you can see in real time what your production line is doing. You can see that it is running and the production output. It gives you immediate feedback on your production line.

“Being an Australian family-owned business ourselves, we understand the impact unplanned downtime can have.

“In a country as large as Australia, being able to support both our metro and regional customers remotely in a more predictive and proactive way, means we can ensure our equipment is running more reliably, maximising their production uptime and driving down their costs,” said Kietzmann.