IoT For Asset Maintenance: A Move Towards Smart Factory

Achieving excellence in asset management is critical for asset-intensive industries such as utility, energy, chemicals, manufacturing, etc. It is important for them to strive continuously to optimize their asset performance, because the business competitiveness depends on extracting greater value from infrastructure assets.   

Enterprises want a 360° view on asset maintenance to have better control of facilities and operations. In order to create connected, digital workplaces, businesses need to have uninterrupted access to maintenance history, telemetrics, and environmental data such as temperature and humidity. The connected digital workplaces enable companies with optimized asset maintenance, connected humans, and enhanced, collaborative experiences.  

The Internet of Things (IoT) can take collaboration to entirely new levels. The IoT facilitates aggregation and use of information from several sources and connected products can deliver substantial value for asset maintenance programs. In fact, Deloitte cites recent market research, according to which the industrial IoT market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 16.7 percent from 2019 to reach US$263.4 billion by 2027.  

Businesses can benefit from the convergence of technologies and the capability to perform their maintenance functions robustly. When IoT is integrated with asset maintenance, it dramatically shifts the disjointed maintenance activities to an interconnected system of repair operations.  

This ability of the connected things to send and receive information makes the maintenance program “smart”. Combining the physical and digital assets through IoT sensors is highly disruptive. Sensors could be of various types like temperature sensors, motion sensors, moisture sensors, Geolocation and Vibration sensors. These sensors, along with a connection, allow us to automatically collect information from the environment which, in turn, allows us to make more intelligent decisions. In short, Leonardo IoT connects all the end devices to the internet and let them communicate with each other over the internet to make intelligent decisions.   

IoT devices are basically embedded controllers with a set of connected sensors to grab the data from the physical environment. These IoT devices will send and receive the data through the internet using standard protocols for IoT communication. The transmitted data from the devices are stored in the Leonardo IoT server as time series data.  This stored data can be further analysed and apply intelligence to extract insights from the data. We can also make rules and apply to do some actions based on it to trigger a business process. We can also develop UI applications to show the device data in real-time for the users. By applying intelligence to device data, each device will start learning from the experience of other devices.   

Since most of the business workflows need backend system integration based on IoT data, we can use one of the data consumption services provided by SAP to integrate with the On-Premise systems. Importantly, integrating shop floor insights with the rest of the maintenance activities will change the way maintenances are done and foster an interconnected business landscape. 

Key Characteristics of IoT

  • The insurance company’s Master Data was stored in multiple, disparate systems. The process of collecting, storing, analyzing, distributing, and using data was performed with outdated methods, making quick access difficult.
  • The client was looking to bring their insurance products to market rapidly and modify product attributes as they refine the offering. But their legacy infrastructure lacked flexibility and was burdened with dated databases and architectures.
  • The company’s desire to integrate key enterprise components such as CRM, Finance into their business ecosystem was met with delay due to manual processes.
  • Most of the 30+ application interfaces were predominantly fraught with manual processes. The company lacked end-to-end process visibility and suffered under manual, spreadsheet-based procedures.
  • The company had a complex monetization model that incurred inconsistent rating rules and led to revenue leakage. Inaccurate accounting due to a lack of reconciliation reports was another major flaw in their systems.
  • The client found it difficult to review hundreds of thousands of invoices with different terms, rates, and formats to identify inconsistencies and perform billing reconciliation.

Mobolutions’ solutions through SAP BRIM

  • Industrial 4.0. is not possible without IoT
  • It directly integrates the physical world and computer-based systems
  • Almost real-time information exchange
  • Improved operational efficiency and accuracy
  • Transparency in the external data present in business
  • Millions of devices can be controlled in real-time
  • Predict business events with better accuracy using IoT
  • Redefine your business workflows to become a truly digital business
  • Truly connected infrastructure within the business

Mobolutions’ Integrated IoT Solution

The Internet of Things (IoT) is bridging the physical and the digital world and helping industries to determine when to take the necessary maintenance actionThis white paper details how Mobolutions leveraged IoT to process data and enabled asset maintenance technicians to take corrective actions in realtime. 

MATE

MATE (Motherson Automotive Technologies and Engineering) is a child company of Motherson Auto Limited which manufactures automotive components. The Company offers wiring harnesses, rearview mirrors, bumpers, cockpits, door trims, lighting systems, air compressors, shock absorbers, broaches, heating, and gear cutting components for the automotive and transport industries globally. MATE uses injection molding machines for the mass production of automotive parts. Injection Molding is a manufacturing process for producing parts in large volumes. It is typically used in mass-production processes where the same part is being created even millions of times from a single mold. 

mate-casestudy

Injection Molding in Automobile/Automotive  

In the early days of the automotive industry, cars were made almost entirely of metal. As the industry advanced and the plastics market erupted in the 1940s and 50s, automotive manufacturers began to explore the use of polymer parts for vehicle production. In the 1970s, the first cars with plastic decorative elements were rolled out, while more functional parts like plastic headlights, bumpers and fenders were introduced in the 1980s. 

Production Applications for Automotive Injection Molding

Under-the-hood: For the past two decades or so, many under the hood components that were once made from metal have been transitioned to plastic. For these applications, robust polymers such as ABS, Nylon and PET are common used everywhere.

Exterior: Injection molding is an established process for many exterior automotive components, including fenders, grilles, bumpers, door panels, floor rails, light housings and more. 

Production Applications for Automotive Injection Molding

Interior: Many automotive interior parts are also produced using injection molding. They include instrumentation components, interior surfaces, dashboard faceplates, door handles, glove compartments, air vents and more. Decorative plastic elements can also be produced using injection molding.  

interior-iot

5 M’s

During the process of injecting the molds, the following 5Ms are considered. They are Man, Machine, Method, Mold & Material. These are the main reasons for the machine to be stopped that has been planned for manufacturing a part.  

1) MAN:

Manpower is one of the most critical contributors to the success or failure of any product development. If a machine is idle due to man-power shortage.

2) MACHINE:

It states that there is an issue that affects the working of the machine. Look at the actual readings on the machine and not the set points. Are the machine functions (hydraulic / temperature / time) functioning properly? Are the setpoints met in a normal response time? This may affect manufacturing. 

3) METHOD:

Is the machine set to the process set up sheet? The slightest variations from the set-up sheet can have huge impacts on the process over even a short period of time. Sometimes machine is idle due to catch up in some process. 

4) MOLD:

The mold should not be a factor if it is maintained. So PM’s performed at its scheduled intervals, and is within its life span of cycles produced. Burn marks, splay, bubbles, heavy weld lines create problems in manufacturing. If there is a problem in mold, then the machine will be stopped immediately. 

5) MATERIAL:

The material shortage is an important problem that leads to interrupting production. There are also other factors like material quality and dehumidification that leads to stop the production process. 

How Mobolutions Optimized Leonardo IoT And Why It Matters?

We helped the company with complete visibility into asset management. Location-based sensors enabled real-time reporting and optimization of equipment performance. Our solution suite helped the company to remotely track and optimize production assets and enhanced uptime. The company could quantify value creation and make the most use of available technologies to streamline its maintenance functions. 

Production monitoring in Real-time

The quality of the production data is highly essential for smooth business. Our solution assisted the company to update the details of automobile parts in the register book on an hourly basis. Since most of the products are delivered Just-in-Time (JIT) to the clients, it was crucial to monitor the production data in real-time. We automated the monitoring of part count and simplified the processes.  

Machine Status in real-time 

We conducted a detailed analysis of the plant portfolio and defined the relevance of the existing infrastructure for the new strategy. We helped them monitor the IMM shutdown which has been planned for some production tasks. If any issue is not cleared within specific time limits, the incident is escalated through the mail. 

We helped them with the following Project needs:

  1. Button-based 5M Status input.
  2. Display 5M status in both Bay display and Common display.
  3. Read machine status from PLC.
  4. Mobile application to display both 5M and Machine status.

Architecture

Architecture

Machine Interface

Aim:

To grab the production data such as shot counter and machine status. Once a product is released from a mould, the product counter should increment by one.  

Procedure:

The PLC of IMM has digital I/O pins that triggers high signal for completion of a product. As a safety measure instead of grabbing the data directly, we will introduce a relay to avoid cross contact of device power and machine power. 

The Microcontroller senses the triggers from the PLC and forwards to IoT Gateway.

5M interface

The company’s aim was to report the 5M status when the machine is idle. The entire status of individual machines should be reflected in a common display (TV). For 5M status reporting, they needed 5 pushbuttons with an indication of respective items such as Man, Machine, Method, Material and Mold. Once a button is pressed, the status reflected in the respective bay display and in the common display. 

The company further required wired communication between the controller and pushbutton. They wanted to have Wi-Fi connectivity between Controller and IoT gateway and internet connectivity for IoT gateway to push data to IoT server. 

We empowered the company with four main units in the project.

1. Machine Status transmitter

2. IoT gateway

3. AWS Node-red Dashboard

4. Central Display Unit

1. Machine Status transmitter

In the machine status transmitter, we have 5M input switch and a nodemcu device functioning in client mode for transmitting the data every 200 milliseconds to the local nodemcu server. The button press functions and machine status data from the relay is read as digital input pins of nodemcu and transmitted to the server. 

Machine Status transmitter

Fig: Machine Status transmitter Circuit diagram

2.IoT gateway

IoT gateway unit consists of Raspberry pi, Nodemcu and RTC. Here the nodemcu receives the machine status data from the nodemcu transmitter using server-client protocol. This data is pushed into serial port so that the raspberry pi can read the data. The raspberry pi pushes the data to the Leonardo IoT server. 
Iot gateway

Fig: IoT gateway circuit diagram

3.AWS Node-red Dashboard:

We need Ui to display the realtime IoT data and Graphs. Using Nodered dashboard we can create graphs and charts and expose it. We have configured the AWS windows server instance to host our nodered dashboard. 

aws-node

Nodered Iflow Nodes for Machine status display .

Machine-450 TA

Graph showing the reduced production around 9 to 12 AM due to Mold change in the machine

machine-run-time

Graph showing 70 Mins of down time due to mold change

mate-iot-home

4. Central Display Unit

In order to show the machine status in the central display, we have configured the tkinter GUI to display the machine status change in realtime. 

machine-status-display

Conclusion: A New Path Forward Toward Interconnected Asset Maintenance

IoT’s operational cycle involves asset maintenance and its sensors produce data. This data is analyzed through predictive analytics, and analysis leads to insights such as expected production delays and the necessary maintenance capacity. From insights, enterprises can make decisions such as reordering parts automatically and automatic notifications to technicians.   

Mobolutions took it further and empowered new levels of employee engagement. We reinvented the wheels through demand and supply synchronization, and planning and inventory. We defined the capabilities and skills for the the client to ensure that the shift to the new value proposition was a success.  

We delivered the promise of uninterrupted growth, optimized product portfolio, and operational capabilities. By using interconnected systems and a customized asset maintenance offering, we helped them make better decisions proactively. IoT, when combined with asset maintenance solutions, provided a comprehensive way to make informed choices and to provide transparency across the value chain.  

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