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Swiss carton and packaging firm SIG has developed an internet of things (IoT)-enabled maintenance service in conjunction with GE.
Through the collaboration with GE Digital, SIG has integrated asset performance management (APM) and field service management (FSM) for the food and beverage industry.
Called Plant 360 Asset Management, the on-demand digital service builds on SIG’s existing maintenance offering to enable food and drink manufacturers to improve the level of efficiency, productivity and connectivity in their operations.
“One of our offerings is maintenance services, so our customers can run more efficiently,” said Christian Grefrath, product manager service, global marketing, at SIG. “We can reach a certain level of efficiency with our existing services, but customers want more output, while reducing cost. We began looking for a partner to optimise our service offering.”
He said SIG wanted to develop a service that could collect data from customers’ machines and inform them of any problems, help them optimise the reliability of their machines and optimise the quality of the output.
According to SIG, the Plant 360 Connector module enables the collection of data, which is loaded into GE Digital’s Predix cloud platform. From here, the data can be retrieved and evaluated by SIG’s reliability engineering team. SIG said the Smart Maintenance module enables manufacturers to monitor, control and optimise their filling plant operations. The Smart Performance module provides predictive maintenance.
Grefrath said a centralised reliability team provides a strategic overview of equipment maintenance across the company. Regionally, SIG operates maintenance across clusters of countries, such as the Asia-Pacific region. This allows it to provide a more localised maintenance service.
Explaining how SIG plans to use IoT data to support regional maintenance of customers’ machines, Grefrath said: “We will have people looking after the data coming out of the machines in these regions, to assess if we need to change the way we do maintenance.”
The service has been piloted with a number of customers and is now being rolled out globally. Almarai, one of Saudi Arabia’s largest food and beverage producers, is the first official customer.
“Digital Solutions are vital for us to analyse exactly what is happening in our plant and going forward to produce reliably,” said Robert Ross, manufacturing manager, dairy and juice, at Almarai. “The aspirational partnership with SIG and GE will greatly help us in root cause analysis and in providing valid answers. This will ensure reliable production. We are very proud to be an early adopter of this cutting-edge solution.”