At this year’s Kuteno, technotrans solutions GmbH is presenting an AI-based process monitoring system for injection molding machines and peripherals such as temperature control units. The system is the result of a strategic cooperation with digital solutions provider Nexocraft and helps reduce the carbon footprint of plastics processing companies. In addition, technotrans will exhibit its temperature control units from the highly efficient eco.line.
Sustainability, circular economy and the reduction of material consumption, energy and CO₂ are becoming increasingly significant for the plastics processing industry. “Particularly in times of crisis, companies are repeatedly faced with new challenges such as supply difficulties, raw material and material bottlenecks, and sharply increased prices. technotrans is aware of these challenges and consistently develops solutions to meet them effectively,” says Nicolai Küls, Managing Director of technotrans solutions GmbH. The company recently initiated a strategic cooperation with the solution provider to leverage further efficiency potential for the plastics processing industry through the use of artificial intelligence.
Long-term cooperation for more digitization
The highlight of the presentation is a jointly developed AI-based process monitoring system for injection molding machines and peripherals such as temperature control units. The solution enables process monitoring, intelligent process control and overarching machine control directly from the cloud. The aim is to optimize plant effectiveness. Among other things, this has involved simplifying the machine connection, which now takes place via plug & play using preconfigured LTE gateways.
“Basically, we can connect and integrate all injection molding machines and temperature control units that have an activated OPC UA server. Here, we are independent of the device series and manufacturers.”
– Nicolai Küls, Managing Director
In addition, intelligent monitoring and automatic control of mold temperature with easy-to-install retrofit sensor technology for injection molds are possible from the company through the sparring.ai expansion solution. technotrans is also planning further projects with the digital solution provider. Among other things, further trade fair appearances are planned with Nexocraft, including in Hanover and Cologne. The common goal is clearly defined: Plastics processing is to be made even more efficient through the use of digital solutions. “In order to raise the efficiency of injection molding systems to a new level, a holistic perspective and new concepts are needed, which we are developing together with a strong partner,” says Küls.
Highly efficient and sustainable temperature control units
In addition to the digital solution, visitors* can expect to see the energy-efficient and sustainable temperature control unit series “eco.line”, for media temperatures of 95°C, 140°C, 160°C and 180°C, at the booth. By using centrifugal pumps and a pump efficiency module (PEM), users not only save high operating costs, but can also benefit from the handsome subsidies. Among other features, the units are equipped with an innovative “longlife” stainless steel heating cartridge, which transfers heat to the medium without transfer resistance and impresses with low energy loss and a long service life. The product line also impresses with its high level of user-friendliness: Visitors to the trade show can get an impression of the 7-inch Logotherm operating concept with multi-touch functions.
Cost savings through digital hydraulics service
The CytroConnect Solutions service offering from Bosch Rexroth helps recycling companies avoid high downtime costs or even contractual penalties. The customized packages of real-time monitoring, data-based analyses, and complementary spare parts management maintain the availability of hydraulic equipment such as scrap shears, shredders, and presses. At the same time, the intelligent combination of cutting-edge IoT technology and hydraulics expertise minimizes maintenance and extends machine life.
The reuse of raw materials is a permanent fixture in the economy. As part of the supply chain, however, it also leads to high deadline pressure and, not least, requires seamless availability of shredders, scrap shears and presses.
If hydraulically driven recycling machines such as shredders, scrap shears or presses fail, there is a threat of contractual penalties. If trucks, trains or ships have to wait for the load, the consequential costs quickly climb into five to six figures. Acute shortages of skilled workers and the simultaneous supervision of distributed sites cause unnecessary delays in maintenance. In addition, recycling companies lose service life, material and budget if they replace hydraulic parts on a fixed cycle as a precaution. Bosch Rexroth counteracts all these economic disadvantages and financial risks with the three service packages CytroConnect Monitor, Maintain and Predict.
Flat rate against failures at a fixed monthly price
Plant operators achieve the highest possible availability and service life of components with CytroConnect Predict. Using predictive analyses and detailed status reports, the experts make maintenance recommendations at such an early stage that the affected components can be replaced in a planned manner. This reduces the user’s previous maintenance effort by up to 50 percent. Complementary services such as complete spare parts management with guaranteed delivery within 24 hours further optimize availability. The service fees usually pay for themselves within a year, but depending on the application, they can also be recouped with a single avoided downtime, as the following real-life example shows:
Through predictive analytics and predictive maintenance of scrap shears, an international company with over 100 distributed yards can avoid high downtime costs. Previous downtime costs per case were around 600 euros, plus penalties of up to 100,000 euros per day if shiploads of steel bales did not leave for overseas on time. Wear on the shear is detected at an early stage on the basis of the pressure peaks and torques on the electric motors, so that the operator can replace the tool in a planned manner in the future. The far-flung maintenance staff is sustainably relieved and now needs less time for troubleshooting, maintenance, planning and spare parts procurement. In addition, monitoring saves electricity costs because the system avoids operation with increased energy consumption.
In another use case, a recycling company avoids unplanned shutdowns and subsequent costs through predictive analysis of waste shredders. The shredded waste has since been delivered on time again as fuel to a cement plant. Previously, frequent failures of hydraulic pumps and electric motors resulted in regular penalties and additional costs for temporary storage of the delivered waste. The maintenance department, which was suffering from a shortage of skilled workers, was relieved of this burden in the long term.
In addition to the all-inclusive CytroConnect Predict service, Bosch Rexroth also offers the basic CytroConnect Monitor package, which provides pure real-time monitoring with access to historical data from the last 24 hours. As an introduction to the topic of rule- and data-based analyses, Bosch Rexroth recommends the CytroConnect Maintain package. The service package monitors the condition of components in the background using predefined rules, warns of damage via push messages, and supports the continuous optimization of applications with regular performance and usage reports.
All three service packages already include the respective required dashboards and sensors. Recycling companies benefit quickly and easily from intelligent and sustainable failure protection.
Transparent and efficient processes with QM software
Focus on user-friendliness
Working with people requires a completely different understanding of quality than in the manufacturing industry. Social, communicative and interpersonal goals are in the foreground, but at the same time social institutions must also meet business and legal requirements. A well-structured quality management system supports social service providers such as Lebenshilfen, welfare associations, operators of day-care centers or operators of other social facilities.
ConSense’s software solutions stand for transparent, user-friendly quality management and integrated management systems. The software helps to make processes clearer and more efficient, to clearly define responsibilities and to fulfill documentation requirements. At the same time, the management system facilitates compliance with the standards and guidelines applicable to the respective facility. The ConSense software solutions have been developed with a special focus on user-friendliness and the mapping of realistic processes. Employees can navigate quickly and intuitively on the clear interface, and a comprehensive search function guides them directly to the desired content.
Software-supported quality management saves time
The QM software enables complete electronic QM documentation with automated, intelligent document control. Further automations, such as the targeted distribution of information, the request for notifications and the revision and archiving of documents, significantly reduce the administrative workload for employees. At the same time, the software offers integrated process management including a process editor for simple and fast process modeling. This simplifies the continuous improvement of processes and the transparency and clarity of documentation increase.
QM software for social institutions with many locations
Management system software solutions are suitable for organizations of all sizes. With a wide range of functions, interfaces and configuration options, they can be optimally adapted to the needs of the respective institution. The IMS ENTERPRISE solution, for example, is ideal for setting up an integrated management system in facilities with multiple locations or complex organizational structures. All applicable standards and regulations are systematically mapped under a uniform interface and compliance with specifications is supported.
In addition to the quality management standard DIN EN ISO 9001, many other standards or guidelines are also relevant in the social sector, such as DIN EN ISO 45001 (occupational health and safety), HACCP (hygiene concepts in relation to food), DIN EN ISO 15224 (quality management in healthcare), KQT (Cooperation for Transparency and Quality in Healthcare) and the AZAV regulation (Accreditation and Approval Regulation for Employment Promotion). An Integrated Management System helps to harmonize these and thus also makes it easier to meet the criteria for accreditations or certifications.
The solutions for QM systems and integrated management systems from the Aachen-based software developer can also be supplemented as required with modules, such as for measures management, audit management, training management and many more, and thus specifically tailored to the requirements of the organization.
Easy roll-out, mobile deployment
These software solutions can be rolled out quickly and flexibly within the company. The ConSense PORTAL is a web-based management system solution for which the company can also provide hosting. The web application simplifies and accelerates the roll-out compared to desktop applications. Since it can also be used on the move, it is particularly suitable for social institutions whose employees work with the system regardless of time and location.
Microcomputer brings water data to cell phone
Andreas Scharf, a computer science student from Coburg, uses microcomputers to network elevated tanks in the water industry. This is how he became a company founder in Lower Franconia. Water is one of the most precious resources of the blue planet. Today, the waterworks of cities and municipalities measure all relevant data in their plants to ensure supply and quality, and this is now mostly done digitally. However, only stationary on site. Not networked.
“People control their coffee machine and the light via cell phone. But for the community’s elevated tank, which stores the drinking water and cost a few million euros: There’s no proper app for that!”
– Andreas Scharf
The student found it unbelievable that a water custodian can’t see the status online at any time. So he developed an affordable, modern solution for municipalities himself. That was the basis for founding his company frapp.
Waterworks all over the world
In addition to his studies at Coburg University of Applied Sciences, Scharf worked at Energie- und Wasser-Technologie EnWaT, a water system builder based in Stettfeld, Franconia (Haßberge district), whose customers include industrial companies and municipalities all over the world – with different, very individual needs, focuses and problems. Is there a leak somewhere, did the refilling during the night perhaps not work out? What is the water level right now? Or a question that is particularly crucial for health departments: What is the temperature development? To check something like this, there is often only one option: get in the car and drive to the elevated tank. At EnWaT, the digitalization of water treatment and supply systems has been discussed in a very innovative way, Scharf explains. “It’s not that there are no apps at all. For example, the major control system manufacturers offer software to visualize the data. But then what does it mean when a curve breaks in? That’s what municipalities need.” And that was Scharf’s approach: “I’ll put the data on your phone and also tell you what you can do with it.”
He taught himself the basics of programming as a teenager. “There was a book on Java lying around at home – I tried that out.” Back then, he went to Realschule, then switched to FOS, graduated from high school in 2018, and started his bachelor’s degree in computer science at Coburg University of Applied Sciences right after that. As part of the Communication Systems event, Scharf attended an IoT workshop with Prof. Dr. Matthias Mörz and dealt with the very topic that the waterworks are missing. IoT, the Internet of things, makes it possible to network physical and virtual objects.
So, for example, the high water tank and the app on the cell phone. Mörz likes his student’s solution: “It’s just nice to see how he lives the basic idea of applied science,” says the professor. The technology of Scharf’s “HBBox” for elevated tank digitization consists in particular of a circuit board that translates information from existing industrial sensors for microcomputers. It allows the data to be stored in a cloud via cellular or the free wireless standard LoRaWan and, for example, a push message pops up in the app when special events occur. “The municipality has access to the data at all times – regardless of where the employees are. Irregularities can be detected right away,” says Mörz. Digitization helps prevent water losses.
High water tank in your pocket
The high water tank in Scharf’s home municipality, for example, is fully networked. Scharf can access it from Coburg. He looks at his cell phone, frowns “There’s a lot going out right now for the noon hour. Maybe a fire call.” In any case, the waterworks knows: what flows when is absolutely transparent in Stettfeld. Scharf brought the elevated tank into his back pocket. EnWaT, the company where he got a lot of input on plant technology as a working student, is now his customer, and so Scharf’s digitization technology was also used during the floods in the Ahr Valley in 2021, when the company deployed a mobile waterworks in a shipping container there. Scharf founded his own company, frapp, in 2020. He shrugs his shoulders: “The first Corona summer. You didn’t have much else to do then.” He was 19 at the time. Today, he’s thinking about other fields of application for his HBBox: “We can digitize not only in the area of drinking water. I could also cover sewage treatment plants.”