SYSCON International: PlantStar - Leading the Industry 4.0 Revolution
Gary Benedix, VP Sales
Driving “Industry 4.0” on a manufacturing floor is challenging. Sophisticated machinery alone does not translate to “Smart Factories”, especially in a consumer-centric world where customizable production has become the prime focus. The need of the hour is improved digital technology that enables machines, people, and products to optimize production. PlantStar specializes in combining OT with IT to bridge the gap between physical signals and digitized data that allows the Industrial Internet of Things to exist.
“We are taking factories from current data gathering to a Smart Factory process,” says Gary Benedix, VP sales at Indiana-based SYSCON International. The company’s PlantStar MES, with its powerful Data Collection Module (DCM), and other unique capabilities paves the way for the Industry 4.0 Revolution. PlantStar’s DCMs enable edge computing leading to immediate action including product diversion and alerts, effectively predicting and avoiding unnecessary loss. PlantStar is fault tolerant and secure; despite server outages, data can be stored for up to 20 work shifts while the rest of the network is repaired. The company also installs wide screens on factory floors to display the status of machines, processes, or production. These interfaces are available on any device with a web browser to provide insight from various locations.
We are taking factories from current data gathering to a Smart Factory Process
The software stacks of PlantStar are intentionally named and packaged according to the degree of visibility and functionality that factory floors may require. Snapshot, Portrait, and Panorama offer production monitoring elements that include cycle time, temperature, and pressure graphs, tooling schedules, OEE dashboards, material forecasting, and operator interfaces. From a corporate management perspective, by embracing an open architecture for cross-platform data access, PlantStar’s network can present a holistic view into multiple plants across various locations. Customers can use the platform as a document repository, job scheduler, or to host custom reference points. With Custom Engineering solutions, SYSCON further adds to the flexibility of PlantStar’s capabilities by living out the company’s mission of delivering ideas that improve productivity, quality, and profitability for their customers by generating custom reports based on unique KPIs or integrating with enterprise systems such as ERPs or machines from varying OEMs. Ranging from small to large Fortune 500 companies, PlantStar is a partner that provides a solution to achieve smart factory initiatives.
“Every company has different needs and that is the beauty of our well-developed and flexible system,” mentions Benedix. For a client to monitor their sonic welders and leak testers, SYSCON developed proprietary software that will integrate with PLCs in older machines. Elsewhere, a manufacturer of medical bottles implemented PlantStar’s MES to detect bug infestation for the product stored in their warehouse. More recently, SYSCON achieved rapid growth in Asia and Europe by delivering the right solutions for smart factory initiatives. By building upon the feedback from their customers, SYSCON’s innovation lab identifies the means to assist factories to run more effectively and maintain a ‘manufacturing edge’ against competitors. One Michigan-based customer eager to stay ahead of the curve is testing the latest major product release of PlantStar, to be launched in 2018.
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