Production and packaging processes face significant challenges due to decreasing warehouse capacities alongside the customization of products and product batches on an order-by-order basis. Greif-Velox is meeting these challenges head-on by developing bespoke, self-organizing packaging systems that optimize processes through intelligent networking. These systems offer clear, measurable advantages for planning, production, logistics and maintenance.
The use of sensor-monitored, cyber-physical systems is fundamentally changing production and packaging processes: The process control system uses recorded data to decide which quantity of which product to fill in order to optimize performance at any given time, and then sends the information directly to the machine via the product management system.
All system notifications and machine parameters, such as the current weights, bag counts, current pressures and torques, are measured by sensors and can be collected in the cloud and linked with the customer’s process control system thanks to a flexible data interface. In a fully digitized process such as this, customers can avoid downtimes due to poorly coordinated sub-processes. Warehouse capacity can also be optimized if transport logistics are coordinated so that the product is picked up straight after production. When configuring its systems, Greif-Velox builds in flexibility for users so that existing components can be added on in a cost-effective manner when integrating parts into the overall system.
In the future, the data of the filling and packaging process will be clearly displayed on a dashboard, giving machine operators an overview of the machine’s performance at any time and from any location via a secure VPN connection. This allows them to adjust the production process as required.
Increasing productivity through intelligently linked components also involves development of predictive maintenance. By recording and evaluating time-, cycle- and status-based data, the system can inform the user in advance before a potential breakdown — for instance if a system component needs replacing. This minimizes downtime and maximizes the production process and machine utilization. “As such, customers benefit from increased output and efficiency,” says Benjamin John, Director of Engineering at Greif-Velox.