Putting IIoT to Work for Remote Services

April 21, 2017
Tetra Pak is expanding its service offering with cloud-based condition monitoring, predictive analytics and augmented reality for on-site maintenance of equipment.

Tetra Pak, known for its food processing and packaging machines and systems, is taking a strategic step in its service operation by offering predictive maintenance, proactive onsite service and work instructions delivered via augmented reality.

The company will showcase the new technology next week at Hannover Messe, but attendees of ProFood Tech—which Tetra Pak exhibited at earlier this month— got a sneak peek of the condition monitoring service. The new suite of services is focused on improving the ability to predict machine errors, accelerating technician response times and giving customers faster, direct access to Tetra Pak experts.

Leveraging the data collection capabilities of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), sensors on Tetra Pak filling lines that are connected to the Microsoft Azure cloud send information to Tetra Pak’s Performance Management Center. Here, experts analyze the data, cross-reference data patterns against thousands of other connected lines and make recommendations to improve productivity and eliminate unscheduled downtime. When a problem is detected, the Performance Management Center sends alerts to technicians in the field who can collaborate with customers to schedule maintenance.

These “connected” service technicians carry smartphones with apps that provide access to service manuals, checklists, problem-solving methodology and a global issue database. If they need help while onsite, technicians or machine operators can put on augmented reality goggles to allow remote Tetra Pak specialists to see what the onsite person sees in real-time, and instruct them on steps to repair equipment or automation systems. These same tools can be used for virtual training enabling operators to use simulation models to learn at their own pace.

Mobility apps track the maintenance completed and technicians can get sign off from the customer directly on the app before leaving the site.

This is the first of many new digitization offerings Tetra Pak will be providing to customers with the goal of “collecting data to feed back to the factory,” said Anders Andren, product manager of plant integration and automation at Tetra Pak. It will also help with end-to-end traceability for quality control and even collecting consumer feedback, he said.

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