The Value of Built-in OEM Technologies

Oct. 25, 2023
Syntegon, a packaging machinery OEM, explains why users should take a serious look at the software technologies provided by the machine manufacturer rather than always looking to third-party suppliers.

Raw materials prices and energy costs continue to rise at an unprecedented pace, leading manufacturers to look for new ways to increase their production efficiency and offset these unavoidable costs. This has been especially true in the food and pharmaceutical industries, according to Elisa Hein, product manager, Expert Services at Syntegon (a supplier of processing and packaging machinery and associated technologies). She explains how industry’s overall push toward digitalization is changing how end users can better leverage the potential of the data generated in their production operations.

“Many manufacturers are reluctant to invest in digital solutions since they are not aware of the huge potential they offer in terms of performance improvement and cost reduction,” said Hein. “The first implementation also comes with quite a few challenges—many manufacturers have equipment from different suppliers, of different types and age on their shopfloor. Often, they do not have standardized interfaces.”

To solve the connectivity issues faced when connecting different pieces of equipment to an industrial network, Hein explained that “it depends on whether we are talking about new or existing equipment. Syntegon’s new machines, for example, are all IoT-ready, meaning that they have a standardized digital interface that facilitates connecting the machines with each other, to the Syntegon software solution or to a customer’s own manufacturing execution system (MES). Additionally, we can retrofit legacy equipment and we offer an edge device that is compatible with older machines. We are also working on a sensor-based solution for third-party equipment that will allow us to collect information on the output rate and the machine status.”

With so many automation technology providers offering software products designed to boost production efficiencies, many end users overlook the built-in software increasingly offered by OEMs. Hein said that users should carefully consider the “digital solutions from a machine manufacturer instead of turning to a software specialist because machine manufacturers know their own equipment best. This expertise is invaluable if you want to exploit the full potential in production. For example, with Synexio—our new cloud-based software—our clients benefit from our industry expertise. Our experts are available to help interpret the data, support with required machine modernizations or provide operator training.”

Syntegon’s Synexio software is available in three packages: Monitor, Uptime and Empower. Synexio Monitor visualizes various KPIs (key performance indicators) and provides a secure data connection to ensure that production and machine data is stored in an ISO-certified management system. Synexio Uptime helps manufacturers identify reasons for unplanned downtimes and benchmark various machines and time periods. The Uptime package’s sustainability monitoring provides data on energy consumption and waste production. Meanwhile, Synexio Empower is designed to reduce unplanned downtime with condition- and time-based maintenance. Empower also provides on-demand training content and equipment troubleshooting guidance.

Hein referenced a manufacturer using Synexio Monitor who was able to identify incorrect film reel changes on their machines as the source of unplanned downtimes.

She added that Syntegon is currently developing further features for monitoring the condition of critical components in the machines, which will minimize downtimes even further by notifying manufacturers when the machines reach critical thresholds.

Syntegon, of course, also relies on technologies provided by other companies to develop its packaging machinery. For example, the company was one of the early adopters of Beckhoff’s eXtended Transport System (XTS). According to Syntegon, no other manufacturer in the packaging industry has implemented as many XTS applications as it has.

The video below explains the partnership between Syntegon and Beckhoff and highlights applications of XTS in Syntegon’s packaging machines.

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