Smart Controls: Now with Zeppelin Group
Smart Controls India Limited, now a member of Zeppelin Group, was founded in 1999 by Ashutosh Chincholikar, an Electronics Engineer, who always dreamt of creating an innovation driven company in the space of Industrial Automation.
The journey created many major milestones and some of the finest solutions for many industry verticals like Rubber & Tyre, Polyester, Automobile, Metals, Infrastructure and Energy. The most salient part of the solutions was a strong flavour of Information Technology. Almost all Automation solutions were connected to the Business Platforms like ERP.
Realising the strength of Smart Controls, Zeppelin decided to walk along this journey by forming a Joint Venture (JV). It was time to transform the business from Industrial Automation to Digital Solutions for the Manufacturing Industries. Flair of Industrie 4.0 and Industrial IoT can be seen in almost every solution or product that is being rolled out now.
Automation contributed largely in the third industrial revolution thus helping the productivity of the industries to grow. No one realised that with growing industrial outputs, life of people was somewhat ignored, that means quality of life. That’s where the need of Cyber Physical Systems came in, the industry was witnessing the fourth revolution, nothing but Industrie 4.0.
There was a need for the machines to talk to each other and also to the product being manufactured. The need was to view the industry as a whole, not connected through the human beings. Thus Digitalisation started playing a major role in the industries. The whole idea was to make the industry more visible, more certain, without the intervention of people. Once this happens, it is believed that people working with the industry can have a better work life balance.
Smart Controls was one of the pioneer companies in the whole world to bring this strong flavour of Digitalisation to the Tyre industries. Solutions like Mixing Room, Curing SCADA, Tyre Genealogy and MES are some of them.
Smart Controls is a Automation Solution Partner of Siemens since 2002. All automation solutions rolled out by Smart Controls are on Siemens platforms. Smart Controls is one of first companies amongst Siemens Solution Partners to adopt TIA platform for all its solutions.
Smart Controls is also one of important partners of Siemens giving solutions to the Tyre Industries.
Recently Smart Controls has also partnered with Siemens PLM group for its MoM (Manufacturing Operation Management) portfolio that includes the state of the art Simatic IT MES and Preactor (Production Planning & Scheduling Software) Software Platforms.
SmartMix version 4.0 is the state of the art Mixing Room Solution recently rolled out by Smart Controls. This integrated software covers all aspects of Weighing/Mixing like Production Scheduling, Recipe Management, Process Diagnostics & Advanced Reporting. In addition, it has a very powerful Configurator that provides an environment to configure the Mixing Lines. Configurable items include Material Categories, Material Lists, Scales, Dosing Points, Feeding & Injection Points and the Down Stream. This also helps to easily accommodate any changes in the mechanical system, say like addition of Silane, at a later point of time. With this version, the system does not impose any restrictions on number of material in a recipe, number of Mixing Steps and number of Mixing Actions that can be programmed in the system. The system also allows the user to program any type of conditions (Mixing Modes) to execute a Mixing step.
Powerful Process Diagnostics allows the user to quickly identify “out of spec” batches produced during certain period. Detailed batch reports and batch comparison reports are in line with the previous version of SmartMix.
Digital flavour can be seen in the form of a Mobile App displaying the dashboard of the Mixing Room with Real Time Process Parameters. Abnormal process conditions are also informed to the user through mobile notifications.
The design of SmartMix 4.0 is so generic, that it can be applied to any Weighing/Mixing Process, be it in Food industry or Plastics industry or any other industry involving Weighing and Mixing.
What next in SmartMix 4.0
Digitalisation doesn’t stop at displaying the critical parameters on Mobile App or a Web Portal. In fact it leads us to Machine learning and Automated Decision Making with help of Big Data & Artificial Intelligence. Process of generating Big Data has already started with SmartMix 4.0. Next step would be to identify the golden batch for each recipe in order to improve the quality and productivity of the Mixing Lines. Target is to produce the best quality of batch, consistently, irrespective of the minor variation in quality of raw material and the mixer in which it is Mixed.
PoC for IoT Platforms
Smart Controls is heavily investing in Digital Solutions using IoT (Internet of Things) technologies that lead to Machine learning. One such Proof of Concept (PoC) being built at the moment is on a Polyester Staple Fiber Line. Idea is to make this line Intelligent.
Concept is simple. It works on collation of data that includes three major parts. First part is the Recipe Data or the Set Points for a product being manufactured. Second part is the process parameters while the product is being manufactured. And the third part is the Quality Reports of the manufactured product. Once the data is collated in the cloud, machine learning algorithms are applied that help find a relation between the manufactured product and the efficiency of the machine and the control system. Improved efficiency of controls will result in a better and a consistent product quality.
The challenge in such a project is that data is available in different forms and the specialisation needed to collate this data requires knowledge of the Process, Automation and Information Technology.
This is the strength of Smart Controls.
Smart Controls along with Zeppelin now targets to develop Digital Solutions for the Plant Engineering Business in the areas of Rubber & Tyre, Plastics, Food and Polyolefin. Along with this, Smart Controls shall continue giving Digitalised Automation Solutions for Polyester Plants.
Roll out of IoT solutions for the entire manufacturing industry has already started with the PoC for Polyester Staple Fibre Line and development of products like Smart Sense Air Quality Index (AQI) measurement system and Plant Gate.
SmartSense AQI (Air Quality Index) measurement is based on IoT technologies. Sensors measure air parameters like Temperature, Humidity, Pressure, So2, Co2, CO, Ozone, PM2.5 and PM10 to calculate the AQI. The measurement data is directly transferred to the cloud and is then available on Mobile Applications. This product can be installed on the Carbon floor and can be used for real time measurement of leakages and also the quality of air to which the operators are exposed to. Under extreme conditions the Carbon transportation process can be stopped automatically through the cloud service. After all it’s the question of the health of the operators.
Plant Gate is yet another product that is likely to be rolled out in 2018. Take example of say Rotary Valve. In future it will be possible to pair the rotary valve with an iPhone or an iPad over Bluetooth and get all data sheets about the product from the cloud. Not just this, it will be possible to start an online chat with Zeppelin service department to get support on this product.