Milacron system boosts monitoring
With a new technology for monitoring Milacron machines, users will have access to information related to equipment diagnostics and predictive maintenance.
Milacron, a manufacturer of injection molding, blow molding and extrusion equipment, launched its M-Powered Internet-of-Things (IoT) suite of services at NPE2018. It is available by subscription on new Milacron injection molding machines, Mold-Masters hot runners, Uniloy blow molding machines, Milacron extrusion systems and DME mold technologies.
“We’re taking the best of IoT and other connectivity enhancements and integrating them into our product portfolio,” Milacron CEO Tom Goeke said in a prepared statement.
Milacron devoted a section of its large NPE2018 display to the technology. The exhibit included a display of the Milacron portal that showed the status of various Milacron machines operating not only on the show floor but also at other locations in the country.
M-Powered allows for the remote monitoring of equipment performance on smartphones, PCs and tablets. Milacron also is able to begin offering equipment diagnostics and predictive maintenance suggestions based on its monitoring of equipment, and those capabilities will expand as Milacron builds a database from connected equipment.
Milacron is able to monitor conditions like oil viscosity and clarity, equipment temperatures, fluid pressures and vibrations in extruder gearboxes based on information collected from sensors and equipment controllers.
The collected information then is uploaded over a secure network to remote Milacron servers, where it’s tracked and analyzed. If a machine fails, Milacron’s software analyzes conditions that may have led to failure, allowing it to make predictions of equipment failure when similar conditions are recorded.
“We bring in data and do deep analytics or deep learning to discover what are the things that happen on the machines right before failures occur,” said Spencer Cramer, founder and CEO of ei3 Corp., a Pearl River, N.Y., software company that partnered with Milacron on developing M-Powered.
As time goes by and more data is collected, the accuracy of maintenance predictions will improve, company officials said.
As an example of the technology’s success, Milacron CTO Bruce Catoen said the company recently was able to accurately predict that one of its customers’ extruder gearboxes was about to fail.
M-Powered is a rebranding and a refinement of a previous product, Milacron 4.0. M-Powered offers improved monitoring and predictive maintenance capabilities.
“We are learning a lot as we connect customers’ machines,” Milacron CMO Giovanni Spitale said. “It is a refinement of Milacron 4.0 with improved accuracy, and the mass of data is approaching the point we can in fact extract the predictive analytics and predictive intelligence everyone wants to see. We have now established baselines.”
Users of M-Powered have several ways to view the status of their machines and boost productivity. A suite of web browser and smartphone applications provides real-time machine data and advanced analytics to maximize machine output.
M-Powered tracks machine downtime, analyzes specific causes, determines the frequency of machine stops, suggests solutions for the problems and measures the efficacy of interventions.
M-Powered calculates overall equipment effectiveness (OEE). It provides insight on the root causes of inefficiency and ways to improve manufacturing efficiency, and identifies the percentage of manufacturing time that is productive.
M-Powered also offers service options, including diagnostics and troubleshooting. If customers choose, M-Powered can provide data from a malfunctioning Milacron machine to an off-site Milacron repair technician who can diagnose problems. In most cases, problems involving machine software can be fixed in less than two hours, according to the company.
Another option allows a customer’s employees to connect with Milacron technicians using smart glasses. Milacron technicians can “virtually visit” a customer’s site and assist with repairs. A customer’s technician, wearing the glasses, can communicate with a Milacron technician who can pass along simple step-by-step instructions.
Bruce Geiselman, senior staff reporter
Batavia, Ohio, 513-536-2000,