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Digitalised service offers predictive maintenance capability

19 June 2017

Suzanne Gill reports on the launch of a new service offering from Tetra Pak, which makes use of equipment data and advanced analytics to predict machine errors. 

Customers in the liquid food processing sector today are looking for ever greater efficiencies when managing their production processes. At the recent Hannover Messe event, Tetra Pak introduced a new suite of services for its customers, focusing on improving the ability to predict machine errors, accelerating response times, and offering faster, direct access to its technical knowledge. 

Powered by Microsoft technology, these breakthrough digital solutions will boost manufacturers’ efficiency, cut costs, ensure food safety, and ultimately drive their business forward. Tetra Pak will showcase the technologies at the 2017 Hannover Messe, 24-28 April in collaboration with Microsoft. Johan Nilsson, vice president for TetraPak Services talked about some of the latest digital technologies that can help boost efficiencies for food manufacturers. He said: “Digitalisation can help support the journey to reducing operational costs. Securing high product quality and food safety is high on the agenda. The environmental performance of factories is also vital. Normally improved environmental performance comes as a result of an increase in output from the same resources.” 
Tetra Pak’s new service solutions for maintenance, issues monitoring and resolution centre around three main areas: 

Connected workforce – Empowered with wearable technology - based on Microsoft’s HoloLens mixed reality headsets - local Tetra Pak service engineers at customer sites are now able to connect directly with global specialists wherever they are. This gives the service engineer the benefit of expert support and advice in real time. Nilsson said: “Our customers operate in a complex landscape where quality is essential and production lines are sophisticated. Using the HoloLens, customers can now access the whole network of our specialists wherever they might be in the world, via our service engineers. This completely transforms the delivery of our support and enables quick resolution of quality issues.” The HoloLens mixed reality technology can also be utilised by service engineers during system installations and for regular preventative maintenance practices.

Advanced analytics – Data from filling lines is collected in a central database from where it can be accessed and analysed by a team of Tetra Pak’s experts. This data means that advanced analysis can be used to predict issues and optimise machine performance. “Around 60% of our installed base of equipment is connected so  we can receive performance and process data from the equipment. When you have the data and apply Tetra Pak’s machine learning and domain knowledge, it is possible to create valuable insights and based on these it is possible to take action – undertake preventative maintenance activities before something on the machinery breaks,” said Nilsson. “Typically it is possible to predict failure between one and two weeks before the failure occurs.”

Connected solutions – All equipment at the customer plant can be connected to the Microsoft Azure cloud system, managed by Tetra Pak, enabling machines at different production stages, such as processing, filling and distribution, to communicate with each other and synchronise. This gives the customer an overview of the plant and offers performance optimisation opportunities for the whole production. 

Reducing downtime
For Tetra Pak customers the new condition monitoring service can help predict machine failures before they occur, resulting in reduced machine downtime and the costs related to maintenance or unexpected failures.

The service sees Tetra Pak analysing operational performance data from more than 5,000 connected filling machine lines. This is used to advise customers on their maintenance needs in a more timely and effective way than was previously possible, allowing them to order parts in advance, schedule manpower, and plan other repairs during the scheduled downtime. Two different approaches are taken by Tetra Pak to achieve this – utilising historic data to predict a failure and using limited real-time data alongside an advanced algorithm, which can help predict a failure.

Tetra Pak started a six-month pilot in January 2016, supporting 17 lines across 10 customers in Europe and the Americas with the new service. During this period, downtime was eliminated by up to 48 hours for each line, saving up to 30,000 Euros for the customer.

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