The challenge: The potential of installed components is not being exploited today
Today’s manufacturing and logistics processes still require a lot of manpower. In addition to automated robots and machines, there are many people at work, without whose intervention the process chain would break. The difficulty for many industrial companies is to digitize and optimize precisely these manual processes, and to integrate new technologies into existing complex architectures. In addition, there is a great deal of unused potential in the components installed to date. Up to now, signal lamps have only provided a local indication of the machine status, and the actual competencies of the component manufacturers of pushbuttons and signal lamps have been little exploited. The visualization of previously unused, invisible data, as well as the global provision of existing machine information and its networking could mean a great benefit for various areas, such as personnel and resource planning. The requirement for digital integration is: At best, it should be so easy to produce that customers such as plant and machine manufacturers can optimize it without any programming effort or IT knowledge and without major intervention in existing processes. In addition, the newly acquired data should be available across the board, taking security aspects into account, and create greater transparency.
The solution: making old components smart and networking them
For its project, HMI expert and EMS service provider RAFI turned to the experienced IoT provider Device Insight, which has already successfully implemented over 150 IoT projects. In cooperation with Device Insight, RAFI has developed a product that addresses and solves its customers’ problems and challenges. KIS.ME. Keep it simple, manage everything – here the name says it all. RAFI’s operating systems, switches and signal lamps are primarily used for operating, monitoring and controlling systems, machines and processes in various industries. One example where such components are used is in cutting machines in production. Almost every machine has signal lamps that indicate the machine status by means of a color display and buttons, such as an emergency switch. In the retrofitting approach, a system was developed that can be integrated here without major installation effort and consultation.
With the help of the so-called KIS.BOX, a decentrally placeable box with buttons, the basis for connectivity is created. The box has an integrated WLAN interface to forward any commands and actions to the cloud. Digital inputs and outputs are available for easy connection of sensors and actuators. The (color) signaling as well as data acquisition is carried out by means of the associated signal lamp KIS.LIGHT. It also has an integrated WLAN interface. The digital inputs record the states of machines and systems and provide insights and transparency about processes. At the heart of the solution is KIS.MANAGER – the flexibly configurable IoT portal powered by Device Insight. With the help of this tool, all devices can be managed and controlled. Digital twins of the physical devices are mapped, which in their entirety provide a comprehensive overview of all plants, machines as well as networked processes.
The result: Manual processes digital and networked
A so-called software-as-a-service solution was realized that can be implemented easily and intuitively, like a satellite, alongside existing system architectures. In this way, many use cases have already been successfully implemented:
In a use case from intralogistics, for example, pushbuttons were attached to each workstation and networked to optimize transport calls and the associated processes. With KIS.ME, transporters are immediately informed by e-mail or via signal lamp as soon as a button is pressed by a foreman and thus an action is required. Actio and Reactio, Logistics on Demand – this reactive approach improves workflows, shortens routes which are only walked or driven when really necessary. Similar to an use case example from the field of waste management. In this use case, a RAFI customer has placed a KIS.BOX at the trash drop-off locations on each floor to control trash removal. Waste is emptied only when necessary, also saving travel and time.
By means of simple products and smart networking, entire process chains are digitally mapped and the performances at the human-machine interfaces are optimized. The solution from RAFI and Device Insight impresses with simplicity of installation and use and enables industrial companies to digitize manual processes quickly and easily – with an intelligent combination of IoT-networked lamps and switches.
For RAFI itself, a new business model has emerged from the cooperation with Device Insight – from hardware supplier to IIoT-based solution and idea provider.
Link to the RAFI Case Study