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shopfloorGPT: Productivity boost in the dairy by AI agents

IoT Use Case - elunic
5 minutes Reading time
5 minutes Reading time

Hardly any sector of the food industry is under as much cost pressure today as the dairy industry. Milk producers face the challenge of selling their products at the lowest possible prices while simultaneously meeting the increased expectations of society. This includes producing dairy products with sustainable use of habitat and resources such as energy and water. Furthermore, they must compete in both national and international markets. Additionally, end customers are increasingly demanding vegan milk substitutes and milk imitations.

The Munich-based company elunic, with an additional branch in Italy, supports machine manufacturers and producers, including dairies and cheese factories, in recognizing and implementing artificial intelligence and digitalization as crucial competitive factors. With its strategically chosen location in Munich and presence in Italy, elunic is optimally positioned to provide both local and international customers with advanced AI technology solutions.

The challenge: Needs for digitalization due to increased competitive pressure

In the production facility of a traditional dairy, for example, a large amount of energy—both fossil and electric—was required. Particularly, the heating and cooling of milk, as well as the production of dried milk products, are considered especially energy-intensive. Due to the recent gas shortages, energy has become a valuable and limited resource. These challenges posed significant economic difficulties for dairies, including the risk of production downtimes, plant closures, and price increases for end products. To advance the urgently needed digitalization in their operation, the dairy turned to the experts at elunic. The focus was on implementing Industry 4.0 technologies and AI-supported systems, such as the shopfloor.io software toolkit, to monitor the dairy’s electrical infrastructure. By employing AI, energy data was to be made not only transparent but also optimized to enable efficiency improvements and cost reductions.

The solution: Central IIoT platform with virtual AI agent

For over 15 years, elunic has been developing specialized AI solutions in the field of Industry 4.0 and Industrial IoT. The Munich-based company supports machine builders and operators in connecting their machines and production processes. This not only enables the collection and analysis of machine data but also the advanced digitalization of work processes through the use of artificial intelligence.

AI-based solutions are currently the main focus of elunic’s experts. The latest development from the Munich software house is shopfloorGPT, an industrial AI agent that acts autonomously, learning, interpreting data, and operating fully automatically. Embedded in a dairy environment, the virtual data assistant can transform the way production data is interacted with.

Through a simple communication channel (e.g., Slack or Microsoft Teams), even inexperienced users can easily make inquiries to the shopfloor. Within seconds, the agent accesses the underlying unstructured data and provides detailed, structured insights into production quality in real-time.

The advantages of shopfloorGPT in industrial applications are:

  • Automated Data Analysis: Analyze documents, technical drawings, tables, and more, and compile them into reports.
  • Intuitive Usability: Voice-controlled interaction and automatic adjustment of machine configurations.
  • Reduced Operating Costs: Cost reduction through autonomous machine monitoring and optimization of machine parameters.
  • Seamless Integration: Securely embedded in your existing IT architecture, whether on modern cloud platforms or locally on-premises.

At the dairy, elunic implemented a central IIoT platform that includes specialized energy monitoring and anomaly analysis systems. These systems, consisting of hardware and intelligent software, continuously capture energy data, visualize energy flows, and detect anomalies early. With the help of AI, all operational data of the dairy is not only recorded but also deeply analyzed. These analyses provide valuable insights into operational parameters that are essential for predictive maintenance and efficiency improvements.

The software solution shopfloor.io from elunic is used. The modular development components of this software toolkit allow users to quickly and easily realize Industry 4.0 and Manufacturing IoT applications. The software toolkit provides software modules (IoT Building Blocks) and can thus be used as the basis of a scalable IIoT system architecture.

For example, the shopfloor.io Hub Service acts as the central node of the solution in the dairy, enabling centralized management of all connected applications. Users of this module receive a central entry point and seamless navigation through the entire application portfolio via an app switcher.

Other modules of the shopfloor.io toolkit include the shopfloor.io Asset Service, which allows ISA 95 production hierarchies and individual asset hierarchies to be mapped in a plant and machine management system as digital twins, a central user management system, and a module for anomaly detection using machine learning and AI technologies.

The result: Increased profitability through efficient Industry 4.0 solutions.

elunic guides customers step by step through the process of digital transformation. With shopfloorGPT, businesses receive immediate answers to complex questions and analyses. This significantly accelerates decision-making processes and can lead to higher efficiency and product quality. The AI agent also helps to intelligently plan service operations and maintenance to minimize downtime. Repetitive tasks and data analysis can be automated. This allows employees to focus on the essentials.

The dairy operation benefited from elunic’s AI solutions by reducing production errors, as operational anomalies and raw material losses were detected and prevented early. This ultimately led to a reduction in production costs and complaint rates, thereby increasing profitability.

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