Subscription service for automatic reordering

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#Filtration #Machinery #Service #Elunic
4 minutes Reading time
4 minutes Reading time

Automated reordering of consumables is a good way for manufacturers to strengthen customer loyalty and compete against low-cost suppliers. The Industrial IoT allows such services through the determination of data from the field.

The problem: Low-cost providers are entering the service business

Filtration systems are important components in industrial plants such as chemical factories or power plants. They help to reliably separate substances or clean wastewater and air. Over time, the filters become clogged and their particle loading condition approaches the maximum permissible value. As a result, the filter effect drops sharply, so that the air quality of room air filters, for example, can no longer be guaranteed. As a consequence, the filters must be checked regularly and replaced if necessary. This is often a manual process, with one employee checking the filters and arranging for replacements. Only in some areas are there automatic load status messages, for example for soot particle filters in diesel vehicles. Whether a particular filtration system sends such messages depends, among other things, on its age – until a few years ago, these systems were too technically complex. A manufacturer of filtration equipment wanted to offer its customers alternatives to manual processes. In addition, they wanted to build a better customer relationship through this, so that their high-quality filters are reordered for the exchange. Due to the manual processes, many users resort to cheap products, which, however, are often of low quality. The offer to check the loading status and automatic reordering provides customers with an additional benefit: New filters arrive precisely when the maximum value is reached, and users have to store fewer filters. This can reduce the amount of capital tied up, especially for large customers. In addition, the effort required to check the filters decreased.

The solution: Modern sensor technology and retrofit with QR codes

The elunic AG from Munich develops tailor-made applications to exploit the full IoT potential of industrial machines and systems. The specialist for digital transformation, Industry 4.0 and the Industrial IoT (Internet of Things) recommends a two-pronged approach for manufacturers who have different device generations in the field.

Newer machines often already have integrated sensors and are connected to a PLC or an industrial PC. Additional sensors are also easy to retrofit. In this case, all necessary measured values are read out at the existing interfaces and sent via an edge device to a cloud application for analysis.

The solution is somewhat more complex for machines of earlier generations that do not offer any sensor technology. Here, a retrofit is often costly, so Elunic recommends a different approach: the machines are marked with QR codes that identify each one. When an employee checks the equipment or filter, they scan this QR code with a handheld or smartphone. They now record the desired data, such as the load status, in an app.

This approach is a good compromise between cost savings due to long runtimes and the possibilities of digitization. Whether through sensors or QR codes – the manufacturer now knows all the necessary data to calculate the optimum delivery time for replacement filters and trigger the order automatically.

The result: An all-round carefree service for users

For the users of the filtration systems, in addition to the capital commitment, the effort required to manage the replenishment is also reduced, as they no longer have to keep an eye on inventory and demand. In addition, manual processes either disappear completely (sensor technology) or are greatly simplified and accelerated (QR codes).

This all-round carefree service (subscription) for the users of the filtration systems strengthens the bond between manufacturer and customer. They are offered only high-quality original products in the subscription, also a positive influence on the customer relationship. The increased convenience and other benefits on the user side also justify a higher price point compared to other providers.

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