Easy-To-Integrate Wireless Production-Monitoring Platform
Smart-factory technology made more accessible by start-up firm.
There’s a new supplier of process monitoring technology for extruders looking to set up smart factories. Oden Technologies, New York, was launched in 2014 and introduced its first product last year for the extrusion market. Oden's technology is based on a wireless device about the size of a bar of soap (photo) that plugs into most industrial machines. Called HUGIN, the device collects and sends production data wirelessly in real-time to a cloud-based analytics platform. Each device has a built in SIM-card that provides secure connectivity through a VPN so there is no need for a Wi-Fi signal on the factory floor. A cloud-based customizable dashboard lets users easily track and measure the performance of each line and the overall plant.
Says Peter Brand, one of Oden's two co-founders, "Many companies realize the need to use constant data analysis to improve efficiency, but rarely do so for two main reasons: The costs of regularly acquiring the data are huge and SCADA systems, wired-up PLCs, etc; and the resulting analytics were of poor quality and required too much expertise to actually use. We set out to deliver them intelligence fit for the 21st century."
The fact that the platform is Cloud-based enables the capabilities and features of the platform to constantly evolve, states Brand. The system take days, not months, to implement, he adds, and is flexible to changing plant layouts and scalable. “The platform generates actionable analytics—data that a processor can us easily. There are no spreadsheets, no teams of consultants to make sense of it. Graphs can be shared across the organization.”
Brand says the technology is being used by several wire and cable processors. He adds that Oden is exploring other extrusion markets before branching out into other plastics processes.
Here are some tips and techniques for extruders and injection molders to refer to when using CFAs.
Putting one or two vents between the feed throat and die is a good way to remove moisture, trapped air, and other volatiles from melted plastic as it moves through an extruder.
Around three dozen, mostly European, processors are pushing commercial development of high-speed single-screw extrusion. They have installed more than 100 of the small hyper-drive machines whose screws turn at up to 1500 rpm, about eight to 10 times faster than standard extruders. At least two German machine builders are working on machines that will go to 2000 rpm and even higher. The goal is to raise output without increasing extruder size.