VIDEO: Wittmann Battenfeld and Industry 4.0 at Amerimold 2017

Dave Preusse’s belief in the connecting power of the Internet of Things (IoT) extends to his own doorbell.

D Preusse was speaking with Plastics Technology when an alert on his smart watch and smart phone let him know that 900 miles away from Amerimold 2017 the doorbell was ringing at his home in Connecticut. Using the supporting app, Preusse explained that if he wanted he could pull up a camera to see who was on his porch and even communicate with the visitor.

All this happened as Preusse discussed his further views on Industry 4.0—manufacturing’s version of IoT—following an in-booth demonstration at his Amerimold 2017 stand of what the fourth industrial revolution means to the supplier of auxiliary equipment, robotics and injection molding machines. That irony was not lost on this author.

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In their private and business lives, processors encounter IoT everyday with technologies like connected doorbells, but what about on the shopfloor? Their doorbell might communicate with their watch but can their molding machine talk to the temperature control unit?

In his demonstration, Preusse discussed how the various pieces of equipment at his company’s stand could communicate their status with each other, including the ability to use the screen of one device to pull up the control of the other. In addition to the parameters you’d expect a molding machine to monitor, Preusse also noted that the Smart Power 110 had 40 strategically placed sensors recording everything from hydraulic oil state to vibration, using that data to predict maintenance needs. And, like that doorbell in Connecticut, a camera could be added to the machine cell allowing a molder to pull up the press remotely and check production status with his own eyes.

Preusse warned that shows in the coming years will be rife with claims of Industry 4.0 in booths where the only things actually connecting the disparate machines are color scheme/branding. His company, as a supplier of most of the major equipment you’d find in a cell, has been pursuing true connectivity for some time, but he admits that even for Wittmann Battenfeld, Inc. work remains to be done.

“The 4.0 era will continue to develop over years,” Preusse said. No word on who was at his door.