ConnectApp Guide: KHS Continues to Extend its Range of Digital Services

KHS’ range of digital services has now been extended to include the ConnectApp portfolio that gives customers greater efficiency and transparency. The first new application supports maintenance and servicing in the operation of filling lines.
ConnectApp Guide: KHS Continues to Extend its Range of Digital Services

KHS ConnectApp Guide supports trouble-free servicing with maintenance instructions, disruption detection and documentation. (Image source: Joerg Schwalfenberg)

By implementing an edge device on its new production lines, in 2023 the Dortmund machinery and equipment manufacturer set the stage for cloud-based cooperation. The edge device is an industrial PC that is already installed in network cabinets as standard. It is initially deactivated but provided to enable a link to the KHS cloud to be established. The advantage for customers is that their lines come IIoT ready. If future digital solutions in the form of KHS ConnectApps are procured, the edge device can be quickly and easily activated remotely. “With this, we’re paving the way for future IIoT applications that give industrial processes greater connectivity and intelligence,” smiles Deniz Ulutürk, product manager for digital products at KHS. KHS has now taken a big step further in this direction. “Activation of the device creates a reliable interface to the KHS cloud – while meeting high security requirements. It allows us to offer beverage producers a wide range of software applications or apps in the future.” Customers already profit from a dashboard function that can be accessed through the KHS Connect customer portal and shows the machine state, performance indicators and when maintenance is next due.

Goal: to improve OEE
The aim is to create a networked environment that improves the customer experience throughout the line’s entire life cycle. “Our key goal is to improve the OEE (OEE = Overall Equipment Effectiveness: key operational data for assessing the productivity of technical systems or machines) for our customers with the entire digital KHS portfolio. We’re approaching this from two main angles,” explains Ulutürk. “Firstly, we plan to boost the availability of our plant engineering by shortening changeover times and reducing the amount of downtime. This is done by disruptions being immediately recognized, for example, and digital support being provided to quickly remedy these. Secondly, we want to make the ongoing operation of our filling and packaging lines even easier, even faster and even more efficient. With the help of useful digital tools that provide information on the system, machine and line operation is supported and simplified for both operators and maintenance personnel.” This gives customers not one but three added benefits, as Ulutürk emphasizes. Access to maintenance documentation is facilitated and communication between stakeholders is supported. A knowledge base is also created.

Preconfigured maintenance instructions
The first app already available is KHS ConnectApp Guide. Its three core functions are to supply information on servicing, detect disruptions and keep a log book. For this purpose, it provides machine-specific maintenance instructions preconfigured by KHS as digital CILT lists that are much easier and much smarter to use than was previously the case (CILT = Cleaning, Inspection, Lubrication, Tightening (e.g. of screws or fittings)). They permit tasks to be scheduled, performed and checked off. As an option, machines can be connected up to the KHS cloud in order to initiate tasks as required according to the number of operating hours. Disruptions can also be processed and deleted and the state, causes and history thereof and possible countermeasures for the same recorded – complete with images. This is noted in a log book that allows all incidents that occur and measures taken in conjunction with maintenance or disruptions to be documented and ultimately tracked company-wide. Moreover, if required the customer can use the tool for day-to-day quality assurance, such as to regularly measure temperatures at certain points on the line or to issue container lab test reminders at the end of every shift.

Smart subscription model
Ulutürk believes there are lots of plus points in using the new app. “Our system is of course especially smart as an SaaS subscription model (SaaS = Software as a Service, a cloud-based software supply model). Customers can rent certain functions for a limited period: in other words, they can unsubscribe from them as and when required or purchase extra user licenses. And updates or patches are available immediately – which is extremely practical.” Another benefit is that customers do not incur any procurement costs for additional IT infrastructure such as servers at their own plant and that the expense of upkeep and maintenance is also covered. The most important argument, he believes, is that the application is a preconfigured tool that’s supplied with the machine and is ready to use straight away. Beverage producers then do not have to start thinking about how to link up their machinery to a cloud or try to find a dedicated software supplier. The app is available as both a web application and for mobile devices and compatible with standard iOS and Android operating systems. Finally, Ulutürk claims, KHS ConnectApp Guide can’t only be used with KHS systems. “Third-party and peripheral equipment such as forklift trucks can also be linked in,” he states. “The application is already in use for a number of pilot customers. We’re planning a launch to market with the first further stage in development in the middle of the year.”

Source: KHS GmbH

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