BOBST Connected Services: on the path to proactive management of packaging production

Through its innovative Connected Services, BOBST is enabling a new form of cooperative partnership with customers in the age of Industry 4.0.

The service connects all BOBST machines on the shop floor to information systems, meaning customers can monitor the performance of their machines in real-time and make informed decisions on improvement. BOBST believes that the insights generated by Connected Services will provide decisive benefits for packaging manufacturers.

The key to optimizing packaging production using BOBST Connected Services is the digitalization of customer processes. Manfred Bauer, BOBST Product Specialist for Connected Services, comments on the company philosophy: “We provide skilled support to our customers during the transition of their business processes to a digital world—meaning while they digitalize and interconnect their systems. Digitization will permeate the entire packaging industry. There’s no doubt of that.”

Connected Services consists of a suite of various tools. Based on these tools, customers can tailor their own individual solutions. During this process, BOBST experts work with customers to determine which process and machine data should be used and how to interpret this data intelligently in order to be able to increase production efficiency.

The result is that packaging manufacturers set into motion an ongoing improvement process using BOBST’s innovative, web-supported services. Among other factors, they provide their plant management and machine operators with new opportunities to better manage production processes based on current machine and process data and help them avoid unplanned machine downtimes. Automatically generated reports and assessments create unprecedented transparency in the overall handling of machine and process data. Analyses of historical data also enable long-term optimization and proactive action. And for machines that are linked to Connected Services over the Internet, BOBST service technicians can address most technical difficulties immediately.

For example, BOBST’s Helpline Plus and Helpline Premium allow customers to begin troubleshooting with BOBST experts as soon as difficulties arise with machines or with machine operation. Currently, there are approximately 4,000 machines connected to BOBST worldwide, and around 80% of all technical issues are resolved remotely within two hours. New techniques such as virtual reality continually reveal additional opportunities to provide customers with even better support in the event of technical difficulties. This has allowed BOBST to use Connected Glasses and Helpline Plus AR (Augmented Reality) to develop the functionality behind their innovative Remote Services. These services allow the customer to wear a special digital headset and the BOBST technician to virtually look through the eyes of the customers’ machine operators and provide operators with precise instructions on what must be done.

The more global competition forces packaging manufacturers to maximize the productivity of their facilities, the more parties responsible for production need to have access to a remote overview of their systems. In the recent past, BOBST has released various apps that provide customers with round-the-clock access to machine manufacturer facilities via computer, tablet, or smartphone. This allows plant managers to monitor production, intervene if necessary, and set alarms to receive automatic notifications in the event that specific situations arise.

Remote Monitoring is the BOBST app for remotely monitoring machine performance. For example, for flatbed die-cutters, Remote Monitoring provides information on production status (such as machine speed, sheets processed per hour, downtimes and overall machine efficiency) in the form of statistics and clear diagrams. In addition, the app offers many options for evaluating historical data. The web app Downtime Tracking makes it possible to analyze machine downtimes. The causes of machine stops can be examined remotely and measures can be introduced to avoid further downtimes.

Finally, digital transformation using Connected Services is based on a 5-step model that customers work through with BOBST, step by step, in order to adapt the model to their individual needs. “The step model makes the process transparent and clearly shows our customers the benefits they will gain by digitalizing their production and interconnecting their processes. With this model, the benefits increase with each completed step,” says Bauer.

In order to quantify the benefit of Connected Services, BOBST experts cooperate with customers to create an expected ROI (return on investment) for each machine. They use calculations to compare the investment to the expected benefits. Customers generally recoup these investments within a few months.

In terms of digital transformation, BOBST customers currently find themselves in a very unique position. While many large groups have already reached a high level of digitalization and process interconnectivity, other customers are currently replacing manual data collection in favor of automatic data collection. That change alone provides them with immediately tangible benefits: the time-saving is significant. Recording errors are eliminated. The data is immediately available in the central system.

The market trend is clear: more and more packaging manufacturers are using automatically collected machine and process data to analyze the causes of certain developments, make appropriate decisions and undertake proactive measures — all with the goal of earning more money with their machines. Bauer states: “Anyone who does not address this issue runs the risk, either short-term or long-term, of falling behind the competition.”

Source: BOBST

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