Expensive energy is having an exorbitant impact on all industrial processes. By using industrial energy monitoring in plastic processing it is now possible to optimize processes and cut costs.

Being able to adequately manage and monitor production is essential to obtain good results in terms of energy efficiency, reduction of machine stops, and production costs.

The plastics industry is an inordinately energy-intensive sector, both from energy and thermal aspects. Cost savings is essential for companies that want to make industrial processes more efficient and obtain an economic return on investment in Industry 4.0. Through industrial energy monitoring, IoT technologies make it possible to control both costs and consumption, thus making processes more efficient.

Plastic processing: Industry 4.0 in Italy

How digitized are Italian companies today? How ready are they to undertake a complete transition toward Industry 4.0? How will Italy implement careful and comprehensive industrial energy monitoring that can satisfy all the needs that companies have?

Despite the numerous government incentives, guided by the Transition 4.0 plan and PNRR, complete digitization is only possible if it is adequately supported from an economic and process standpoint.

To be attractive in the market, and to keep pace with the continuous innovations and challenges arriving from other parts of the world, companies need to focus on competitiveness and innovation.

For companies in the plastics sector (but not only here), becoming smart means adopting a complete transition path to Industry 4.0 in order to enjoy the advantages that machine digitization allows them to obtain.

Energy efficiency processes and processes

There are two types of production in plastics processing, and they depend on how thermal energy (heat) transfers from one body to another.

  • Hot: turning, boring, and milling processes, which allow you to make grooves and customized shapes on the products
  • Cold: the processing involves the removal of excess parts using machine tools and numerically controlled workbenches

These processes consume great amounts of energy and, consequently, need constant monitoring. In fact, for all types of production, industrial energy monitoring, and control of consumption and costs make it possible to implement optimization strategies that result in an overall improvement of processes.

Reducing electric consumption, for example, can facilitate directing one’s investment plans by choosing machinery with lower consumption capacities.

Using Industrial IoT technologies makes it possible to initiate a process of identification and action mapping where intervention is necessary. This facilitates alignment with the machinery’s energy needs and the general plant’s well-being.

Optimize industrial processes with IoT technologies

Why use IoT technologies in the plastic industry? There are numerous advantages that derive from using Industry 4.0 solutions for industrial energy monitoring and process optimization:

  • Greater process automation
  • Speed of realization from prototype to mass production
  • Creation of “customized” products with different shapes and colors
  • Reducing and minimizing downtime
  • Greater flexibility, through batch production at economies of scale costs
  • Qualitative improvement to the final product
  • Minimizing waste
  • Reduction in energy consumption

In a simple and immediate way, IoT technologies allow companies to obtain dynamic production with more fluidity and interconnected processes, enabling the best use of all available resources.

The digital 4.0 transformation can enable companies and machinery to “produce more by wasting less”.

The benefits of the transition to Industry 4.0 are numerous, according to a study conducted by the Productive Activities Commission. They say companies that have already introduced Industry 4.0 estimate a production efficiency growth of 30-50%.

Machine Learning for production optimization

One of the greatest advantages of using intelligent systems and IoT technologies during production processes undoubtedly is the constant interfacing and communication between machines.

Data is continuously extracted and processed on the edge, thereby, making it easier to encode and process it. The use of machine learning techniques makes it possible to meet these needs. This makes it simple to use and understand data related to machine operation, thus, making industrial energy monitoring easy and efficient.

Artificial intelligence paradigms make it possible to automate processes and build analytical models that are capable of minimizing human intervention in decision-making. In the most advanced cases, available data is used to teach the algorithm what to expect from the monitored machines, and in this way, an AI model gets trained and becomes capable of making autonomous decisions.

By using machine learning algorithms, it is possible to define and control the optimal energy behavior of an asset in order to anticipate possible anomalies and act accordingly. Energy costs for the plastics industry are high. In fact, they represent one-third of the cost in the budget, and through containment, there is a possibility to maintain high competitiveness in the market.

The use of 4.0 technologies allows, in this context (but not only here) monitoring of the consumption of the machinery present in the plastic industry simply and automatically. This applies not only to those who directly produce the product but also to those who are providing service, i.e. auxiliary and complementary to production.

The Zerynth solution

The Zerynth Industrial IoT & AI APPs meet the needs of customers by proposing 4.0 solutions for industrial energy monitoring, process control, and support for decision-makers involved in production efficiency strategies.

The Machine Insights APP, for example, allows you to monitor the performance and use of your machinery, with a specific focus on OEE, availability, performance, and product quality. Data can be shown for individual machines as well as at an aggregate level.

An advantage is also linked to the possibility of observing data relating to consumption and production costs, both through aggregated views (Fig 1), and at the individual machine level, in order to avoid any anomalies and to implement monitoring techniques for industrial energy needs.

Machine Monitoring APP dashboard

Fig 1. Aggregate view of production machinery with APP Machine Insights.

Being able to monitor your industrial machinery in real-time and remotely allows you to monitor production times, machinery status, and consumption in order to make strategic decisions easily.

Do you want to learn about the benefits of Industry 4.0? Do you want to know how it is possible to enable your company to complete the digitization process?

Download our White Paper to get an overview of which technologies enable this and what the advantages are for using IoT technologies in Italian companies.

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About the Author: Angelica Puddu

Angelica works in the Zerynth Marketing Team. She graduated in Digital Humanities, so she has a critical perspective of how digital technology is increasingly part of everyday life. She likes to manage and organize projects and, in her free time, she likes to attend theater workshops and play sports.

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