Category Archives: Industrial Equipment

What Are Micro Switches Used for?


Microswitches are electrical switches operated mechanically that open and close sets of shifting contacts inside an electrical unit.


Equipped with an actuator/ plunger and terminals, it snaps into action in case of alterations in the electrical unit by way of a spring and a stiff metal strip.

The metal strip moves back and forth in response to any changes out of the ordinary. The common terminal is usually connected to power. Subsequently, power runs through the switch. As power passes by, the spring is energized. It sends off power to the close pin. Once this is done, power is transferred to the open pin.



Given their small, compact sizes, the reliability and durability, it offers, they are usually used in electrical appliances as safety devices. These inexpensive sources of safety can open or close a circuit as and when needed. Thus, it can prevent a machine from being jammed or a door from opening or closing when it is not supposed to.


You may find it in the following everyday things:

  1. Door interlocks

  2. Microwave ovens

  3. Detecting paper jams in printers

  4. Elevators

  5. Levelling devices in vending machines, etc.

They can be used at homes, and in industrial equipment as levelling devices, safety switches, in control circuits, and precise equipment as well.


The most common example can be observed in an elevator. You might have seen call buttons and alarms in an elevator. Well, they are all an application of microswitches.

Push buttons, call buttons, alarms, etc. are buttons that may be pressed to tip off the concerned authorities in instances of emergencies.

They are also used for security purposes to prevent damage and fraud in control panels, card readers, and infrared detection alarm, etc.

Furthermore, they are used in security cameras. They facilitate turning in the security cameras and stop immediately the camera is in the extreme of the range of motion.


One may find micro switches in devices measuring the air pressure or assessing the flow of gases.


Micro switches are used in electric door locks. They help in the detection of the locking, unlocking, opening, and closing of the various doors. Further, they are used in roller doors. They are installed in the circuit breaker, sense, and turn on and off the circuit when needed.

They are even used in timer controls. So, the next time your oven shuts off when the time runs out, remember that it is the work of a micro switch.


Washing machines use micro switches to detect and turn on and off. They detect when the machine door is opened and not, the water level, the capacity, etc. and act on it by turning on and off the machine. They are installed in refrigerators, microwave ovens, and air conditioners.

What Are Bird Centrifuges?

Andritz Bird decanter centrifuges or as it’s commonly referred to as Bird centrifuges is a type of industrial centrifuge. This centrifuge has a few advantages over other centrifuges. A few of them include the process flexibility, machine automation, and chemical resistance to name a few. The tool is simple to install and safe for people to use. A Bird centrifuge machine has low spacing requirements as well as low operating costs.

Historically, the Bird Machine Company had its origin as a partnership created by Charles Sumner Bird in the early 1900s. The Company was incorporated in 1909 and their first product was the Bird Rotary Paper Screen. This product played a major contribution in the advancement for stock cleaning in paper mills. The Company established a broad line of centrifugal and filtration equipment for liquid/solids separation in 1932. Bird eventually diversified to a wide range of equipment for stock preparation and cleaning in the pulp for the paper industry. Other notable accomplishments included creation of accessory equipment used in the making of paper and paperboard.

The first significant development in the industrial centrifuge industry was the creation of the first planetary gear unit added to all centrifuge machines. On June 1934 the patent was issued and this established the basis for the design used in the Bird Solid Bowl and Screen Bowl Centrifuges and opens the door for the development and application of decanter centrifuges into the process industry. Frank Young working for the Bird Machine Company patented the Bird-Young Filter in the early nineteen forties. The Bird-Young Filter could easily separate and wash solids in a machine that is a fraction of the size of conventional rotary vacuum-drum filter. This fast, efficient filter quickly found applications in the pharmaceutical, chemical, and other industries.

Recently an Andrtiz D5LL Decanter Centrifuge was sold that has a maximum drum speed of thirty-two hundred revolutions per minute with a stainless steel rotating assembly. Another successful sale of an Andrtiz 6150 Decanter Centrifuge which is a solid bowl centrifuge with a nominal operating speed of a thousand revolutions per minute with an alternate sheave of fourteen hundred revolutions per minute. Bird centrifuges have a ceramic bowl liner, a four inch feed pipe connection, and comes complete with hoppers for solids and liquids and a lube system. When buying or looking for a used centrifuge always make sure to deal with a company that has experience and credibility to handle such equipment.

Different Types of Laser Cutting Equipment

Laser cutting is a technology, which uses a high-power laser beam to cut a wide range of materials. The materials are burnt, melted, vaporized or blown away. The laser beam comprises of photons. The width of a typical laser beam is about 1/5th of a millimeter. Further, the beam focuses 1000 to 2000 watts of energy. This amount of energy is enough to melt and cut away most common material.

The laser cutting technique was used to cut materials for the first time in 1967. Typical laser cutters create holes ranging between 1 mm and 20 mm. Specialized laser cutters can create even smaller holes. The light beams are used to cut a variety of materials, such as carbon alloys, stainless steel, copper, aluminum, plastic, wood, ceramics and rubber.

Industrial laser cutters have become popular due to the ease of operation, convenience and versatility offered by them. These instruments are primarily used to cut out and give specific patterns to metal sheets. Industrial laser cutting has a wide range of applications. These laser instruments are used in health care industry as a surgical instrument. Further, these equipment are also used for craft making, lithography and welding metal sheets. These equipment are also used in the garment industry for cutting a variety of fabric.

Industrial laser cutting has several advantages over other types of cutting techniques. Some of the benefits of this advanced cutting technique includes high level of accuracy, greater precision, clean cuts, reduced contamination of workpiece, reduced power consumption, requires minimal operator intervention and quicker operation. Different methods of cutting using laser cutters are vaporization cutting, melt and blow, thermal stress cracking, cold cutting, scribing, reactive cutting and flame cutting.

Conventional laser cutting equipment have two primary components, including a table, where the metal workpiece is kept and a head, from which the light beam is projected. These two important components of a laser cutter remain constant. These components can be adjusted to fulfill specific cutting requirements. These cutting equipment have become valuable assets due to their advanced features and ease of operation. Different types of cutting machines available in the market are:

Flying Optic Machines: This is one the fastest cutting equipment. The machine projects a light beam, which can cut along the X as well as Y axis of a metal sheet. The machine enables you to cut a large number of workpieces in a short span of time.

Moving Material Machine: The light beam projected through this machine remains stationary. The workpiece is connected to a mobile surface, which moves automatically in the pre-programmed directions. The directions are programmed through a computer. This equipment is slower as compared to other cutting equipment.

Another important cutting device is hybrid configuration cutting machine. This machine is a combination of the flying optics and moving material machines.

Small Business Property Insurance Info: What Are Factors That Affect the Cost of Coverage?

No matter how big or small your business property is, it’s a good idea to have it insured. You never know when somebody might become injured on it, or when a thief might steal something or cause damage to it. There are also natural disasters to worry about, like fire and hail. Like any type of insurance, the internet is filled with information about small business property insurance, some of which is useless information and some very helpful.

The cost of insurance varies depending on multiple factors. Some providers will allow small business owners to include commercial property insurance in a BOP (business owner’s policy), which is basically a bundled package of various types of insurance. In some instances, the cost of the package as a whole is actually less than the underlying policies if you were to purchase them separately.

Here are some of the factors that will affect the price:

• Size of the premise. Obviously, a large commercial property will typically cost more to cover than a small property or single unit of office space.

• The geography. Where, exactly, your business is physically located plays an important role in how much small business property insurance you’ll have to pay. This includes the state and city, crime rate in that neighborhood, land value, and so forth.

Safety and Security Demands for Small Business Property Insurance

• The amount of safety and security. Do you have any security equipment setup on the property? Are there any hazardous materials stored in the facility or nearby? Is the landscape kept neat and clean? Is there any object someone could potentially trip over?

• Age and type of equipment. Obviously, heavy industrial equipment is going to cost more to insure than an at-home desktop. As for age, you’ll probably have to pay a higher premium if the equipment is older and contains parts that are difficult to come by now, therefore making it more difficult to repair or replace.

• Age of the building. Older buildings are more susceptible to damage and will cost more to insure. Find out if you could save money in the long run by investing in renovations and remodeling, or if any discounts are available for making certain upgrades.

Now you have some idea of what to expect when it comes to small business owners getting their property insured. Regardless of your specific needs, you can count on a company like Hiscox to deliver the best policy. This company has its origins going all the way back to 1901 and has established an excellent reputation. There are many types of commercial policies to choose from, including affordable small business property insurance.

Film Radiography is Declining in Industrial Testing Applications


The shift from analog to digital technology has given a new lease of life for NDT applications in the industrial radiography market, thus, broadening the scope beyond traditional applications. Digital X-ray systems are proliferating with increased acceptance across all industry verticals, including highly regulated and traditionally conservative aerospace and automotive industries. The most significant contributing factor for this paradigm shift to digital X-ray systems is the cost-saving, which is 5-6 times more (in both computed and direct radiography) when compared to film-based systems. The shift is also being fuelled by the bridge of gap by digital systems when it comes to high-resolution images, which used to be a niche for film radiography. Megatrends, such as Industry 4.0, Industrial Internet of Things, and Big Data, are expected to progressively phase out radiography on film.


The industry is experiencing significant influx of portable equipment in the recent years. With the need for inspection activities to be carried out at multiple locations and in various orientations, the industry demand for portable testing devices is increasing. The demand for compact and lightweight devices, which enable easier examination, has been a key trend in the market. Innovation in manufacturing technologies is propelling the deployment of these products. Elimination of installation costs with the use of portable devices, which helps in reducing the total cost of ownership (TCO) of these devices, is further helping the manufacturers strengthen their economic position in the market. The oil & gas industry, which employs testing across the industry supply chain for gauging the structural integrity and for continuous monitoring of intricate structures of various sizes, like plates, tubes and drilling machines, is expected to be among the most dominant end-users for portable radiographic equipment.


What’s leading the pack in digital radiography? Direct radiography is the fastest growing type of radiography with near double-digit growth rate as compared to the overall market. This segment is aided by advancements in hardware, such as tubes, sources, and detectors, as well as software improvements facilitating better user-friendliness and efficiency. The advantages of direct radiography, including shorter exposure times, real-time applications, use of recognition software, reduced inspection time, environmental concerns, portability, and increased dynamic range (enabling multiple thicknesses to be inspected in one shot), are driving their adoption across all industry verticals. Direct radiography equipment is offering guaranteed high ROI to customers, which is the biggest contributing factor for their growth. Significant market opportunity for direct radiography (includes real-time) exists in automotive and aerospace segments, which are witnessing very high growth rates, even exceeding that of the overall direct radiography market.

Benefits of Industrial Electronic Repair

When it comes to electronic component servicing, industrial electronic repair can always be a better option than replacing your entire system. As the prices for new equipment continues to rise, it is easier for electronic equipment owners to look at repair as the first priority.

If you have a reliable service and repair company helping you out, there are a number of benefits that come from repairing your industrial electronic system in terms of convenience, costs, and quality.

  • Cost Savings: Depending on the company, make, and quality, a branded PC board or a servo motor can sell for a price ranging anywhere between $2,000 to over $3,000. Your PC Board servicing and repair company can properly repair such feedback devices for a fraction of that cost. As long as the system is regularly maintained from time to time, you can look forward to many years of good service.
  • Easier Upgradation: Upgrading your old system rather than purchasing a new one is always a wise decision. You can work with your servicing company to ensure that your company’s prescribed working parameters are always met no matter what type of new devices or upgrades are installed on the system.
  • Quality Control: This is one of the most important points when it comes to industrial electronic repair. It is important that you check whether your repair and servicing company has been certified by the International Society of Certified Electronics Technicians (ISCET). This certification will ensure that your technician has the requisite knowledge and skill required to repair your system.

The certification also helps to create a better quality control process. Thanks to this, common electronic components of a system can be easily repaired or replaced, the cosmetic components can be refurbished, and general function tests can be performed along with final load tests before delivery.

  • Other General Benefits:
  • Avoiding Extra Costs: You can ensure that there are no unnecessary upgrades being done just to inflate the overall billing price.
  • Longer Equipment Life: If servicing and industrial electronic repair is done every few months, then the chances of the equipment lasting longer will increase.
  • Elimination of Multiple Vendors: If you have one vendor with whom you share a good professional relationship, you can order all the necessary components you require from him. This will reduce your costs and increase savings.
  • Discounts on Component Orders: If you have a good relationship with your component provider, you can take the opportunity to order multiple parts and receive discounts on the overall billing price.

So before you decide on getting new equipment for your factory, make sure that you go through all the other industrial electronic repair options. They would definitely help you immensely in terms of investments and savings.

Is Amsoil a Pyramid Scheme?

The answer is an emphatic NO! The notion that Amsoil is not a legitimate Product or Opportunity is perpetuated by the ignorance of those who can not be bothered to educate themselves on the subject of Synthetic Lubricants. Amsoil was the First Synthetic(TM) API-rated oil developed for automotive use. The “big oil” companies scoffed at the very idea! Big Oil Manufacturers would like you to believe that Amsoil is a “BAD” Pyramid scheme. (See Big Oil and Extended Drains here) I will leave it up to you to figure the why? of that one. The fact is that they were about 30 years late to the party and Amsoil is a real threat to “Big Oil” profits.

Amsoil is a legitimate Multi-level Marketing (MLM) Business. Amsoil is not a get rich quick scheme and if you are looking to get rich without working you should probably just keep looking, because Amsoil is not the business for you. Like anything else you do, the more effort you put in the more successful you will be. As an Amsoil Dealer you do not have to sponsor anyone else if you wish not to. You can make money just by selling the product, and there are many ways to do just that. Amsoil DOES NOT pay a commission for signing up dealers, Amsoil DOES NOT require dealers to carry any inventory. All Products are distributed directly through Amsoil warehouses located throughout the US, with Amsoil handling all of the transactions, shipping, sales tax, and the headaches.

You can get started with an Amsoil Dealership for less than $100.00. Amsoil offers continuing Lubrication and business management Education, they will host your web page, they will help you co-op trade shows, and sponsor race teams if desired. A regular Amsoil Dealership costs $30.00 per year plus the purchase of a Business Manual (optional but a must if you want to succeed). If you only put up a web page without lifting another finger you will make more money than your $60.00 investment. Hell, if you just buy Amsoil products for yourself, the commission you earn will pay your annual dealership costs, not to mention selling to your friends and relatives. Synthetic oil is used in every commercial, and military jet engine in the world, not to mention all space craft, many professional racing teams, and most Industrial equipment. Amsoil was the First Synthetic(TM), is the “Worlds Best Synthetic”, and will lead the future of lubrication. Read This (to see the test results that back that up).

Even if you do not want to sell Amsoil, You can benefit from it. You can become a preferred customer with a six month trial for $10.00. The money you will save by changing oil only every 7,500-25,000 miles (dependent on oil/filter choice), the money saved from increased fuel mileage, fewer repair bills, longer vehicle life, etc… will more than pay for itself. Not to mention the environmental benefits, and the reduced dependence on foreign oil.

I am confident that once you use Amsoil you will never return to conventional oils, I know because I have been involved in Industrial Lubrication for over 20 years. Currently I serve as an Equipment Reliability Engineer for a large Pharmaceutical Manufacturer. I have used synthetic oil extensively and found that conventional oils just don’t measure up. The extended life expectancy of the equipment, the reduction in maintenance costs, replacement parts, and the decrease in “down time” is immeasurable. I use Amsoil in everything I own and I will never trust my equipment with anything other than Amsoil.

I am not getting “rich” off of Amsoil, but I am slowly and steadily building a business selling a product that I absolutely believe in, and I have a little extra change in my pocket to boot. You owe it to yourself and your equipment to at least give Amsoil a try. If you want to take it farther how far will be up to you.

How To Choose An Equipment Leasing Company

Leasing has become a preferred form of equipment financing, accounting for more than 30% of business equipment acquisitions. Each year, thousands of U.S. companies face the challenge of finding attractive financing to acquire business equipment. Many of these companies approach the lease sourcing process seeking the lowest lease rate. While securing a low rate is a worthwhile goal in choosing a leasing arrangement, it alone is usually not a reliable standard for obtaining the best lease transaction or leasing experience.

To obtain attractive lease proposals and to avoid lease blunders, make sure you choose the right leasing companies to bid. Ultimately, the wrong lessor choice can result in a slow approval, inability of the lessor to deliver, hidden fees, substandard lease terms, or worse. To secure the best lease arrangement, you must do your homework in pre-qualifying bidding leasing companies. Give this aspect of obtaining an attractive lease arrangement your highest priority.

How Leasing Companies Differ

Leasing companies can vary in a number of ways. Some specialize in specific industries, some in lease types, some in certain equipment types, and still others in transaction sizes. For example, some leasing companies specialize only in a single industry like health care, printing, agriculture, or transportation. Others focus exclusively on a lease type. They may only offer operating leases for equipment with attractive residual values. Some lessors specialize in full-payout finance leases. Still others focus on small ticket transactions with equipment cost under $ 100,000. It is important to understand the specialization of the lessors bidding on your lease transaction. To get the most attractive deal and to avoid the run-around, stick with lessors who focus on the type of transaction you are seeking.

Leasing companies also differ in resources and capabilities. Many large leasing companies are owned by banks, financial companies, or other large industrial concerns. These firms usually have abundant resources and expertise in a number of leasing segments. Mid-size and smaller leasing companies greatly outnumber large lessors. While these companies cannot match the resources of their larger brethren, they often have highly skilled professionals, sufficient resources and more flexibility to meet lessee needs. The goal is to obtain the best leasing arrangement for your firm. By establishing priorities for the leasing arrangement you are seeking, you will be able to determine whether a leasing firm with sizeable resources or one that is nimble and flexible is a better choice.

When And Where To Look

The time to start your search for a leasing company is early in the lease-planning phase, once you have established criteria for a leasing arrangement. Some criteria to consider for a leasing arrangement are: pricing, monthly cash outlay, financial statement impact, the appropriate lease type, lease term, lease flexibility, lease facility size, and whether your equipment will be accepted for lease. Use criteria like these and the qualities you are seeking in a leasing company to start your lessor search.

A great starting point for finding bidding leasing companies is through professional and personal referrals. Check with your attorney, your accountant, bank contacts and colleagues in your industry. Also ask friends and acquaintances who use leasing in their businesses. Asked them for contacts at leasing companies that specialize in your industry or that offer the type of lease you are seeking. Call your industry association and ask whether they have names of leasing companies serving others in your industry.

Another approach is to call a couple of the major equipment leasing trade associations. Major association websites include:,,,,,, and Describe the type of equipment and the industry you are in. Ask whether they are in a position to provide you with a list of members to contact regarding your lease. If you receive such a list, you may need to narrow the candidates based on further homework and the criteria you have established.

Evaluating Leasing Companies

Qualities to look for in any leasing company you consider include: 1) experience and expertise; 2) reputation; 3) ability to perform; and 4) a relationship approach.

Interview prospective bidders carefully. Discuss their expertise and experience in the leasing business. Ask about experience with the type of transaction you are seeking, involvement with similar firms in your industry, and the types of lease products they offer firms like yours. Discuss your equipment needs. Find out whether they will be able to lease most of the equipment you need. Ask whether they will finance your lease using internal funding or whether they will broker the lease to another funding source.

Get enough information from and about bidding lessors to decide whether to include them in the bid process. If possible, ask for financial information from potential bidders to evaluate their financial condition. Also, if you can, obtain a Dunn and Bradstreet report (“D&B”) for each bidder. In the D&B report, look for lawsuits filed against the lessor, judgments, severe payment delinquencies, poor financial performance and similar issues that might impact performance on a new lease transaction.

Ask for and check customer, vendor, bank and trade references for each lessor. Contact each reference and verify key information given to you by the lessor. Ask how the lessor handles its account and whether there have ever been any problems or issues. Ask customer references about the lessor’s ability to perform and about attentiveness to customer problems and concerns.

Investigate bidders online. Check Google ( to see whether prospective bidders appear in any newsworthy articles. Hit the message boards and newsgroups. Look for unresolved problems, fraud, financial problems, success stories, and awards. Visit bidders’ websites to get as much information as possible before extending an invitation to bid. You may be able to screen out undesirables.

Lastly, make sure prospective bidders belong to one or more industry trade association. While membership alone does not speak for the integrity or expertise of members, most of the associations set standards of conduct for their members.

A Word About Lease Brokers

Lease brokers serve roles similar to insurance brokers. They profit by placing lease transactions with the ultimate financing sources for those transactions. You should decide whether a lease broker would serve you better than seeking direct bids from lessors. Lease brokers can be useful in finding sources for difficult transactions, due to weak credit or unattractive equipment. They also can be useful in placing transactions that are highly specialized. Only work with lease brokers who have high integrity, who have a good understanding of leasing, and who understand the market you are in.

The entry bar for becoming a lease broker is relatively low and not all brokers are well trained or reputable. Check the broker’s references and capabilities thoroughly. Check to see whether the broker belongs to the national trade association for lease brokers, NAELB ( or to one of the other major equipment leasing associations. Use the same guidelines for evaluating brokers as outlined above for leasing companies.

Parting Words Of Caution

Avoid high-pressure lease sellers. Whether they are brokers or leasing company representatives, the odds of you being misled or disappointed with the outcome are very high. Only work with lease representatives or brokers who have a good understanding of leasing and who are sensitive to your needs. To do otherwise might result in delays or disappointment.

Avoid giving lease deposits or advance rentals to brokers. Brokers do not provide the financing directly and, in possession of your money, represent a potential credit risk.

If the lease broker or leasing representative says anything that constitutes a significant misrepresentation, walk away. Chances are the first such misrepresentation won’t be the last. There are too many knowledgeable leasing professionals with high integrity. Avoid spending time with those who are unprofessional.

Lastly, make sure you get at least three or four lease bids from qualified lessors, if you can. At the end of the day, lease pricing is market driven. Getting several bids will help ensure that you get competitive pricing and terms.

Choosing the right leasing company is worth the effort. By taking a few easy steps during the planning and bidding phases of the lease procurement process, you can eliminate or greatly reduce time wasted with unqualified lessors. You can also avoid getting the run-around. Allow enough time to carefully check out all bidders. Be partial to lessors with high integrity, great reputations for performance, good expertise and who communicate well with you. You will invest a little time upfront, but you will thank yourself later.

What Is the Internet of Things (Iot)

Smart connected devices, ubiquitous wireless connectivity and scalable cloud-based computing have created the platform for the Internet of Things (IoT). These IoT platforms are enabling organizations to monitor, control, optimize and automate their operations in ways that were previously unimaginable. In many industries, IoT is disrupting traditional business models causing companies to ask the fundamental.

This is leading to many private and public sector organizations asking how they can use IoT to create new sources of value. Some are using it to deliver new operational efficiencies. Remote asset management allows organizations to track assets in real-time and make much more efficient use of their field teams. Predictive maintenance reduces downtime by replacing parts before they fail. Real-time analytics help employees make better decisions. And smart IoT systems can automate repetitive and predictable processes.

IoT Systems

The Internet of Things extends internet connectivity beyond traditional devices like desktop and laptop computers, smart phones and tablets to a diverse range of devices and everyday things that utilize embedded technology to communicate and interact with the external environment, all via the Internet.

But, for the moment, there’s a vast array of technology out there that can accurately be described as enabling IoT. Just at the networking level, there’s Bluetooth, Bluetooth LE, ZigBee, RFID, Wi-Fi, cellular, Z-Wave, 6LowPAN, Thread, NFC, Sigfox, Neul, LoRaWAN, Alljoyn, IoTivity, Weave, Homekit, MQTT, CoAP, JSON-LD, and plenty more that can and do play a part in IoT implementations.

IoT Applications

IoT systems have application development across industries through their unique flexibility and ability to be suitable in any environment. They enhance data collection, automation, operations, and much more through smart devices and powerful enabling technology.

IoT is everywhere, but there are certainly a few verticals where it’s more prevalent. Heavy industry is arguably the sector that’s been working with IoT concepts for the longest, thanks to SCADA and robotics, and it’s got its own sub-type of IoT – industrial IoT, or frequently just IIoT. Sharing data for maintenance and operational purposes make industrial equipment a lot more responsive and useful and create a much safer working environment, as well.

IoT Security

IoT security is the area of endeavor concerned with safeguarding connected devices and networks in the Internet of things (IoT). The first thing that comes to mind for most people when they think of IoT security is encryption. If you are one of those people, then don’t worry, you are not totally incorrect. Encryption is an important component of security, but it is just one part of the whole story. However, by itself, encryption does not provide security in the way that most people tend to think.

Security, like most things, has a curve of diminishing returns versus cost. What IoT requires is a good balance of reasonably strong security measures that are economical and massively scalable. first major issue is that a compromised IoT device can, in some cases, offer a way onto a company’s network for a malicious actor. A badly secured smart TV, a security camera – anything that accesses the network is a potential vector for an attack.

IoT Interoperability

The full benefits of the Internet of Things are only realized when large enough numbers of devices are able to interact with each other – and therein lies a big problem. The number of different players in the market covers a wide range, both horizontally, in terms of functionality, and vertically, among different industries.

With a huge number of companies “doing IoT,” – most big-name tech companies, including Google, Microsoft, Apple, Cisco, Intel, and IBM have various types of IoT play – all working to bring as many users as possible into their respective ecosystems, motivation to make sure IoT systems and devices from different companies all work with each other is sometimes lacking.

IoT Platforms

One IoT device connects to another to transmit information using Internet transfer protocols. IoT platforms serve as the bridge between the devices’ sensors and the data networks.

The following are some of the top IoT platforms on the market today:

Amazon Web Services

Microsoft Azure

ThingWorx IoT Platform

IBM’s Watson

Cisco IoT Cloud Connect

Salesforce IoT Cloud

Oracle Integrated Cloud

GE Predix

Smart Manufacturing in Plastic Injection Molding

Smart Manufacturing is talked about quite a bit. It goes by other names, too, like the Internet of Things (IoT), Industrial IoT (IIoT), and Industry 4.0. The term IoT was first coined by Peter T. Lewis in 1985 to describe “the integration of people, processes, and technology with connectable devices and sensors to enable remote monitoring, status, manipulation, and evaluation of trends of such devices.”

So the term has been around for a while now, but the concept still continues to develop and evolve as technology continues to advance through new hardware like sensors, and through the collection and analysis of data. So, how have the advancements in smart manufacturing affected the plastic injection molding business? This article takes a look at the topic.

Benefits of Smart Manufacturing

Smart factories use smart manufacturing to gain production efficiencies, improve production quality and reduce time to market. Machines can now communicate failure points and collect data that can be used to improve predictive and preventative maintenance, which in the long run improves uptime. Data analysis is used to predict and prevent failure; it indicates when intervention is required and recommends the necessary corrective actions. Troubleshooting is more efficient, which benefits both manufacturers and customers.

Sensors, Connectivity and Data

The entire concept of smart manufacturing in injection molding revolves around collecting and analyzing the data. Sensors collect the data and networks transport the data. If a device or piece of equipment on the floor is standalone, it will not contribute to the collective knowledge of the smart factory. Devices and machinery equipped with sensors have the ability to monitor, collect, exchange and analyze data – all without human interaction. The sensors collect data, and communicate better information on the plant floor, as well as outside the plant (or from the outside in) faster, in order to make easier decisions.

Every device that has the ability to gather intelligence needs to be on a backbone of some type that allows it to produce data or have data pulled out of it. New sensor networks can be established, or sensors and data networking can be added to existing devices. The goal in injection molding is to connect the equipment on the plant floor to a network that can monitor, measure, store, and retrieve data.

As for the data itself, decisions need to be made that make the most sense for the injection molder. How and where to house the data is one such decision – should it be kept in-house, or outside of the company walls? Data security is of paramount concern, so if data is stored off premises, remote connectivity and how to safely get into your system from the outside needs to be addressed.

Plastics, in Particular

Since plastics is the third largest sector in the manufacturing industry, it warrants special consideration in the IIoT as it impacts manufacturers and their customers. In terms of injection molding complex components, the data gathered and analyzed can help ensure maximum repeatability in the injection molding process, consistent quality, and low defects. And again, the data also helps determine preventative machine maintenance which helps avoid unplanned downtime.

From the customer perspective, smart manufacturing provides many benefits for communication and visibility. Machine data collection and reporting gives the customer important timing information on project and production order status.

And so it goes. The drive to glean more – and better – data from industrial equipment and systems will continue to improve productivity in the plastic injection molding sector as technology, sensors, and systems continue to evolve, to the benefit of the molders and their customers.