Industry 4.0 with ThingTrax
Industry 4.0 upgrades for manufacturers
- Due to the natural wear and tear of factory machines, breakdowns occur, stopping planned business operations. Internal machine problems are likely to be overlooked; thus, minor problems that serve as indicators to a breakdown cannot be fixed in time to prevent downtime.
- ThingTrax has developed software-enabled devices that help manufacturers reduce downtime and increase operations efficiency by capturing and analysing machine, motor, and operator data, detecting any anomaly and sending alerts with actionable insights to factory managers.
- ThingTrax solution doesn’t require expensive wiring between machines and a central server. The ThingTrax devices attach easily onto machine programmable logic controllers and instantly connect to the cloud through built-in Wi-Fi.
- The initial focus has been to provide monitoring and alerting for injection moulding machines. Through a personalised dashboard, factory managers have instant access to real-time analysed data on product cycle, injection, cooling and part-out times, and injection speeds and positions.
Progress so far
- Founded in 2015, ThingTrax took part in the IoTUK Boost accelerator programme, Startupbootcamp, London. In December 2016 the minimum viable product (MVP) was ready and the first pilot was launched.
- ThingTrax’s first pilot was for an injection moulding facility. Within 24 hours their pilot customer increased operations efficiency by 5% and had identified cost savings on unproductive machines and staffing processes.
- Driven by this success, ThingTrax followed up with two more pilots and through these networks established a presence in Asia, Europe, and the Middle East. Currently ThingTrax is operating with three paid customers around the world with over 100 machines connected to their Smart Cloud.
- On average customers are seeing a 35% reduction in maintenance costs, as well as a 70% decrease in machine downtime. These values translate to a significant 5% overall savings on annual costs.
- More recently, in May 2017, ThingTrax has raised £250,000 in a seed funding round led by Technology Venture Capital investments.
- ThingTrax aims to make every machine on the factory floor smart regardless of its age, size, or type. The funding obtained in the recent seed round will enable ThingTrax to further grow its existing customer base and continue working with its customers in the UK and abroad.
- By the end of 2017, ThingTrax aims to have over 600 machines connected to their solutions. This will be achieved by increasing the number of paid customers globally, which will be coupled with a growing team encompassing various expertise.
Today, manufacturers struggle to monitor their manufacturing processes and machines with end-to-end solutions. Most small to medium-scale manufacturers have grown organically in the past years and run machines with parts supplied from various vendors. This means calculating Overall Equipment Efficiency (OEE), measuring Staff Effectiveness (SE), and regulating Quality Control (QC) are challenging and the solutions that are available are either fragmented or inaccessible to the majority of the market.
Daniel Young, Principal Consultant, IoTUK Programme