Smart factory technology makes the right customer connections

Schwaig, 16 October 2019 – Customer expectations are growing all of the time. In response, Sumitomo (SHI) Demag Plastics Machinery is enhancing its customer experience enabling direct communication with the service team and helping to boost manufacturing productivity through the launch of its web-based myConnect software.

Designed to optimise the cooperation with production managers and maintenance staff in moulding plants, the single platform enables customers to get instant assistance, including machinery support and visual troubleshooting, online documentation and order parts direct from a digital catalogue. Through this networking of injection moulding machines, operating costs can be simultaneously reduced and production managed more efficiently as machine availability increases.

Visitors to K -2019 are able to trial and observe the multiple features that myConnect offers at Sumitomo (SHI) Demag’s exhibition booth.  Available initially to customers in Germany, myConnect will then roll out through the company’s regional subsidiaries and then globally.

Andreas Holzer, Director of Customer Service at Sumitomo (SHI) Demag, explains: “Not only have we brought our injection moulding technologies to a level that offers fast cycle times, unparalleled process stability and market-leading energy efficiency, now we can offer a complete digital customer service experience.

“Machine availability, productivity, traceability and decision making can be improved through the use of real-time visibility. In addition to improving customer service response times, this seamless connection will be an integral part of future productivity in injection moulding plants worldwide,” adds Holzer.


Real-time support

Integral to the myConnect package is mySupport, which Andreas likens to pushing a help button on a networked machine via a PC or mobile device. When activated, a message appears on the Sumitomo (SHI) Demag service support server, enabling the most appropriate expert to view actions already taken by the customer, analyse the problems and suggest immediate solutions.

Through a fully integrated communication tool, both the customer and support expert can share documents, pictures, data, diagrams and even stream live video in real time. The use of smart glasses further enhances the customer experience, significantly speeding up the analysis and providing more precise, efficient and faster first time fix rates.

Smart glasses means that our support team can literally see what the customer is viewing and can react promptly and provide the appropriate solution. The best thing is customers no longer have to describe what the problem is, what it looks like or read out error reports. For our service support team it’s like looking over the on-site engineer’s shoulder. It is remote maintenance at its most efficient and productive. Problems can be solve in just several minutes compared to long periods of machine downtime waiting for a technician to be deployed to the site,” explains Andreas.

In order for this service to function, machines have to be connected to a secure internet channel.


Digitalised documentation

Working smarter also means having access to the very latest machine documentation. Rather than storing paper-based manuals, with myDocumentation customers can open the function, select and download the very latest instructions for their respective machines.

Andreas explains: “In a busy production environment, overlooking a paper-based document update is easily done. Cross checking and comparing several versions of the same manual can be extremely time consuming and unproductive. In comparison, digital files can be instantly accessed, archived and efficiently managed, and customers can feel confident that all the instructions are the very latest versions.”

Since myDocumentation is directly linked to the central service department, the system automatically checks and provides customers with the most recently updated documentation. Searches can be made from desktops, removing the need to track down manuals. It also facilitates remote working and troubleshooting.


Interactive parts catalogue

In total there are more than 25,000 Sumitomo (SHI) Demag machine parts available globally. This makes tracking down the correct spare both part time consuming and challenging. With myPartsShop there’s less chance of misordering as the catalogues are personalised for each Sumitomo (SHI) Demag machine. Resulting in fewer returns or a stockpile of unwanted inventory.

With this professional looking online catalogue, users can browse through the whole structure of a specific Sumitomo (SHI) Demag machine model in 2D and 3D, before selecting the part and placing their order. “It’s much more efficient than browsing through a paper-based catalogue. This feature is available through the PC application only,” notes Andreas. Ordered parts are typically dispatched to customers on the same day.


A complete backstory

For optimal efficiency and better traceability, myLifeCycleLog stores a full archive of past service requests and actions taken. Maintenance tasks are also archived, recording details of the technician who was connected, work orders, how the issue was resolved and specific support provided. “Being able to recall this information and call upon the on-site technician familiar with a specific case means customers are not repeatedly starting from the beginning, which is both labour intensive and unproductive,” comments Andreas.

Intelligent maintenance planning

Additionally, maintenance data from across a production plant can be aggregated centrally with myMaintenance. In one click maintenance staff can filter all pending tasks and synchronise them. The advantage is the workforce is presented with a proactive cross-site to-do list. Rather than reacting to tasks, such as oil fills and battery changes, on an individual machine basis, they can plan ahead and allocate resources to tasks accordingly.


Production performance

Key Performance (KPI) metrics can also be aggregated using myProduction – giving production managers a visual overview of defined performance parameters across the site’s entire machine fleet. Customers can specify up to 16 different parameters and create a personalised dashboard. For a quick overview of the status of machines, production managers can also use myConnectApp. From their smart phone, a traffic light dashboard system provides a visual alert so instant manufacturing decisions can be taken.

Andreas sums up: “Everything within the myConnect software package has been designed to facilitate more astute business decisions in real time. As a result of myConnect’s modular design, other productivity-driven features mirroring the services customers want in the future can be easily introduced.”


To learn more about the myConnect service modules, visit Hall 15, Stand D22 from October 16 to 23, 2019.

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