Miguel Negre and Joe Posge discuss the design logistics for an in-process loader project.
For the February Drake Blog, we thought you might like to learn about how Drake can assist your facility’s transition to Industry 4.0. Thus, we decided to talk to Miguel Negre, Drake Controls Engineering manager, about Industry 4.0 and Drake’s contributions to it.
Miguel is a great person to talk to about this topic. He has worked in the Controls Group at Drake for several years and has a Bachelor of Science in Mechatronics, Robotics, and Automation Engineering.
Drake: “Thank you for making time for us in your busy schedule, Miguel. There’s some confusion around the term ‘Industry 4.0,’ so why don’t you tell us exactly what that is.”
Miguel: “The term Industry 4.0 is considered by many to be a marketing buzzword and therefore difficult to properly define, but the technologies commonly associated with the term are very real and can help you take your factory to the next level. It boils down to interconnectivity and access to real-time data locally and remotely. By analyzing information coming from the equipment, you and your operators can make better decisions to optimize your processes. In most cases, Drake’s loaders come with the hardware required for this connectivity already built into them.”
Drake: “That’s great to hear. How else can Industry 4.0 help our customers?”
Miguel: “Another technology associated with Industry 4.0 that our customers can benefit from is Augmented Reality, which allows the operator to look at a part of the machine and connect in real time to a service tech or a video about best practices to keep the machine running in tip-top shape. We haven’t created that quite yet, but one of our Middleby Food Processing sister companies is working on deploying this with their equipment, so it’s just a matter of time.
Eventually, we expect it will be part of the whole line solution that Middleby Food Processing offers. This technology has the potential to decrease training time for plant personnel as well as to allow both Drake’s service technicians and your plant personnel to see in real-time how equipment is performing. That’s the next step and it’s a crucial one.”
Drake: “That’s pretty cool. Given all the recent cyber-attacks, would this create any potential headaches?”
Miguel: “Yes, it could. That brings us to the next part, which is cybersecurity. As a part of Middleby Food Processing, we take the protection of our customers’ data very seriously. We do our part to make sure that our customers are aware of best practices to connect the Drake loader to their network. Drake wants them to know how they can maintain full control over their data. Once the data is on their plant’s servers, then our customers can take advantage of the multiple programs that exist to go beyond just monitoring how well our equipment runs and let them look for trends in their overall production process. With Industry 4.0, they can analyze when our equipment encounters a problem and instead of guessing where in the production process the issue originated, they can dig into the data and discover that it’s a problem with the product coming out of the smokehouse or somewhere else in the process.”
Drake: “Awesome. I am sure our customers will love to hear this.”
Miguel: “They certainly will. Drake is on track to help them monitor their overall process better so they can achieve optimal results and maximize productivity. This is really an exciting time to be part of Drake and Middleby Food Processing.”
Drake – Your Partner in Automating the Food Industry.