netFIELD – IIoT networking: simple and flexible


MULTIVAC, the leading manufacturer of integrated packaging solutions develops customer-oriented services, enabling higher machine availability

Growing importance of industry 4.0

MULTIVAC Sepp Haggenmüller SE & Co. KG is a leading global provider of integrated food packaging solutions. MULTIVAC, from the Bavarian town of Wolferschwenden, also offers solutions for product handling, marking, labeling and processing. In addition to the food industry, MULTIVAC also provides solutions for handling and packaging of life science and health care products, as well as industrial and consumer goods. The company has more than 80 subsidiaries and 13 production sites worldwide, and the trend is rising.

Easy to use thanks to docker containers

“We first had the idea back in 2017 to connect our machines to our network via IIoT to take advantage of the available data,” explains Dr. Marius Grathwohl, Vice President Digital Products & Transformation. “At that time Hilscher was already developing a complete solution of hardware and software for the edge environment that lined up perfectly with our expectations. For us, it was the netFIELD OS as a management software that ultimately made the difference because of its simplicity and flexibility. From our point of view, a crucial ingredient and the only way to make IIoT applications useful & economically viable.”

Dr. Marius Grathwohl, Vice President Digital Products & Transformation, MULTIVAC
“A connected machine must always give the customer more advantages than a machine that is offline. Thanks to Hilscher’s netFIELD technology, we can provide highly efficient Smart Services that directly address customers’ needs while increasing customer loyalty at the same time.”

In the past, service technicians were often busy for days manually documenting downtimes and their causes, or counting flawed packs. By contrast, netFIELD OS makes applications available with ease via Docker containers, enabling gateways to be updated automatically, sending new commands or requesting data, etc. MULTIVAC is already benefiting from the use of this data for optimizing their machine development through the insights gained into wear tendencies and anomalous behaviors.

For some years now, connectivity and IIoT have become more and more important to MULTIVAC. The networking of machines and production lines, and the extensive process data involved in that, represent an enormous potential for optimizing availability and reducing unplanned downtimes. MULTIVAC relies on netFIELD technology from Hilscher to connect their machines. More specifically, the packaging solutions provider integrates the netPI edge gateways into its machines to collect process data independently of the control unit. The collected data can then be easily managed using the netFIELD OS for optimizing services.

netFIELD - IIoT networking: simple and flexibleSmart Services and digital consulting

By integrating the machines into the IT network via IIoT, MULTIVAC is now also able to develop new data-based business models—in particular, in the field of customer services. In recent years, they have been able to develop a new range of services, so-called Smart Services, that enable machine operators to monitor their equipment and machines easily, optimizing processes in real time. The MULTIVAC Pack Pilot, for example, is a cloud-based software that supports operators in optimally setting up the packaging machine—an important factor when short staffed or lacking in experienced machine operators. Other Smart Services include Smart Production Dashboard, Smart OEE Analyzer, Smart Log Analyzer, Smart Machine Report, and Smart Data Backup. The machine operator can use these Smart Services on their own to make the appropriate adjustments. Initial analysis results show Smart Services to increase production time by 30-50 minutes per week. Within the scope of their digital consulting, MULTIVAC also offers customer training in the effective use of their Smart Services.

Smart Services are just the beginning39

“Smart Services are only the beginning of our successful adaptation to IIoT. There is still a lot of potential yet to be leveraged in the area of service and marketing models,” explains Dr. Grathwohl, who already has his eye on the next goals. “Automatic updates of entire machines, digitally supported maintenance agreements, pay-per-use models, predictive maintenance: Once we’ve set the foundation for process data analysis with netFIELD technology, a wide range of exciting options await us, and we’re already exploring ways to implement them.”

In times of climate change, how can food and other products be processed in a more resource-friendly manner? MULTIVAC has the answer: By investing in research, development and modern production.

Customer benefits of netFIELD technology for MULTIVAC:Between 2010 and 2020 the MULTIVAC Group filed 445 patent applications, which were used to create synchronized, network-integrated, software-supported, and energy-efficient machines within automated processing lines. For high-precision slicing, accurate portioning to the gram, safe and sustainable packaging, labeling and quality assurance. For a green future.

Hilscher new logo

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