How Sica and AZ benefit from an integrated IIoT service portal
3 min. readMonica Negri
The proposal of customised service contracts allows machine builders to create new business models applied to their machine technology. Sica SpA and AZ tailored the IXON Cloud IoT portal completely to their needs.
A machine builder's business has always been identified with the machinery he sells and produces. However, in recent years we are witnessing a profound change made possible by Industrial IoT (IIoT).
Sica SpA is an established manufacturer of end-of-line machines for extruded plastic pipes. They were looking for an Industrial IoT solution to facilitate the work of their engineers, and to offer a high level of service to their customers.
''Initially we were oriented towards other solutions, but we encountered several obstacles during the implementation. This was important, because it helped us to understand what we wanted,'' says Matteo Hon Fucci, Software Engineering Manager at Sica.
Marco Secchiari, Technical Manager at Sica, adds: ''Focusing on technology is no longer enough. The next step is the production of optimised machines that are easy to maintain and of which the manufacturer is aware. The goal is to increase our professional services and provide the customer with a state-of-the-art product.'
Starbell 500 bi-oriented pipe belling machine
''The IXON Cloud platform proved to be the solution most in line with our needs as manufacturers. It’s a mature and already industrialised product, which makes us independent and reduces the time to market,'' says Fucci. The flexibility and user-friendliness of IXON Cloud are well suited to one of Sica's greatest strengths: the high degree of customisation of the machinery produced. The result is a highly collaborative platform that allows the visualisation and management of a large number of variables.
''The IXON Cloud solution is dedicated to the future: open to integrations, with widgets that are easy to build and use, unlike other systems that have a lock-in. In addition, the presence of a roadmap on feature development provides visibility into a product maintained by a partner who knows the OEMs' priorities,'' Fucci points out.
The IXON Cloud solution is futureproof: open to integrate, with widgets that are easy to implement and use, unlike other systems that have a lock-in.
Matteo Hon Fucci – Software Engineering Manager at Sica.
Thanks to the scalability of the platform, Sica has planned its own tailor-made service portal: real-time notifications, historical data, regular reporting, spare parts and technical documentation management allow the after-sales service to set up customised service contracts, including preventive and predictive maintenance.
The activation of automatic notifications and reports allows for rapid implementation and a reduction of the initial investment, greatly optimising the work of technicians. And, a quick return on investment. Sica took a further step to make its IIoT portal unique and recognisable, customising urls and pages with its own name and logo to reinforce corporate branding.
AZ is an international manufacturer of crankshaft grinding machines and special grinding machines designed for the aerospace industry. They had the need for a solution that supports research and innovation, technology adaptation and constant monitoring of machines in the field.
STA RU 1000 grinding machines
In AZ's case, the challenge is twofold: to assist customers in the handling of highly specialised machinery, and to support them with proactive support services. ''It’s crucial for us to support the customer with maximum performance. We must be able to monitor and intervene at any time to ensure that geometries and grinding are adapted to real needs, especially in the case of special machines,'' says Antonio D'Andrea, AZ's Project Manager. In addition, the machines are distributed globally, mainly in the United States, Mexico, Peru, Asia and New Zealand. Service engineers must be able to intervene remotely at any time, access historical and real-time data and monitor notifications of important machine events.
With regard to their needs, AZ particularly appreciates the possibility of modifying the machine's operating parameters directly from the IXON Cloud platform by integrating a web page from the PLC into the dashboards. The company was able to realise its Industrial IoT portal thanks to the collaboration between its own team and the IXON team. Their portal is a complete, secure platform to support the company’s servitization business objectives with service packages focusing on condition monitoring and predictive maintenance. Additionally, AZ is already working on a larger project: new predictive maintenance packages with the application of additional sensors on critical machine components.
D'Andrea states: 'Thanks to technological know-how and a suitable IIoT solution, AZ is now a winning SME because it has a lot to offer: tailor-made machines, 100% Industry 4.0 enabled and with a reduced time to market.''
The IXON Cloud service portal allows industrial machine builders to customise it to their needs, integrate with third party tools, and offer customised maintenance contracts. For more guidance around service models, download IXON’s ebook: Service opportunities for OEMs that boost revenue and meet customer demands.