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New HMPSConnect solution to meet the need for IoT technologies

With a shift towards Industry 4.0 and the deployment of IoT-based technology by its customers and the broader industry alike, HMPS has introduced its HMPSConnect IoT solution. This solution was developed in 2017 and has since been piloted at a number of sites ahead of its official launch this year.

HMPS’ CEO, Shaun Westcott explains the shift to Industry 4.0 and the importance of having a clearly defined automation strategy. “While it’s not always formally captured or verbalised as an ‘automation strategy’ per se, there is most certainly heightened awareness and interest amongst our customers for IoT-based technologies.

“IoT is about connectivity, visibility, throughput and efficiencies but Industry 4.0 is ultimately about creating and managing demand across entire systems. The information and feedback received through the system will assist customers in better planning for future production.”

The food manufacturing environment, while expanding, has become more and more competitive with increased pressure on margins for Australian manufacturers, Shaun explains, “This inevitably drives manufacturers down the path of automation. A journey in which HMPS is optimally equipped to advise, guide and provide support on”.

What are some of the trends that have led us to where we are today? The expense of labour, a need for consistent quality and lowered operating costs, and a growing requirement for flexible manufacturing are just some of the contributing factors.

“Flexible manufacturing has always been a top priority to our clients. The Australian manufacturing climate is a unique one – one machine will pack five different objects into 10 different configurations and sizes with a short, automated changeover. This is what we specialise in,” said Westcott.

Steering away from human error, many manual operations are now automated with technicians and machinists working with technology to ensure increased accuracy and productivity.

“Today, even hybrid solutions which start with manual loading and partial automation further down the process provides significant yields and improvements. We are also seeing a move by smaller producers towards automation to ensure consistent quality, accuracy and speed,” said Westcott.

Significant investment into production machinery requires a large return and experiencing lowered operating costs is a must! “This is a big driver,” said Westcott. “Recent studies show food wastage from handling and processing losses, according to FAO figures, to be $2.8 billion per annum in Australia. The opportunity to reduce costs and achieve major savings is enormous.”

Introducing the rise of cobots as part of smart automation – a robot which collaborates with humans and is designed to operate autonomously. “This is a developing field and we are seeing a gradual uptake in cobots. There are still concerns about speeds and meeting the Australian Guarding Standards.  Here, it is all about finding the correct application”.

“The explosion in new smart technologies, platforms and devices have enabled HMPS to develop and integrate these technologies into cutting-edge offerings. These are designed to give our customers and clients a competitive advantage” Shaun explains.

HMPS’ IoT product, provides customers with a dashboard for ease of visibility, transparency and easy access to data – across their machines. Key operating parameters and performance monitoring are displayed to ensure that informed and insightful decisions and forward planning, can be easily implemented, in real-time.

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