You’ve only just left the house and everything starts going wrong: we’re all familiar with this particular form of Murphy’s Law. But even if things don’t end in a catastrophe, it’s still good for company owners or production managers to know that when they’re off on business or on their well-earned vacation they can still keep abreast of how their plant equipment is functioning or if there are any disruptions.
With the practical KHS everywhere smartphone app KHS is again taking on a pioneering role in the beverage industry. This mini program sends users important data on the KHS filling and packaging technology at their own plant in real time anytime, anywhere – as the name suggests – whether they’re breakfasting in the Caribbean or busy in a meeting in their company conference suite.
- The current status of the complete line appears when the screen is touched. The various areas are outlined in color: a green outline means that everything’s okay; yellow indicates a warning – maybe consumables are running out – blue symbolizes the need for immediate action and red is the highest alarm level.
- At the next level users can study the individual reports in detail, analyze these and initiate suitable employee action back at the plant.
- The app also provides valuable information on counter readings and process parameters, such as temperature or pressures, in real time.
The app provides clear, graphic information on complete lines or individual machines and is intuitive in its use. The user interface color scheme – chiefly gray and white – is based on the KHS ClearLine design. “This creates a sense of value and visually underlines KHS’ innovative machine design,” says Karsten Vollmer, head of Product Management at KHS. The KHS everywhere app has been primarily designed for managers of bottling plants yet shift supervisors and operators are also showing an interest.
ompanies can control and limit data access for specific users and selectively activate individual areas for certain employees. Access is through a login, secured by user name and password. The company must have a suitable server installed and the connected KHS lines and machines must be equipped with a KHS Human Machine Interface or HMI (version 4.0 or higher) in the ClearLine design. With its clear structures and uniform design, the KHS HMI makes operation on site much simpler. KHS has now transferred the user-friendly concept with its easy-to-understand displays, clear graphics, and intuitive functions to its new app (See ’KHS everywhere is easy’).
All the user has to do is download the necessary software onto his or her mobile device – as with any other app – and install it only once. To be able to use the app the mobile device must have a current IOS operating system and a secure Internet connection to the relevant company network, as of course all information also has to be protected against external access. This security is provided by self-contained computer networks – what are known as virtual private networks or VPNs – or secure wireless networks.
And what concrete benefits does KHS everywhere give companies? “Being able to view the state of your lines and machines whatever the time of day and wherever you are in the world not only provides peace of mind but also helps to save time,“ asserts Karsten Vollmer. Phone calls are no longer necessary – and especially not in meetings where they not only take up precious time but are also considered impolite. The app allows users to view complete lines and also individual machines if required. It also permits companies to make a clear comparison between the lines at their various sites.
Developers keep the app up to date
All of the above options are just a start, for like most apps KHS everywhere is not immune to change. The designers of the app at KHS are constantly learning from user behavior and can therefore further develop and update the app accordingly – taking customer requests into account and picking up on concrete feedback from users. Reminder functions for planned measures (such as maintenance or refilling) would be feasible, for instance, or alarms for specified critical situations. Incidentally, the app is updated and updates are installed automatically on your smartphone if the relevant settings have been made.
The only thing the app can’t do – for reasons of safety – is operate machines by remote control.
To sum it up: with the new app KHS is again underlining its quest for leadership in the development and implementation of state-of-the-art technical equipment for the benefit of the customer. Clients can now not just read the weather forecast, catch up on world news and access their emails on their current mobile devices but also monitor their own plant engineering. There are obviously a few loopholes in Murphy’s Law ...