What does your specific role within Gardner Denver entail?
My name is Preston Swift and I am the Connected Customer/iConn Product Manager for Gardner Denver’s Americas Industrials group. My responsibilities include user training, product development, and commercialization efforts of the Connected Customer Platform. Connected Customer is a tool Gardner Denver distributors and end users use to help better manage their compressor install base and iConn-connected devices, coordinate and schedule service, and manage warranty compliance. In short, iConn and Connected Customer are changing the way distributors and end users manage their compressor install base.
According to your experience, what are currently the biggest challenges for Industry 4.0? How can these challenges be addressed?
IoT Data Analytics is very valuable, but without proper “interpretation” and “action” this data might as well be worthless. Industry 4.0 platforms such as iConn offer insight into machine efficiencies, usage, issues, and service requirements. Reviewing the data requires new skill sets and roles we did not previously see in most industrial companies. We are seeing many compressor service businesses change the way they are operating by adding these new skill sets and roles to their organizations. Companies utilizing Industry 4.0 data analytics are taking proactive measures and actions to better manage compressed air as a service, and troubleshoot issues remotely with data intelligence.
Another issue is that immense amounts of data can be collected from a single iConn-connected device, which can be overwhelming for most service organizations and customers. Some of the biggest challenges Industry 4.0 faces today are identifying and communicating what data is actually valuable and important to end users. Data simplification through advanced analytics is key.
Gardner Denver is currently working on a variety of products that will address data overload and help simplify data for the end user. These new products will add extreme value to the machine end user by only notifying them if a compressor has issues or when it is due for service.
What trends do you expect to drive Industry 4.0 solutions in the nearest future, and what are Gardner Denver’s plans and ambitions in this area?
We are already starting to see compressor businesses change their operating model to a “Connected Service” model. By connecting the compressors they are already servicing to an IoT Data Analytics platform, such as iConn, businesses can eliminate the guessing of when a compressor might need service or when it might be having issues. This can dramatically reduce unplanned production losses for the end customer and help better coordinate planned service visits.
Energy consumption and machine efficiencies are another major driving factor for Industry 4.0. Gardner Denver is currently working on expanding its iConn offerings. In the near future, iConn will offer more downstream product connectivity features to help monitor and manage full end-to-end air systems.
What would be your recommendation for Industry 4.0 users who look to develop and improve their business?
I would highly suggest end users or compressor service organizations look at the cutting-edge IoT solutions available on the market today, including Gardner Denver’s current iConn offerings.
iConn provides customers with text or email notifications about machine faults and alarms, as well as service due warnings. Compressor service groups can view and manage all iConn-connected devices from the Connected Customer community portal. These features can help dramatically reduce compressor production loss and unscheduled downtime, ultimately improving customers’ bottom line.