Smart devices, apps connect at NPE

April 29, 2015

NPE ushered in new industrial communication networks and apps designed to better integrate operations between devices in a work cell, bring critical but overlooked devices in a work cell under the umbrella of preventive maintenance, and add remote monitoring and control capability to plastics processing. Here are several developments that debuted at the show.

Engel Machinery Inc., York, Pa., unveiled its e-connect customer portal and app which makes it possible for users to send a service request to Engel directly from a smartphone from any location. The app, in German or English for iOS and Android, provides a complete overview of the plant floor at all times; the molding machines, robots and other system solutions have to be linked through a network.

Engel e-connect transmits a range of parameters to the mobile phone in real-time, including machine status, alarm lists, production volume and cycle times. In the case of unplanned machine downtime, corrective measures can be initiated through use of the app, without the personnel being physically present on site.

The e-connect portal also allows users to request quotations or order spare machine parts without having to know the exact designation of the spare part needed, at any time of the day.


Tracking the performance of often-overlooked mechanical equipment in a production cell, then evaluating the deviation of the device from its baseline performance minimizes catastrophic failures and maximizes preventive maintenance. Auxiliary equipment maker Novatec Inc., Baltimore, is the first to license a technology that tracks and interprets machine data to determine trends of a fatigued machine, predict its impending failure, and notify the processor through a mobile device or through the Internet (see PMM April 2015, page 35).

Prophecy Sensorlytics, a Columbia, Md., developer of mobile/web apps related to device and sensor system integration, created a system whereby a machine-mountable sensor transmits signals relating to the performance of a device in real-time to a proprietary data management and analysis network. Data is uploaded to a wireless sensor network. Novatec secured exclusive rights to the Prophecy system on drying, conveying and downstream extrusion systems.


Wittmann Battenfeld Inc., Torrington, Conn., unveiled Wittmann 4.0, its new industrial Ethernet network that connects a Wittmann Battenfeld injection machine with its robots and peripheral and auxiliary equipment. Wittmann 4.0 creates a standardized communication protocol between the Unilog B6 controller on its injection molding machine and its robots, temperature controllers, blenders, granulators, vacuum loaders, dryers and other auxiliary equipment.

Wittmann 4.0 shows the operation of each piece of peripheral equipment on the display of the B6 molding machine screen as well as on the peripheral equipment display. Settings for the peripheral equipment can be entered, adjusted and stored by the injection machine controller now as part of a complete work cell setup. The teaching programs of the robots can also be stored with the peripheral equipment settings, reducing the chance for incorrect adjustments and downtime each time a new setup is initiated.

Each piece of peripheral equipment connected to the B6 through Wittmann 4.0 shows the same visualization as it has on its own control, so current and future software versions will also display correctly through the industrial network. This eliminates the need for separate training when the software is upgraded.

At NPE, Wittmann created a fully functional Wittmann 4.0 display connecting a Wittmann R8.3 robot, Tempro Plus D temperature controller, a Flowcon Plus automatic flow controller and a Gravimax G14 blender demonstrating the exchange of settings viewed during a mold change.

Witmann also showed its WiBa QuickLook app that enables users to view the status of a molding machine or robot through a smartphone. The app is free for Apple phones from the iOS App store and for Android phones through Google Play.


The eDART System Manager 3.0 is a web-based system from RJG Inc., Traverse City, Mich., that allows users the opportunity to remotely analyze and manage injection molding plant-floor data. ESM 3.0 provides remote, real-time access to production data through mobile devices through an Internet connection. ESM 3.0 lets users adjust any injection molding machine that is equipped with eDART controls.

The views from ESM 3.0 are standardized across the network. Cavity-pressure set points, mold configurations and security protocols are viewable. The system can be used to access historical job data and to generate reports.

Mikell Knights, senior correspondent

[email protected]


Engel Machinery Inc., 717-764-6818, Inc., 410-789-4811, www.novatec.comRJG Inc., 231-947-3111, www.rjginc.comWittmann Battenfeld Inc., 860-496-9603,