KraussMaffei highlights smart manufacturing technologies  

May 20, 2024
Components of its platform include process and machine monitoring, energy optimization and troubleshooting using augmented reality.

By Bruce Geiselman 

KraussMaffei, based in Germany, is one of the leaders among plastics processing equipment manufacturers in developing smart technologies, or what it calls digital products. 

It has offered production monitoring technologies for years and continues to roll out new products, including recently introduced components to optimize injection molding machine energy consumption and help even novice operators run injection molding machines like professionals. The new products are described in detail later in this story. 

KraussMaffei highlighted its digital technologies, including the use of sensors and production monitoring software, during NPE. Injection molding machines (IMMs) at its booth were connected to its socialProduction platform via the KraussMaffei smartCube, a computer system that collects data from KraussMaffei machines.  

“SocialProduction falls under the category of production monitoring, where customers can collect data from their KM machines and visualize it, and they can do some data analysis,” Ranjith Pola, director of digital solutions and controls at KraussMaffei USA, said prior to NPE. “This is a cloud-based application. All the data is collected from the machine and saved on the Amazon Web Services cloud securely. That's how customers can access their machines’ information anywhere, even on a mobile phone from home, and look at what their machines are doing.” 

SocialProduction sends users messages independently to report events and problems that have occurred. The software also allows users to communicate with each other about these issues with texts and images. It enables monitoring of IMMs, production processes and the condition of machine components. 

For example, productionMonitor, one of the socialProduction components, generates an overview of the machinery that can be viewed on monitors in a plant or remotely on a PC, tablet or smartphone. It helps users efficiently monitor the performance of each connected machine.  

With processSupport, another socialProduction component, artificial intelligence helps identify deviations in production processes and communicates those deviations to users. KraussMaffei has developed its own complex algorithm for identifying such deviations, according to the company. The early detection of deviations and proactive communication to the operator increases efficiency. 

The liveCare condition monitoring component offers continuous online monitoring of the condition of machine components. This allows users to implement condition-based and proactive maintenance strategies without the need for additional sensors. For example, the software can keep track of wear on an IMM screw or the distance a clamping unit has moved since its last service. 

The socialProduction components are available individually or as a package to KraussMaffei IMM users. 

Another digital offering from KraussMaffei is remoteAccess, which allows a KraussMaffei service technician to provide comprehensive remote support through secure cloud-based access via the control system. He or she can analyze and quickly resolve software, hardware or process problems, according to the company. 

SmartAssist establishes secure audio and video communications between a plastics processor’s technicians working on a machine and KraussMaffei experts who can assist in diagnosing and correcting any problems or malfunctions. With augmented reality, text and symbols can be superimposed onto pictures of actual objects in the plant to facilitate troubleshooting, according to the company. The smartAssist software can run on either a user’s smartphone or with a set of smart glasses from a variety of manufacturers including Microsoft. 

“During COVID, we used it a lot,” Pola said. 

“One new amazing product that we are going to present at NPE is smartOperation,” Pola said. “This is the tool for helping non-skilled operators start and stop the machine in a pre-programmed way. It makes the operation of our complex machines as easy as operating a coffee machine.” 

SmartOperation offers intelligent digital support for the operator during production with simple instructions, even for complex processes, Pola said. 

A KraussMaffei video on smartOperation says that once a process is set up by an expert, anyone can start the machine by pressing one button on the control screen. SmartOperation then tells the operator what to do next during every step of the operation. It guides the machine operator through the entire production process in a clear and structured manner by means of simple instructions. No prior knowledge of injection molding is necessary, according to the company. 

SocialProduction and smartOperation are available for KraussMaffei IMMs. RemoteAccess and smartAssist are also available for IMMs, as well as reaction process machinery (RPM) and extrusion machines. 


KraussMaffei Corp., Florence, Ky., 859-283-0200, 

About the Author

Bruce Geiselman | Senior Staff Reporter

Senior Staff Reporter Bruce Geiselman covers extrusion, blow molding, additive manufacturing, automation and end markets including automotive and packaging. He also writes features, including In Other Words and Problem Solved, for Plastics Machinery & Manufacturing, Plastics Recycling and The Journal of Blow Molding. He has extensive experience in daily and magazine journalism.