The central theme of the Conair booth at the NPE plastics show is “Uptime Guaranteed.” This promise represents the start of a program aimed at assuring customers that Conair auxiliary equipment will rarely, if ever, be the cause of unintentional production stoppages. Conair is exhibiting in Booths W1845 and S14045 in the Orange County Convention Center, Orlando FL.
“We understand that lost productivity is lost profit,” explains Larry Doyle, President of Conair. “We take very seriously the fact that equipment we make could, potentially, bring a million-dollar molding cell or extrusion line to a halt. That’s why the reliability of our products and the support of our parts and service specialists have always been our top priority and why we have so many long-time, satisfied customers. Now, however, we intend to go even further and we have the Industry 4.0 tools to do it.”
Ultimately, Doyle says, Conair will be able to tell a customer exactly how close to 100% uptime they can expect from their equipment, based on their process parameters and other factors. “Then,” he continues, “we can guarantee that uptime percentage, whatever it may be, and if the equipment doesn’t meet those benchmarks, we will take ownership of the problem. We will fix or replace the equipment and work with our customer to make sure those uptime objectives are achieved. This is what we mean when we talk about Uptime Guaranteed.”
Conair’s Uptime Guaranteed initiative starts from an already lofty baseline. Conair equipment is engineered and built for rugged dependability and to keep maintenance requirements to minimum. When maintenance is required, as it is with any industrial system, the process is simplified by such innovations as no-tools access whenever possible and components shaped to allow installation only one way… correctly. When a spare part or service is required, processors can reach the best customer-care team in the business anytime, day or night, 365 days a year, just by calling the Instant Access Hotline. Response in less than 15 minutes is the norm, and roughly half the time, customers have their problem solved with just one call. Working from an inventory of more than 50,000 line items—more than 1.5 million parts in all – Conair specialists ship nearly 90 percent of parts orders within one business day and usually within 6 hours. Finally, if on-site assistance is ever needed, Conair also fields the largest corps of field service professionals – almost 40 strong — of any auxiliary equipment supplier.
“In other words,” Doyle continues, “everything we do is aimed at keeping you up and running. However, it becomes more obvious every day that maximum uptime can’t be achieved by responding to problems after they occur. The key to maximum uptime is preventing problems in the first place. And that’s why we are also announcing a multi-faceted, Cloud-based system called Conair SmartServices™, which will become the cornerstone of our Uptime Guaranteed program.”
Unlike some predictive systems that monitor only certain critical indicators on some types of equipment, SmartServices captures all of the data generated by controls on virtually all Conair equipment and many auxiliaries sold by other companies. A small module installed inside the equipment’s control panel wirelessly transmits all that process information to a database in the cloud where it is stored and analyzed by proprietary algorithms developed by Conair. Processors can access the information from their equipment using a simple web-based platform that allows them to organize data any way they want — by the type of equipment (dryers, blenders, etc.) by manufacturing cell, location in the plant, or whatever structure seems most appropriate. Companies with more than one location can look at all the equipment in all their plants, worldwide, from one location or many.
“There are a million ways our customers can use the information to operate more efficiently,” Doyle says, “but we intend the system to be used for much more. With the process data from individual customer locations, we will be able to track the performance of their equipment, recognize when something begins to suggest a problem could occur, react in near-real-time, and give the customer the information and support needed to prevent downtime before it occurs.”
Finally, by aggregating and analyzing data gathered from thousands of installed auxiliaries, operated in hundreds of plants, Conair will be able to identify best-practices and tell customers how their dryers, for instance, are performing relative to the average for that installed base. They can identify maintenance and operational practices that are effective in keeping equipment up and operating efficiently over time.
”That,” Doyle says, “is how we intend to guarantee our customers the maximum uptime possible.”