A Team dedicated to Machine Intelligence
To us, Machine Intelligence means more advanced and smarter fillers, able to learn, communicate, predict and guide
To us, Machine Intelligence means more advanced and smarter fillers, able to learn, communicate, predict and guide.
It means machines capable of reducing human intervention and at the same time improving the interaction between man and machine.
This may sound like science fiction, but Galdi has been following this path for years.
After developing several IoT projects, such as MaSH (Machine System Health) and TYE (Through Your Eyes), we decided to enhance our "innovation” factor by creating our own Automation Team, a new group dedicated to developing automations and to Machine Intelligence.
Created a year ago as a new in-house resource, the Team pools together key figures with different skills in the fields of electronics, mechatronics, electro-mechanics design and programming.
The group is made up of young colleagues and senior technicians, who know Galdi machines inside out thanks to their yearlong experience both "on site" and in the production process.
This range of complementary skills and experiences is essential to deliver solutions and innovation. The team supports the following departments in multiple work areas:
● Mechanical design
● On-site assistance to technicians and customers
● Spare parts - programming and testing
● Development Team - new products and solutions
● Upgrade Team - for existing machines
● Claim Resolution Team
The members of the Automation Team work on specific projects - following the Agile methodology - and participate in cross team meetings, where they provide technical insights and also share information and ideas with the rest of the group.
Since the focus of their work is often "pure" research, an efficient knowledge management, both within and outside the Team, was important from the very beginning.
Continuous training and actively exchanging views and opinions are two further factors contributing to the Team's, and Galdi's, growth.
Research, development and key projects
Our Automation Team is directly involved in several projects, such as the study and development of sensor devices and the design of new electric switchboards.The Team plays a crucial role in the following key areas:
HMI (Human Machine Interface)
The development of a Human Machine Interface is based on two basic principles: simplification and usefulness.
In our packaging machines, we added the following functionalities to the standard panels: the signals diagnostics page, providing direct access to the fillers' HMI, the EtherCAT and Profibus fieldbus diagnostics page and, finally, the advanced exchange signals diagnostics.
The goal is to provide operators and maintenance technicians with an increasingly intuitive and autonomous machine control, both in terms of efficiency and to prevent and troubleshoot malfunctions.
The work on the interface also aims at improving and speeding up installation and remote assistance.
On our new prototypes, we opted instead for new supervisors with vector graphics. This is in line with our forward looking approach, as the evolution of the IoT is increasingly linked to mobile solutions. In the near future the HMI panel could be replaced by devices like tablets and smart phones managing machines directly.
Furthermore, since the quantity of processed data is bound to increase over time, the new supervisor is more powerful, offers an advanced gesture recognition and increased capacity to generate report logs.
A further advancement is separate navigation for:
● operators – with wizards that provide useful information on necessary actions
● maintenance technicians – with detailed tabs to analyse alarms and for troubleshooting.
The next step will be the introduction of EDGE devices, which guarantee greater processing power and more functionalities than HMI panels.
Improving automations also depends on managing the information provided by the machine. The Automation Team strives to optimise sensor devices. The goal is to select the most relevant and useful data, in order to improve:
● information about the status/performance/use of single components
● anomaly prediction
In the meantime, we also continue to develop our HMI and MaSH, the advanced monitoring platform designed by Galdi for its filling machines.
The quality of upstream data, coupled with a system capable of translating them into useful information, is a key component of intelligent machines able to adapt, "respond" and simplify the work of operators and maintenance technicians.
Looking at the bigger picture, it allows to further improve the efficiency of packaging machines and to progress towards the finale objective: predictive maintenance.
We can disclose only a few details of a project our Automation Team is presently working on.
By fully leveraging the modularity of Galdi fillers, the goal is to install temporary systems so that customers can test new containers or products on machines that are already in use.
We'll take a deeper look into this topic in a forthcoming article.
With the Automation Team, Galdi can now rely on an additional resource, acting as a bridge between different work teams and departments.
The goal is to take full advantage of technological progress in order to improve productivity and reliability, but that's not all.
The real goal is to make machines less machine-like and solutions more human-oriented.