Picture yourself as the head of a department in a textile company’s headquarters. Sitting in your office in Milan, you are responsible for monitoring the numerous factories that your group owns throughout not only Italy, but also India and China. The company has, in fact, grown so much in the last few years, starting from a small establishment in the province of Livorno, that it seems almost crazy how many things have happened and how much success your clothes are enjoying around the globe. You have been responsible for the machineries well-being since the very start and surely, your work now is very different from what it used to be.
In the old days when a problem occurred you could not really expect or foresee it. A machine breakdown and the yells of the workers were the signals that something was not actually working as it should. Now, the situation has changed dramatically. Certainly, going from a few looms in an empty room, to ten facilities spread across the world has its benefits, but now it is incredibly difficult to manage the full range of textile machinery and fix every issue daily. Years of experience mean that you are very sensible to forecasting problems as well; you have a certain “way” of knowing when something is up, when a machine is just on the verge of failing, just by looking at it.
But how can you actually control every single machine, in all of your locations near and far? How can you “feel” the equipment and check for trouble brewing in every factory?
Well now, thanks to Camozzi, Microsoft and a certain technology called the Internet of Things (IoT), this is now possible.
The world of Industry 4.0 is upon us and Microsoft has partnered with Marzoli, a subsidiary of Camozzi, the Italian-based global leader in the field of textile machinery and components for short-staple fiber processing. Together Camozzi and Microsoft are embracing IoT, remote control and predictive maintenance for industrial applications.
“Over the coming years it will be increasingly important to have interconnected intelligent components and the chance to obtain an infinite amount of data available will allow us to best manage the various production phases and monitor all of the main parameters at all times and in all places with the use of mobile devices. For this reason, we have created our solutions with IoT in mind.” – Lodovico Camozzi, President and CEO of the Camozzi Group
During the ITMA 2015 – the world’s largest textile and garment machinery exhibition – held in Milan – Microsoft and Marzoli presented the first innovative solutions originating from this new partnership. Exhibited at the show were applications relating to MRM-Marzoli Remote Maintenance, installed in pilot systems active in both Italy and Turkey, in which “intelligent” components are integrated, transmit data and useful information on the network to increase the efficiency of systems and carry out predictive maintenance, to avoid machine breakdowns.
The MRM is a solution that gathers and analyzes the machinery’s efficiency, alerting the preservation technician whenever a factor edges outside of the operative standards, therefore permitting 24/7 predictive maintenance. The MRM system also allows machinery-holders to optimize the regular conservation cycles, prolonging the life of components and machineries while keeping maintenance costs low.
IoT not only integrates very valuable input of experts and workers when it comes to potential malfunctions, it also opens up a number of new possibilities and takes predictive maintenance further, doing previously unthinkable things, for both single and multi-facilities companies. The new solution, developed by the Camozzi Digital division, represents an important step towards a wider digitalisation process that sees the company among the first to harness the opportunities that IoT offers.
“Our group has many souls and in 2012 we created Camozzi Digital to develop new-generation products”, explained Lodovico Camozzi, President and CEO of the Camozzi Group. “A company where we integrate all of our skills in R&D, electronics, digital and cutting-edge design and testing, obtained in more than 150 years of expert craftsmanship. Over the coming years it will be increasingly important to have interconnected intelligent components and the chance to obtain an infinite amount of data available will allow us to best manage the various production phases and monitor all of the main parameters at all times and in all places with the use of mobile devices. For this reason, we have created our solutions with IoT in mind: on one hand, the aforementioned MRM, for the management of predictive maintenance and remote monitoring, and on the other, Yarnet – Marzoli Production Management, a management system that allows the optimisation of textile production timeframes and flows. Some parts of the system are already patented while others are awaiting a patent. In order for our solutions to work in the cloud, we have identified the Azure platform and Microsoft Cortana Analytics suite as the best technologies and we are grateful to Microsoft Italia for having believed in our technology that positions us among the industry leaders.”
Thanks to processors and sensors installed inside the equipment, data is constantly sent from all the machineries in all the factories to the company’s headquarters. This translates to cost savings and avoidance of unexpected failures. The data – “Big Data” – gathered by Camozzi is then analyzed by the company’s algorithms and translated into actual information, accessible from every device and everywhere, by Microsoft’s cloud-based Cortana Analytics. Therefore, anybody anywhere can access – via tools such as Power BI – the real time tracking of every single piece of machinery in every single location of the company.
Carlo Purassanta, GM of Microsoft Italy: “It is fantastic to see how a partner using our technology can harness it to reinvent itself and remain at the top of their field of activity on the international landscape”
Industry 4.0 can revolutionize the way business is done, especially on an international scale. The Marzoli example is extraordinary and can pave the way for a lot more companies in different sectors to follow suit and implement this solution in their network.