More than just smart: Zeppelin is setting trends in the digitalization of plants and components in the plastics industry

04.10.2016, Friedrichshafen

Zeppelin Systems is moving a step closer to plant component digitalization with its Smart Components App. For Dietmar Dieing, responsible for this new development at Zeppelin, "Digitalization and Industry 4.0 are hot discussion topics these days. What is mostly important for the customer is that he gets real added value from these concepts. Our new Smart Components App greatly facilitates the users' daily work."

The new app actively supports maintenance and service technicians by automatically identifying the components and providing specific information to mobile devices. "Very few users are able to say offhand when a rotary feeder was installed, let alone give details on performance data or previous maintenance work. Although there are identification plates, they don't necessarily provide all the required and accurate information and rough environmental conditions have probably made them illegible," Dieing explains. The Smart Components App, on the other hand, provides precise information on specifications, spare parts lists, commissioning instructions, operation, maintenance and service intervals. Furthermore, customers can chat in real time with an expert through this app. The chat service also enables the transfer of pictures and videos so that Zeppelin experts from around the world can provide the best assistance.

Using the app is a child's play: once the app is running on a smartphone, tablet or laptop, all Zeppelin components in proximity will appear on the display. Even in a large plant, the user can quickly locate the component in case location information has not been properly documented. The user is then guided intuitively through the menu. The biggest advantage over identification plates is that the information can not only be read, but it can also be edited and more can be added. "Digital checklists and maintenance protocols can be created using this app and maintenance dates can be scheduled. This enables transparent paperless documentation for the components' entire life-cycle," Dieing points out.

The app is not only usable for new products. As of the second quarter of 2017, all Zeppelin components will be equipped with this feature. Older components such as rotary feeders in difficult environments can also be retrofitted easily. Zeppelin customers will be able to enjoy all benefits of this application as it is free of charge, apart from service costs.

At this year's K trade fair, the plant engineering specialist from Friedrichshafen, Germany, will demonstrate how the app works and what the benefits for the users in the plastics industry are. The app, which will be presented in hall 9, booth B41 in D├╝sseldorf, is only the first step toward digitalization in the plastics industry. New ideas relating to Industry 4.0 will be introduced as early as 2017. "This includes the fully automatic integration in control systems," Dieing concludes.