Cleaning with Data


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During productronica, Tom Forsythe, vice president of KYZEN, spoke to Barry Matties about KYZEN’s new process control monitoring and data service. They discussed the drivers behind these developments, the company’s focus on managing data, and how KYZEN plans to support an industry embracing more cleaning and Industry 4.0.

Barry Matties: Tom, please tell me about this impressive new technology that you’re showing us.

Tom Forsythe: Absolutely. The beginning part, of course, is process control. We’ve been selling process control units for 20-something years. Over the last three or four years we’ve said, “All right, we’ve got these systems, and they’re super robust, very reliable, and very popular, but they’re boring. They’re kind of in the corner, they’re doing their thing, but they’re not really engaging the customer very much.”

We looked into it, and we realized that we were collecting, monitoring, and triggering off loads of data, some of which we saved and some of which we didn’t. We thought, “All right. Let’s review this data experience.” We can collect all this data. We figured out how to blow it up to the cloud in a very attractive, user-defined data visualization sort of mode, and then we started going through the ticks and tacks of it all. What are we actually checking? And, how do we collect this data?

There are either 40 or 50 different data streams, things like the amount of fluid that’s left in the drum, etc., so you don’t have to kick it to see if it’s empty. You can set parameters for any of these variables and get an email or a text alert to tell you that something has hit a warning zone or a stop zone. You don’t have to pay attention, and of course the data is delivered via the cloud, which makes it platform-agnostic; you can see it on your phone, your iPad, and your PC.

So, you have immediate access to that data for in-the-moment operational troubleshooting, or just process review. One of the other value-adders that we’ve gotten back from customers is, “Oh, this is tremendously helpful. That’s all great because we want our system to run well. But what’s even better is when they say, “I got a board back that we made six months ago, and I need to do this audit to prove to the customer that we didn’t do anything wrong. Now I’ve got this tremendous trove of cleaning data that says it is OK to move on to some other part of the process, or there is something wrong with the board.” We weren’t really thinking about that when we put it together; we were more in operational mode. But it’s there, and the software can show the time window and zoom in so you can root around anywhere in the data set for a look back later.

Matties: Is the data service a subscription program? How does that work?

Forsythe: Well, both. At this point, it is a subscription that is included in the package, but we do see this as a subscription having a life of its own down the road. And there are lots of possibilities which are going to be evolving over the course of the next year.

Matties: Let’s back up and just talk a little bit about KYZEN and what you do, and then we’ll connect the dots.

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