Upgrading to a Digital Line


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Ridhi Kantelal of Arch Systems breaks down what fabricators considering bringing in digitalization and upgrading their lines should know, and why they may see the most benefit from focusing on the data engineering aspect rather than the actual retrofitting of their systems.

Nolan Johnson: Ridhi, tell me what Arch System does, what your role is, etc.

Ridhi Kantelal: I am the business development and sales lead at Arch Systems. We use a combination of modular hardware and software to extract data from any kind of machine, including legacy and standardized data, and then build applications on top of it, such as global KPIs and predictive maintenance. We do this because of our modular approach. We have multiple ways of extracting data—everything from putting a sensor on the side and measuring the shots for something like a stamping machine to reading the ones and zeros, the protocols, and understanding everything this machine is doing. We do everything in between, which is not something that many companies can say, and we can do it in a cost-effective, scalable way.

Johnson: Arch has come to this market niche from a slightly different angle. There was a bit of a pivot there at some point.

Kantelal: Yes, it is very interesting. The company started as a project to monitor water wells in Tanzania. CTO and Co-founder Tim Burke worked as a field engineer for the Peace Corps in Panama for three years. While he was there, he realized the need for a good monitoring solution, but he also realized how a lot of times the technology of products were being developed to solve problems for a water system for a village. When they tried to expand within the village, it was super successful, but trying to expand to other villages didn’t work because each town has its own system. Some have hydroelectric, and others have solar power. You can’t use one solution that fits all; you need something that’s customizable to be able to do that.

When he started pursuing his Ph.D. in material science, he worked with a charity on the side to develop the hardware electronics and software to be able to do a modular, customizable, industry-grade IoT solution that would work in remote conditions and harsh environments with competitive pricing, which are all things that you find useful on the manufacturing floor.

To read this entire interview, which appeared in the December 2019 issue of SMT007 Magazine, click here.

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