Internet of Things

Three birds, one (digital) stone

A digital transformation enables Pressequip to support public health efforts while ensuring jobs and revenue

Necessity is the mother of invention, as the saying goes. This has certainly proven to be true for manufacturers large and small who have needed not only to adapt to new ways of working but also, at times, to rethink their strategies and re-examine their operations after watching the pandemic impact their businesses. The health crisis has highlighted the need for more innovation, automation, and agility in order for companies to weather this difficult period, so many are finding that this is an ideal time to accelerate their digital transformation.

digital transformation

(Photo: Grand Besançon Métropole)

A case in point

In the little village of Dannemarie-sur-Crète in the Bourgogne-Franche-Comté region of eastern France, a company called Pressequip specializes in turnkey pressing and cutting machines – from design to maintenance – that are used in the aeronautics, watchmaking, eyewear, automotive, and general industry sectors. Though small in size – with a workforce of just 30 – Pressequip supplies machines to some very large customers, including Fauracia, Doerfer, Velux, and Swatch. When the pandemic hit, however, its contracts were put on hold seemingly overnight. With both its business and its people to protect, the company needed to pivot – and quickly.

Le pivot

Leveraging its staff’s deep experience and expertise in automation, robotization and electrical wiring, Pressequip explored the possibility of designing and building machines to manufacture 3-ply face masks onsite that could support the efforts to protect the public during the health crisis. It had been working closely with Schneider Electric for over 15 years so Pressequip turned to its long-time partner to help it digitize its new production lines using the latest technologies.

digital transformation

(Photo: Grand Besançon Métropole)

Schneider implemented a quick and efficient EcoStruxure Machine solution to fast-track production using the innovative Modicon M262 IIoT-ready logic and motion controller paired with EcoStruxure Machine Advisor. The M262 was designed and delivered with direct cloud connectivity to the EcoStruxure Machine Advisor platform, allowing them to visualize the processes in a cybersecure IT infrastructure. The EcoStruxure Machine Advisor cloud computing solution was quick and easy to implement because it was pre-programmed and ready to be configured. This has enabled Pressequip to optimize the uptime of its machines, through remote performance monitoring and troubleshooting, and maximize its profitability.

“Machines must be able to adapt to the challenges of the new industrial era: modularity, flexibility and communication,” explains Cyril Bourret, OEM Sales Engineer at Schneider Electric. “The Modicon M262 PLC communicates the data to the cloud so it can be easily exploited via the EcoStruxure Machine Advisor application. In particular, this facilitates new ways of measuring machine performance: monitoring the rhythm of the machine, the synthetic rate of return. On the customer side, thanks to the ability to track batch numbers, the product will be fully traceable. For the manufacturer, it gains the confidence of production continuity through access to new data that allows predictive maintenance.”

Business success through digitization

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(Photo: Grand Besançon Métropole)

By re-evaluating their purpose and innovating with an EcoStruxure Machine solution, Pressequip has opened up a number of new business opportunities that are enabling the company to continue to thrive. To date, it has already completed nine mask production lines: five for blue 3-ply masks, two for black surgical-grade 3-ply masks, and two lines for FFP2 masks.

It has sold four lines and kept the remaining five to produce the face masks onsite, both for its partner AFD Manufacture as well as for itself, having now been accredited to market masks under its own name. Pressequip has also duplicated the Machine Advisor solution in the existing systems at four of its customers to add production monitoring capabilities.

“Since 2001, we have made continuous investments in high-performance equipment and we train our employees, which allows us to strengthen our skills year after year, to follow the developments of our customers and even anticipate their needs,” notes Cyrille Berthier, Director of Pressequip. “We are among the first in France to connect the M262 controller to machines, which has enabled us to get up to speed with the IoT. Thanks to this investment, our 3-ply mask production machines will be connected and we will be able to view their performance live, via the cloud.”

By implementing the cybersecure, modular, and flexible EcoStruxure Machine solution, Pressequip has realized a number of critical benefits, including:

  • 20% increase in production profitability
  • Optimized commissioning time to start up production quickly
  • Full traceability for consumer confidence
  • Predictive maintenance that ensures production continuity

But most importantly, it has been able to continue doing what it does best – building connected, efficient machines that meet the needs of its customers and community.

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