The manufacturing industry is changing, and it’s changing fast. “The globe has shrunk—you have competition everywhere you look, domestic and abroad. There are many companies, old and young, that are being aggressive with technology, and if you want to keep up, you need a world-class team with world-class technology.”
That’s Karl Wadensten, CEO of VIBCO Vibrators, a Rhode Island-based manufacturing company specializing in industrial vibration products used in construction, manufacturing, and infrastructure. “If you don’t keep up with the times and utilize technology to the fullest extent possible in your operations, other companies are going to eat your lunch,” he explains.
Modern technology has revolutionized virtually every industry on the planet, manufacturing included, but the inherent complexity of most manufacturing operations can make it difficult to make big changes or implement new solutions. Altering factory processes can be costly, time-consuming, and risky if something goes wrong. As a result, some manufacturers are cautious about implementing new technology. Not VIBCO. Their competitive spirit and ongoing pursuit of improvement imbues everything they do, and recently, it’s been the driving force behind their Industry 4.0 Initiative. “Data is going to be absolutely critical to every manufacturing operation going forward—honestly, it’s critical today. It helps us better serve our customers, and it helps us run a more efficient operation,” notes Wadensten. “That’s what our Industry 4.0 Initiative is all about at VIBCO: finding new ways to collect as much data as possible from our operations, and then quickly turning that data into valuable insights.”
One of the most important sources of data for VIBCO has become IoT sensors spread out across their factory and equipment. These sensors feed real-time data about machine performance, efficiency, and critical machine data like vibration back to VIBCO so they can make informed decisions about how to improve their processes, maintain their machines, and reduce downtime. When the data started pouring in, VIBCO was ecstatic, but they quickly realized they were facing a problem: how do we make sense of this mountain of data?
VIBCO needed a solution that could leverage all of their disparate data as-is and apply AI modeling to identify anomalies and opportunities for improvement without the added time and expense of unifying it into one structure. Thankfully, their partner Praemo had the perfect solution to fit the bill: Praemo Razor™.
Turning data into insights with Praemo Razor
Working with IoT data can be challenging, but it doesn’t have to be. Praemo Razor is a prescriptive analytics engine hosted on Microsoft Azure that connects to a company’s IoT data and systems, utilizes the data as-is, where it is, and then applies AI and machine learning to identify healthy and unhealthy events, flag anomalies in real-time, and immediately alert an operator or machine to take action as needed. Essentially, Razor serves as an AI mentor to manufacturers, directing them to address important issues before they can manifest themselves as machine downtime, reduced quality, and hindered performance.
Praemo Razor comes with a multitude of benefits for users, but one of the most impressive is its ability to scale. Because it’s a cloud-based solution, it easily scales up or down with the needs of the customer. “Our engagements typically start with customers sending us a small portion of their historic data that we use to expose the insights they are missing,” explains Paul Boris, President and CRO at Praemo. “Once we run it through our analytics engine and send them back insights, they want to know how quickly they can deploy live. This is easy for us thanks to the scalability of Azure. With the cloud, there’s no limit on how much data we can analyze, and there’s no extra work required for our customers. That’s an incredible differentiator for us.”
But Praemo isn’t just using Microsoft Azure for its scalability; Razor also utilizes Azure Kubernetes Service to deploy its code, Azure Virtual Machines to run that code, Azure Active Directory to securely enable single sign-on and multi-factor authentication for employees, and Azure Blob Storage to securely store customer data. Praemo’s wide-ranging use of Azure services within Razor goes to show that when businesses build their solution on Azure, they get more than just a cloud—they get access to a variety of industry-leading services that can further enhance their solution.