TOMRA Sorting, a leading manufacturer of industrial sorting machines, is, undoubtedly, an early digital era adept. In a whole new world of Industrial IoT, it would be only a matter of time for TOMRA to meet Inimco, which is specialized in Industrial IoT on Microsoft Azure, and to couple its expertise with Inimco’s.
TOMRA’s optical sorting and grading solutions cover diverse industries, such as food, mining, and recycling, where accept or reject is the most obvious example of sorting, and therefore providing the client’s most valuable product data.
But, today’s sensors used in sorting technology do a lot more. They collect and process every single piece of information about how your machine is performing, the products passing through, and finally, the process itself. For example, the size, purity, and quality of the product that’s being sorted, whereas before a batch’s sample represented an estimation of quality, condition of the sorter’s parts, machine’s encountered issues, and its potential causes.
Moreover, an additional legacy issue with traditional sorting machines is the lack of connection to larger business systems. Having insight into an evenly distributed product over the sorters, comparing data automatically flowing into one comprehensive central system over time or different lines. A tightly secured platform that opens an information gateway for online machines. The solution stores and processes the data coming in and provides ready-to-use data to monitor and optimize operations, accessible through your standard web browser, designed for maximum flexibility. This was the catalyst for TOMRA Insight.
today’s collab, tomorrow’s facts
“What currently happens is, that our customers take a sample of 5 or 10 kilograms. They manually qualify and then apply that score to the whole container. Statistically, that is not reliable. So, what the sorter does, is processing the whole batch, and giving you statistics of how many defects of different types were identified. What we try to do with TOMRA Insight is: we convert the data into meaningful information so that the food processor understands in real time what is happening in their production plants and what they can do with that kind of information to improve the profitability, decrease their costs, etc.”
Jeffry Steemans – Global Product Manager Digital, TOMRA Food
TOMRA Insight, a powerful industry 4.0 cloud solution on the MS Azure Platform, arisen from a TOMRA Sorting and Inimco collaboration, is set to be the new cherry on the cake if we talk Industrial IoT. This collaboration took TOMRA’s cloud-connected machines to the next level by remotely delivering their customers highly valuable information through their generated data.
“In my opinion, Inimco goes the extra mile and that's why I say it's a partnership, not a supplier. The partner really thinks along with you and brings new ideas on board and really supports you in a particular journey.”
Felix Flemming – SVP, Head of Digital, TOMRA Sorting, TOMRA
The solution has several key features that help to improve data practices within businesses where the system, and the sorting machines, are set up. Firstly, because everything is cloud-based, remote access is simple, and users can access local site data from anywhere through a web-based interface either via desktop or mobile devices. Because TOMRA Insight is built on MS Azure, an established cloud platform, it integrates seamlessly with the rest of the MS tech stack and is a host of third-party technologies, and is regularly tested by a third party for security and privacy.
When it comes to gathering data insight, there are both dashboards as well as customizable reports available to different team members of the customer using the platform. This means that specific user groups receive the information they need to do their jobs, not information relating to other people’s roles. The dashboards and customized reports that make up part of the insight solution mean customer teams never spend time manually collecting data.
Today, TOMRA has connected more than 400 machines worldwide, and counting, to the centralized platform which is now available to customers across all supported industries mentioned. Customers using the machines now have direct feedback on what’s going through their machines. They discover issues the second they occur, ensuring maximum efficiency.
Less machine downtime is also a huge benefit. Whenever there is an issue on a sorting line, it often impacts other areas of the business as problems flow downstream. By knowing when a fault occurs, fixes can be put in place immediately which means TOMRA Insight reduces downtime and improves efficiency.
a journey into possibilities
TOMRA and Inimco consolidated their collaboration to ensure an infinite horizon of future possibilities. TOMRA Insight’s backend has been used to create a new platform for TOMRA internal use, the Digital Operations Center. This is the central system where TOMRA’s digital products and services are managed and monitored. TOMRA staff now experiences the impact of centralized efficiency in their workflows. Although one could think TOMRA Insight is the moment’s climax, it isn’t the final chapter. On the contrary, it stretches out a whole new layer of Azure portal services.
“The possibilities really are endless. We're just starting our journey in terms of automatization, infrastructure monitoring, and management. This new setup, thanks to Inimco, will bring TOMRA forward and in turn also brings our customers forward on how they use and interact with every piece of TOMRA equipment.”
Thorsten Hepp – Head of Digital Operations, TOMRA