Powder processing machine builder makes use of the cloud

Powder and small particles
Powder and small particles: Needed by many pharmaceutical, chemical, mineral, and food manufacturers who often count on Hosokawa Micron Ltd. (HML) as an established manufacturer of machines for these industries

With a legacy stretching back over 100 years, Hosokawa Micron Ltd (HML) is a grande dame among providers of machines and systems for powder and particle processing. However, the company is anything but old-fashioned. A case in point is its digitally smart offering based on MindSphere, the leading industrial IoT as a service solution as part of the Xcelerator portfolio.

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Vitamins and other pharmaceuticals, laundry detergent, metal 3D printing, a cake: at first glance, these things may not seem to have much in common. But they do, because they each rely on powder in one form or another. Pharmaceutical, chemical, mineral, and food industries need powder processing equipment for their respective businesses. And for over 100 years, they have come to count on Hosokawa Micron Ltd. (HML). The company enjoys a competitive advantage in the marketplace as a manufacturer of machines for these industries.

Not willing to rest on its laurels, HML’s management was inspired by a vision to go a step further and stay ahead of the game. Therefore, they took the decision to make deeper inroads in the fourth industrial revolution to keep up with big data and analytics demands. The challenge was to find solutions in manufacturing that were new and digitally smart, and that would add great value for customers. They needed a partner who could help them achieve their new goal. 

Cloud to connect the entire environment

For HML’s digitalization efforts, Siemens engineers had an answer with MindSphere as part of the Xcelerator portfolio, the company’s open, cloud-based Internet of Things (IoT) operating system. MindSphere connects the entire environment of products, plants, systems, and machines, enabling a wealth of data to be harnessed with advanced analytics. In addition, it gives access to a growing number of apps and a dynamic development ecosystem.

By using it, manufacturers get access to maximum data extraction and powerful data analysis and visualization. The result: new insights into making changes with real productivity impact. HML set the following key performance indicators to maximize data analysis: quality, energy usage, environmental conditions (internal and external), process parameters and the factors affecting them. 

Higher uptime, lower energy consumption, increased capacity

Thanks to MindSphere, HML’s customers enjoy about 15 percent improvement in uptime. In addition, they have been able to slash energy usage by more than 10 percent and increase capacity by between 10 percent and 12 percent. The company is convinced, the machines they deliver to their customers today are of higher digital value, primed for better productivity.

MindSphere operates on three levels to understand the data, monitor it, and control it. The methodology of data acquisition and the manner of using it have changed and become more refined, allowing better production output decisions, HML is convinced.

When the customer and its customers are satisfied, so are the people at Siemens. Ian Elsby, Head of Chemicals UK & Ireland, says, “Our partnership with Hosokawa has always produced tremendous results, and this is purely because we share best practice and learn from each other. We are constantly looking for new solutions to create a better and digitally superior product for their customers.”

March 2021

HML was also drawn to MindSphere for its high degree of resilience against cyberattacks. Siemens has adopted the highest cybersecurity standards for its products and services, such as those set down in the international IEC 62443 standard. For industry as a whole, the company initiated in 2018 the Charter of Trust, whose members today include companies from a large range of sectors.