How Digital Transformation is Impacting the Process Heating Industry

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Digital Transformation

Digitalization and Digital Transformation are no longer buzzwords. They’ve transitioned into reality and taken root in just about every industry. And why not. The benefits digital transformation provides are too compelling to ignore. It empowers employees—and businesses—to achieve more in a shorter timeframe and with fewer resources. But implementing digital transformation at a company is easier said than done.

Digital transformation requires a huge shift in a company’s thinking. Getting businesses and managers to do that is a challenge. No doubt about it. But the benefits are worth it. The integration of digital capabilities encourages and enhances production automation, reduces operations costs, increases production innovation, and boosts efficiency and productivity. Transformation also speeds new product launches and increases corporate profitability.

Digital transformation is part of the larger digitalization effort going on in manufacturing. That’s been happening for a while now. Manufacturers, in fact, are ahead of the curve when it comes to digital transformation with no signs of slowing down. Researchers expect the manufacturing market segment to grow to USD 767 billion by 2026 and work at a CAGR of 19.48% over the forecast period 2021-2026. Despatch is helping companies in the process heating industry make the transition.

What is Digital Transformation?

Digital transformation uses technology advancements, such as analytics, mobility, and smart embedded devices, to improve the power of traditional technologies like ERP software. The key to making digital transformation work in manufacturing is data. It provides insights into a company’s operations that improve decision-making, boosts collaboration with colleagues, and increase productivity, efficiency, and profitability. The secret to harnessing the power of data is software.

Data acquisition software, for example, beats other forms of recording, such as tape recorders and paper charts. Designed to boost accuracy, this software solution reduces data redundancy, eliminates updating errors, enhances data entry and storage, and lowers retrieval costs.  On the plus side, data acquisition software boosts data integrity, security, and access for users using host and query languages. More importantly, this software solution boosts productivity and efficiency in production applications.

Data acquisition software is well-suited for tracking and recording oven performance and temperature measurement in industrial ovens. This software makes it easy to set up a computer network to control, operate and monitor multiple ovens from a single computer. In some cases, those ovens can be located up thousands of feet away.

In addition, the software displays critical operating information and allows manufacturers to program time and temperature settings, including complex ramp and soak temperature profiles. Despatch offers the Protocol Manager™ for its customers. It’s a monitoring and data acquisition software solution for its customers.

Not All Data Acquisition Software is Equal

Data acquisition software is usually part of a data acquisition system, a collection of hardware and software solutions for tracking operations. Some key features to look for in a data acquisition solution for a process heating application include:

  • Quick and easy installation
  • Remote access, operation, and monitoring  
  • Programming of time and temperature settings, such as complex ramp and soak temperature profiles
  • Ability to records operating information including times, temperatures, setpoints, lot numbers, and operators at a centralized PC  
  • Password security
  • Download the same profile to multiple controllers
  • Upload a profile from a particular controller to the central PC for use in other controllers
  • Remote access, operation, and monitoring of one or more controllers
  • Centralized data logging from all controllers connected to the central PC
  • Up to 1000 meters from the host computer to the furthest distant oven.

Ideally, you want a software solution designed specifically for these types of process applications. But not every data acquisition software solution is equal, especially when it comes to process heating applications.

Helping Leverage Digital Transformation

Despatch’s Protocol Manager software is helping today’s manufacturers leverage digital transformation. It’s designed specifically for process heating applications. Protocol Manager enables communication and control between a personal computer and up to 32 Despatch ovens equipped with Protocol 3™ or Protocol Plus controllers.  This software solution doesn’t just help companies record information on existing applications. It also enables them to analyze and configure various aspects of computer networks. So, it’s also a network utility tool.

Protocol Manager allows tight oven control, recipe download, and data logging, Plus, it records operating information, including times, temperatures, setpoints, alarm conditions, operators, and lot numbers on the PC, ensuring process integrity throughout the equipment set. Data in Protocol Manager is written in an editable form that can be easily saved in an Excel format.  

Protocol Manager is just one way Despatch is helping manufacturers leverage the power of digital transformation. In-depth research shows that manufacturers are at varying stages of digital transformation and benefitting from its use. The research also shows that more and more managers are using digital technology to redefine their businesses. So, if it’s not occurring at your company, it should be. Chances are good it’s occurring at your competitors.

If you still have questions about how Protocol Manager can help your company, you can download our spec sheet on it. Or, you can call our skilled customer service team to assist you.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay