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GEA Brings New Opportunities with Digital Solutions

At this year’s IFFA in Frankfurt (Germany), GEA is presenting its new digital solutions. According to a press release, these digital tools will be on display at GEA’s booth on a 24-meter-long production line for sliced meat including new packaging technology. Highlights include a user-oriented control interface for lines (GEA SmartControl HMI), a tool for remote monitoring of machine condition (GEA PerfomancePlus) and a digital line control platform (GEA LineControl), which automatizes production processes.

Through the steady expansion and ongoing development of modular, digital tools, the internationally operating company accompanies customers on the path to digital transformation. GEA’s digital products and services are designed to increase the availability of its machines and units and, in turn, the productivity of its customers. This creates large-scale efficiency and thus competitive advantages for food processing companies.

GEA SmartControl HMI (Human-Machine Interface) is a newly developed user interface for food processing and packaging units. GEA’s user-centric development approach keeps the focus on the individually operating users of the production facilities. This included mapping the needs of the individual user groups and taking them into account accordingly.

Its smart functions for line integration offer immediate added value for line applications, so they can be used immediately and without further configuration. GEA SmartControl HMI enables more than just integration with GEA equipment – it also provides access to third-party user interfaces. The new GEA SmartControl HMI platform delivers unprecedented levels of transparency over current and historical process data and events. The highly modular and hygienic hardware design of the multi-touch display allows for ergonomic operation that meets even the most complex user requirements.

GEA PerformancePlus offers customers service packages that deliver so much more than classic remedial maintenance and are an ideal complement to an Industry 4.0 strategy. It covers the issues of condition monitoring and predictive maintenance. Customers can choose from a range of services tailored to their needs. For example, based on data from online condition monitoring and expert knowledge, critical assemblies are monitored and they can be replaced before a fault occurs. Error messages are recorded on the units, analyzed and prioritized and sent to the customer in a report. Unit process parameters can be made directly available to the customer’s control systems.

This gives customers valuable information for decisions on how to use their units more cost-effectively – even if unforeseen circumstances arise. The concept creates transparency about the actual condition of the units, identifies potential for increasing availability, as well as boosting productivity and reducing losses, all of which increase profitability. This efficiency optimization facilitates the sustainable management of the respective packaging line.

This control system seamlessly monitors the performance and condition of the production line in general and each individual machine in the line network in detail in real time. In the work with customers, GEA emphasized easy operation of the control system, which automates processes and procedures for the entire line. This increases safety while reducing downtime, rework, and wasted energy and resources. All of this ultimately allows food manufacturers to operate more efficiently and deliver higher quality products. This digital solution alerts users when the line needs maintenance, service or repair, and uses data to inform them how to extend the equipment’s life and increase productivity.

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