GEFOND, an Italian company founded in 1994, has been able to qualify itself in the diecasting sector by representing leading suppliers in the market and distributing technologically advanced equipment to foundries working mainly for the automotive industry. GEFOND is the exclusive partner for the Italian market of WOLLIN, MORGAN, AED, FOUNDRY 4, GREEN BOX, MMP and KROWN, to mention a few.
To meet the needs of an increasingly competitive and constantly evolving market, it is necessary to come up with new ideas, with a business vision that looks far ahead.
GEFOND wants to be its customers' partner, to be proactive, and to give them the right tools to be, remain, or become the market's leading foundries. This has been its mission since the beginning.
But what could be offered besides the best technical equipment available in the market? What is missing? What could be improved? The answer came from the market: GEFOND listened to foundries and transformed words into concrete actions.
Clients need solutions, so distributors need to take care of customer’s equipment completely. The work isn’t finished once a machine is sold, rather it starts there. The aim is to accompany foundries in their daily production routines, ensuring that the highest productivity standards are achieved whilst cutting management costs. This is GEFOND’s mission for a long life industry.
But how can GEFOND keep this promise? They have developed a new service and technical assistance strategy which is declined in 4 actions:
- Augmented reality systems which allow maintenance staff in the foundry to receive immediate assistance reducing downtime machine.
- All-round consultancy on many components used in diecasting foundry cells.
- Training programme to ensure that systems are always kept in optimal condition.
- The software Perpetuo- the first predictive maintenace software custom tailored to foundries. Intuitive and asy to use, it was created in the foundry, for foundries. It is the only software which can talk to any machine or device in the high-pressure die-casting cell.
The European Union is investing 20 billion euro this year in Artificial Intelligence.
It has become a fundamental technology to help companies optimizing their production processes, reducing maintenance costs and increasing plants efficiency.
After doing some research, GEFOND understood that most of its clients request maintenance or emergency interventions once a fault has actually occurred. Customers get stressed because the machines are at a standstill and production has stopped, and because spare parts are needed and are not always in stock. The company realised that it is very difficult to optimise the work and be more efficient when things operate in this way.
With the advent of Industry 4.0, maintenance for production equipment is no longer limited to just replacing worn parts.
Instead, it has become part of the production strategy, alongside mathematical models that help maintenance staff adopt a new data-based approach. Industry 4.0 has prompted companies to buy machines that gather data, but the data is rarely checked, analysed and linked together. The transformation of data collection into useful actions, allows foundries to have a more stable production process, a reduction of the machines downtime and a quality improvement.
At first, Perpetuo was meant to be applied to the systems of companies already respresented by GEFOND. After completing a tour of its suppliers in Italy, in Germany and the UK, they were really interested and willing to place their technical knowledge at the disposal of the project. The idea was then resented to customers and GEFOND concluded that foundries needed a solution for the entire die casting cell, and not just for selected peripherals.
For GEFOND, this represented and still represents a huge work and a big challenge in terms of investing time, energy, human and economic resources. These are sizeable investments for a company of its size to shoulder, so they were faced with a choice. Either they could abandon the dream, or they could bravely place their bets on the project and invest in it. From that moment onwards, the idea acquired a new breath of life: it was decided to have an open system that could read any diecasting machine and device with full collaboration from different manufacturers such as MAICO, ABB, WOLLIN and TECNOPRES, to name a few. Machine manufacturers are welcome to join the project, because this will allow them to get useful information on the functioning of their machines. They will also see Perpetuo as an added value, a special option for predictive maintenance to be associated to their systems.
To be fast and develop reliable, Machine Learning algorithms for predictive maintenance were needed. The right partner for this was found in Claudio Vivante and his company, Tools for Smart Minds.
GEFOND's also created a completely new business model for its sector. Perpetuo is not sold, rather the customer pays a small monthly fee for the user license of the software and the data storage in the Microsoft Azure Cloud. In this way, foundries don’t have to invest in expensive systems to store and protect their data.
Every client has its own weaknesses and needs
For this reason, GEFOND talks to maintenance technicians, IT departments, owners and purchasing offices. Each of these players has a different role to perform, and different needs. Those needs are noted and collected, processed and then used to create solutions that GEFOND builds together with its customers.
Perpetuo is the solution that transforms a wealth of experience in equipment maintenance into a software platform that constantly monitors machines and their trends, using Machine Learning algorithms to keep one step ahead of any anomalies.
The sensors, which are often already present in die-casting cells, help understand the condition of the various components in real time. This makes it possible to arrange any measures and organise maintenance before the fault occurs. Analysing data collected in real time is of strategic importance when it comes to identifying undesirable performance in mechanical, electrical, hydraulic and pneumatic parts subject to wear or faults. The system, which meets with IATF certification requirements, works alongside production without altering the existing organisation in any way. As a result, schedules and maintenance costs are optimised.
The result is a modular, flexible solution which can be customised, allowing preventive maintenance to be managed whilst implementing predictive maintenance. Perpetuo is easy to integrate with any other management, production or maintenance software on the market.
Perpetuo is an essential tool for helping foundries not only with day-to-day maintenance, but also with their strategic development vision.
GEFOND strongly believes in the need of a cultural industrial change in the HPDC sector. Along the way, they hope to meet visionary entrepreneurs, machine manufacturers and foundries, who want to continue this journey together.
To learn more, please visit: http://www.gefond.it/en/perpetuo/