A paint shop usually needs some support when it comes to its daily operations. In many cases, support is linked to some machine operations – basic maintenance, machine errors, computer-related issues, software, or it has something to do with other devices used such as shakers, printers, barcode readers, etc. Very often the need for support is connected to false or incomplete formulas, colorant related issues, warehouse management (missing colorants on one hand or unnecessarily big stocks on the other), and many more.
Nowadays a supplier for such equipment is very often a color producer. It is, therefore, his responsibility to ensure also quality support either directly by himself or through some third party. And in this area, there has been a major development lately.
From reactive to a proactive approach
Today’s standard is the so-called reactive approach – first action (demand for any support) has to be initialized by a machine operator than a corresponding reaction is carried out by a responsible service team. A standard tool used to demand such support is usually a phone call, e-mail or even a fax message. Therefore there is a very small chance for the service team to find out about minor issues as these unexceptional minor issues are often not reported at all. It could often be just some minor problems or human mistakes, which could easily be fixed by e.g. a procedure improvement or better training. But a great deal of such minor issues can, in extreme cases, escalate to machine damage.
The second approach is the so-called proactive approach – a service team is automatically informed about any machine error immediately at the moment when it occurs.
There are tools for such support on the market already. Machines could be easily connected to one network and could share real-time information about all operations, errors or maintenance steps that have been taken.
The result seems in both cases to be the same, fatal errors are being fixed. But the proactive approach has a very significant impact on the paint shop too as all issues seem to be “solved by itself” and the costs are lower as many errors are avoided by preventive actions.
Notify – Check – Solve
The key feature to the proactive approach is a complex notification system which automatically notifies responsible people about any errors, unexpected machine reactions, or inadequate use of such machine.
The next step is the ability to check in detail all information about the machine, find out possible reasons for the error and set the next steps to solve and fix it. To be able to undergo the process we can use e.g. a timeline which shows us chronologically all operations related to the machine, detailed long-term statistic data, remote connection to the machine, etc.
Most of the errors which nowadays occur on a tinting machine can also be solved remotely, of course except hardware problems on the machine itself.
Proactive approach as a next step
What comes next? Today’s tools make it possible to monitor long-term behaviors of the machines, enabling us to take the first steps to a preventive approach. Some problems can be predicted based on the average lifetime of the spare parts, others e.g. on specific colorants characteristics.
But this is a nice topic for another blog post.