Aqua dynamics

Monitoring machine utilization

Aqua Dynamics manufactures kites and sails in Sri Lanka and operates a fleet of cutting and sewing machines in order to reach their production volume. Initially, the goal of the Inamata deployment was to monitor the utilization of these machines.

To quickly deploy a production ready solution, off-the-shelf smart plugs were used. Their firmware was replaced by the Inamata mainline firmware. The flexible nature of the firmware allows it to be customized during run-time to control the plug’s power state and indicator LED, handle the power button as well as reading the power data flowing through the plug. This allows future functionality to easily be deployed with firmware updates without requiring a dedicated firmware variant. One aspect where firmware updates are critical is to deliver security updates as well as updating SSL/TLS certificates before they expire.
„System is running really well with pilot machines. First it is stable. No down time due to any issue like network/internet/program related things. This impressed me a lot with such device.

Also report/dash board are working will in real time which help to get good idea about machine utilization. Knowing that dashboards can modify to get any needed information I see this is a good start of a full production monitoring system.“
Chandima Karunarathne
Production Manager Research & Development-Windsurf Sail Department | Aqua Dynamics

The collected data corroborated their previously manually recorded data. The dashboards showed the utilization of the individual machines during the working day as well as the fleet’s average. This was displayed as a single percentage number for the previous day as well as a graph, allowing trends to be discovered.

After a few weeks of deployment, brainstorming for additional use of the system resulted in the request to be able to track the maintenance period of individual machines. This would repurpose the power button to enable maintenance mode. This would take advantage of the newly developed local action chain functionality to run a series of actions on device, without requiring server connectivity. The actions can be defined online and then be sent to the device, either to be run or installed so that they are run automatically on boot.

The maintenance state of each plug is stored online. This allows the state to either be set via the web interface or from the device itself. In the case of the smart plug, a short press toggle power while a long press toggles the maintenance mode. The state of the maintenance mode is shown on the plug via the second indicator LED. Tying this into the monitoring aspects, the downtime of individual machines, different types of machines or the fleet as a whole can be graphed.

In conclusion, the initial findings confirmed existing productivity metrics. The system’s stability was proven by operating via an international internet connection and dealing with an intermittent power supply. Looking forward, the platform’s flexibility allowed a solution specific to Aqua Dynamics to be deployed without requiring custom code while also allowing for customer specific functionality with a maintenance mode.