Maintaining a Competitive Advantage with an Under-Appreciated Industrial Machine; The Paint Mixer

Once you select a paint color at your local hardware store, you head to the paint counter to have it mixed. A can of base paint is opened, and colors are added to it, then the can is closed and inserted into a paint mixer. This machine shakes, spins, and rotates the can for around a minute to ensure that the color is homogenous. No big deal right?

Radia PaintA paint mixer is another under-appreciated industrial machine that is used in almost all hardware and paint stores. It is a complex piece of equipment with motors and sensors that simplifies a mundane task. On a busy day, hundreds of cans of paint are mixed at a location. If a paint mixer breaks down, business is impacted.

Maintaining a Competitive Advantage

As an industry leader in mixing for over a century, Radia is always looking at maintaining a competitive advantage. What they lack is proper insight into how their products are utilized by their customers. Data such as the number of cans mixed per day, the frequency at which paint is mixed, and whether the machine is due for maintenance is provided manually (if at all).    

With the introduction of their next-generation paint mixer, Radia is equipping the unit with additional sensing and diagnostics along with cellular connectivity. The benefit to them is closing the feedback loop of machine to manufacturer. The benefit to the customer is continuous monitoring of their equipment enabling maintenance intervention before a mixer breaks down.

Microsoft Azure DashboardWhen Radia needed help connecting their mixer to the cloud and building the cloud infrastructure, they turned to Lab651. Lab651 developed the cell modem application to handle the secure connection to the cloud, and facilitate the data transfers and firmware updates between the cloud and mixer control. In addition, Lab651 also set up Microsoft Azure to ingest, store and visualize the data from the paint mixer. As data is collected and analyzed by Radia, the benefits will be improving the design of future equipment and reducing the downtime of their clients.