Helping the glass industry optimise their business results, working at Closed Loops, Dark Factories and Glass Industry 4.0 requires a lot of knowledge, experience, research and development.
Most factories need all their resources to keep the business running 24/7 and to solve problems and issues on a daily basis.
Where factories cannot invest in Research & Development, companies such as Xpar Vision make a difference.
“In our own R&D department we employ 15 highly skilled experts, among them a number of PhDs,” said Sander de Jong, Xpar Vision’s Lead Development Engineer.
“Together, we form a multidisciplinary team. We develop our future systems, improve and maintain our current systems and support our customers, as a second-line support team.”
The modern glass industry has become more automated and manual operations have been minimised.
The machinery consists of hardware and software that constantly needs to be improved. Computerised parts of the machines also generate larger quantities of data (big data) each time.
It requires complex algorithms to analyse and apply the data timely (preferably in real time). Robotising certain parts of the process demands Computer Vision, an essential discipline. In the Hot End process everything turns around infrared cameras.
Xpar Vision consultants spend a lot of their time in glass factories, where they help clients to implement, operate and optimise systems.
“After implementing and using our technology, clients often have ‘feature requests’: specific wishes to customise our technology even further, to the local situation, or to the personal preferences of the operators”, Sander de Jong explained.
“It’s always satisfying to work together, fulfil wishes and see happy faces. On the other hand, sometimes we have to fix bugs in the systems. Although we don’t like bugs, we do learn from them. Every bug gives us a clue for further improvement.”
“With most of our clients we have a real-time remote connection with our systems, through Virtual Private Network (VPN).
"If necessary, we can watch live over the shoulders of the operators, to see what is happening. Real time remote support is important, since our systems are increasingly connected in closed loops. This means that they directly influence production, so we must be able to respond instantly, when asked.”
“Working at the R&D department here is very versatile. This is where the magic happens!
"Our work touches all imaginable disciplines of a high-tech company in a global industrial setting. We can add value, through high tech engineering, modern applied mathematics and algorithms, high speed cameras, real time processing, big data: you name it.
"Together, we work at the glass plants of the future: profitable dark factories, with robots, closed loops and the structural reduction of failures, carbon dioxide emissions, use of raw materials and transport costs.”