By Aviran Yaacov – CEO of EcoPlant and II4 Community Ambassador

The Origins of EcoPlant

The seed of the idea of EcoPlant was sown one day eight years ago, when its founder, Aviran Yaacov, was sitting with his father and his childhood friend, and his fathers’ non-smart mobile phone received an MMS that showed the PLC screen from one of the plant’s machines – indicating a breakdown and subsequent company downtime. As you can imagine, such a message is never a good thing, and it initiated Aviran’s thought process so that, when IIoT and AI began to disrupt the industry a few years later, it led him to found EcoPlant, a company with the aim of changing the existing paradigm, regarding the breakdown and maintenance of industrial machinery.

Who Are EcoPlant?

EcoPlant is an Industry 4.0 company that utilizes a brand new proactive paradigm for maintenance of all the peripheral equipment used in every single industrial plant the world over – compressed air systems, water or vacuum pumps, and refrigeration systems. This equipment is used in 90% of all industrial plants the world over, in a variety of different ways. For example, compressed air systems in a car manufacturing plant are used to work the robots which build the vehicles; or in plastic production, compressed air is used to inflate plastic bottles and containers. Regardless, these are all vital systems, without which no manufacturing plant could function. More to the point, the energy used by this equipment amounts to approximately 60% of a plants’ energy consumption. Moreover, 50 of the total cost of ownership (TCO) is wasted, due to inefficiency (energy, maintenance, risk mitigation, and so on).

Maintenance: A Known Issue

Maintenance is a constant when it comes to machinery. Machines break down, so downtime is always a consideration, and is an established and acknowledged operational hazard in industrial manufacturing.

Around 20 years ago, maintenance of industrial machines was only ever executed in “fix it if/when it breaks” mode. More recently, until about five years ago, industrial plants used a more preventive maintenance style of operation – much like with a car, which has a service every 5000 kilometers, in order to see how things are mechanically, what needs replacing and what needs fixing. Equipment manufacturers worked in conjunction with the industrial plants, providing a mechanical service to check the equipment on a regular, agreed-upon timely basis, and fixing and replacing parts, and so on.

Over the last five years, there has been an explosion of innovative and disruptive Industry 4.0 start-ups, producing solutions that offer a “predictive maintenance algorithm.” This uses Machine Learning and Big Data algorithms to collect data about how the machines work, crunch and analyze the data, and then use the information to create plans to suggest how to prevent downtime going forward. Predictive Maintenance is the model of 95% of Industry 4.0 start-up solutions.

Going Beyond Predictive to Proactive

This is where EcoPlant has a different method, offering a proactive approach unlike anything seen before. They are aware that in the future, rather than executing a static preventive methodology, the most effective and efficient way to handle the health of these machines, and prevent costly downtime, is to monitor them according to a proactive algorithm. The knock-on effect of this is a proactive vision for the manufacturing company, enabling a full and complete predictive analysis by offering proactivity and allowing the manufacturers to be completely in control of the situation. Between five to ten percent of today’s general energy consumption goes on air compressed systems – yes, that’s of all energy consumed across the planet. For this reason, air compressed systems are EcoPlant’s current focus, although their future plans include covering all peripheral equipment.

How do they do this?

EcoPlant’s revolutionary approach offers a “Proactive Cloud-Based System.” They have created a new type of (proactive) technology which is encased in a box, sits on an industrial machine, and reads information sent from each element of the machine – overall machine data, sensor data, and machine environment data. Based on this, EcoPlant then sends instructions and suggestions to the machine in order to fully optimize the efficiency of the machine.

EcoPlant’s technology is entirely holistic. Rather than reading information at a limited local station/compressor level, which is where data collected from one machine is then used and applied as “typical” across all machines, the holistic approach looks at each machine, based on the differing variables used in operation, and doing a deep dive literally into the nuts and bolts of the machine to assess performance, wear and tear, and everything else. Furthermore, EcoPlant’s work methodology offers consistent, continuous dynamic sequencing, utilizing an AI/Machine Learning algorithm rather than static sequencing (such as periodic monthly maintenance checks).

Further Benefits

EcoPlant’s proactive technology can help manufacturing companies prevent up to 50% peripheral equipment inefficiencies, and offers substantial risk reduction in downtime. Within the context of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), EcoPlant is a proactive optimization platform, with the idea of investing less in the plant’s CAPEX, and more in its OPEX. In short, EcoPlant is part of the current evolving fourth industrial revolution, which is not just digitizing but also disrupting traditional industrial methodologies. Manufacturing companies will be able to move from a method of purchasing static systems, to a one-time payment yet dynamic system which offers a proactive, and thereby much more efficient and effective approach, to significantly increase profit margins.

Mr. Aviran Yaacov is the CEO and Co-founder of EcoPlant, a revolutionary company providing an Artificial Intelligence cloud-based platform that saves energy and optimizes peripheral equipment operations.

In the past 12 years, Mr. Yaacov led to complex and long B2B sale cycles in the IT industry. Before joining EcoPlant, Mr. Yaacov served as a consultant in the field of Information Systems, ERP and business development for SAP as a B1 Gold Partner. As a former captain of a basketball team, he believes that the path to success depends on many aspects in building a winning team. Mr. Yaacov holds an Executive MBA from Colman.

Click here to see more about EcoPlant.

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Yuval Engelstein is the Industry 4.0 sector analyst at Start-Up Nation Central, responsible for researching Israeli innovation and world market activity relating to the strategic development of the Industry 4.0 and Smart Mobility industries. In close and continuous contact with innovators and entrepreneurs of these industries, Mr. Engelstein supplies the organization with knowledge and insights regarding both the technologies and the corporate or socio-economic challenges they could help to alleviate. Previously, Mr. Engelstein served as an analyst in the Research Divisions of the Central Bank of Israel, and of the Ministry of Transport. He holds a Master’s Degree in Financial Economics and a BA in Philosophy, Political Science and Economy, both from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

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