To specify the perfect temperature controller for your process equipment, you need to be aware that component customization allows you to select the precise form, function and aesthetics needed for your application. Customization also can help OEMs create strong product differentiation.
These tips will help you define the key specification issues and identify specific advantages that can be achieved through component customization.
1. Select Suppliers Positioned to Offer Custom Products
When specifying a temperature control solution, start by consulting a supplier that offers a range of standard control products as well as regularly works on made-to-order offerings for individual customers. Often, these suppliers are best positioned to offer options for customization.
2. Plan for Testing
Remember that a solution that will improve process quality and efficiency in the long term will require testing. Managing the process can require skills that the OEM does not have in-house, and the work almost certainly will divert valuable resources away from mainstream production processes. However, a supplier specializing in customized components will have facilities in place to ensure testing and compliance with industry standards.
3. Go Custom Only When Necessary
You can reduce the cost of customization by using a standard or previously customized product offered by your supplier as the foundation for the new customized component. Through the use of a pre-existing blueprint for the bulk of the product specification, often an OEM will be able to avoid the sizeable minimum order quantities that so often prevent customization from being a real option.
4. Ask for Advice
Get the best advice. Your own in-house team may not have the specialized knowledge to understand fully the true potential that can be realized through component customization. This is understandable because the team’s primary function is system design and build. Nevertheless, if in-house teams are working in isolation to determine the best opportunities for component customization, opportunities to maximize component performance, reliability and functionality can be missed. Missed opportunities can mean projects and budgets will be overrun and finished parts will fail to meet the required standards.
5. Follow Good Advice
Capitalize on the best advice and technology to avoid common problems in temperature control such as overshoot. For example, considerable temperature fluctuations can be caused every time an oven door is opened and closed: The controller responds aggressively to the large heat loss caused by the door opening and closing and works to bring the oven back up to operating temperature, leading to an overshoot.
By monitoring the way in which ovens are used and then defining the characteristics of each temperature cycle, engineers at can customize a standard controller, programmed to ensure that optimum temperature is restored as quickly as possible.
6. Use Controls to Add Value
Customized controllers can include aesthetic and human factor enhancements. Customization designed to enhance equipment can be applied in many forms, from simple changes of color and branding to changing menu options. These enhancements are among the ways in which the specialist supplier’s expertise and understanding of specific applications can help OEMs add value to their machines.
7. Follow Standards
Ensure compliance with current standards. To make the most informed decisions on how to enhance and customize equipment, you need to choose a partner supplier that understands your sector and your application and that therefore can provide full lifecycle management. An expert partner will have an awareness of changing standards relating to your application and will help you avoid, for example, component obsolescence and the cost incurred when replacement components are required.
8. Incorporate Advanced Technology
Look for system features that will improve functionality faster and more efficiently, often without simultaneously increasing complexity or cost for end users. Be aware of trends such as the changing nature of the human-machine interface (HMI) and how the traditional two-line LED display, with its simplistic messaging mechanism, is being replaced by color LCDs with user-friendly touch interfaces that mimic those found on the latest smartphones.
9. Remember to Perform Due Diligence
When choosing a suitable partner, it is essential to carry out due diligence. You need to be assured that your partner has the technical and commercial resources to support your business in the long term.
10. Do Not Settle for Less
Choose an expert supplier that can meet all of these needs.
Many potential suppliers exist but only a small number will have the requisite design, development and manufacturing facilities backed by the knowledge and skills of custom build for specific applications. Custom controls offer OEMs a competitive advantage through product differentiation and can provide a foundation for growth.