Inca Digital has launched a customer support service for its Inca Digital flatbed UV inkjet printers. Branded Inca Vision, the service enables Inca to remotely and regularly monitor and diagnose a machine, and in many cases, catch issues before the customers decide to call for engineer service.
“The last thing any company wants is machine downtime. Inca Vision is able to detect possible failures before they happen, offering customers the opportunity to proactively service their machines and, in many cases, avoid costly delays,” says John Mills, Inca Digital CEO.
By gathering data from machines globally on a daily basis, Inca engineers can conduct remote diagnostics to determine how well the printers are performing and whether there is need for intervention with engineering support. Dashboards used by the Inca Digital Support Team offer a view of high-level data across all machines throughout the world. A RAG (Red, Amber, Green) screen allows the Inca Support Team to prioritise printers most urgently in need of attention and the team can also assist distributors and provide back-up data for any serious machine issues in their regions.
Data can be interrogated at a detailed level per machine to help determine causes for any failures. For example, a faulty UV shutter message or high temperature alarm compared with area printed or ink consumption - generally, machine usage - can help detect if a component is failing. Customer scans on iNozzle mapping allow Inca to monitor the condition of printheads to help the customer maintain quality and to offer suggestions for maintenance procedures. Also, the gathering of data on the use of vacuum zones can help to determine most commonly used sheet sizes.
While most printer activity is downloaded on a daily basis, the data - such as machine alarms and machine status changes - can be interrogated in minute intervals. In addition, the First Line support team can work with the customer to ‘log-in’ to the live data for more detailed analysis. Recent Inca Onsets are built with greater access to machine data, but even older models such as Inca Spyders offer access to sufficient data.
For customers, this means that their Inca printers can be monitored on a daily basis for any signs of future problems. Their support team can offer suggestions to help them maintain their machines in good running condition, based upon their own patterns of use, preventing downtime. If a printer needs onsite repair, data collected by Inca Vision can assist with a quick diagnosis and repair as well as parts requirements.
“On average 60 per cent of the cases opened by our Customer Support Team are resolved remotely. With the launch of Inca Vision we are aiming to increase the overall number of machine uptime as well as the number of cases solved remotely.” says Mark Noble, Senior Customer Service Manager at Inca.
Inca customers have access to similar, but much more specific data through ReporterPro, a software service launched by Inca in January 2013. Unlike Inca Vision, ReporterPro allows customers to see the files, customer names and job specifics that are unique and confidential to their business.
ReporterPro provides an accurate picture of overall efficiency, allowing managers to fine tune production schedules and generate a variety of internal management reports. It is designed to allow the customers’ management team to gather more information about machine utilisation, productivity and job costing.
While the Customer Support team will use individual machine data to diagnose machines remotely and predict problems before they arise, other departments within Inca will also benefit from the composite data. For example, the R&D team can run reports on failure modes or review a sequence of events prior to a component failure. Results can assist with future machine development - in addition to determining service frequency/failure periods on key components. The marketing team may use machine data compiled from many machines to spot usage trends or plan future product features.
Inca Vision is currently in service in the UK and other regions directly supported by the Inca support team. It will be rolled out to the US during Q1 2014. Inca Vision will be built into higher-level service contracts as part of the complete support package. It will not be actively offered to customers without a support contract.