• Mark Dingley, CEO of Matthews Australasia, demonstrates the latest evolution of the iDSnet platform.
    Mark Dingley, CEO of Matthews Australasia, demonstrates the latest evolution of the iDSnet platform.
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Matthews Australasia has unveiled the latest evolution of its Australian-developed and supported package code management (PCM) software, iDSnet, at APPEX 2024 today.

Matthews CEO Mark Dingley said, “This latest version marks a significant milestone in the evolution of manufacturing automation, and the inaugural APPEX offers the perfect time, place and audience.

“This no code/low code platform evolution of iDSnet is specifically designed to be deployed for a purpose.”

Watch our video interview with Dingley at the launch here:

Dingley said being deployed for purpose means key differences in this latest no code/low code version include:

  • the ability to deploy the software to meet specific logic requirements without a software engineer to undertake custom scripting or software development to meet unique customer requirements
  • it’s browser-based and OS agnostic
  • its capability for real-time changes live on the screen
  • being fast and simple to update or add on to without costly interruptions to production lines
  • its open architecture
  • its simpler, faster, lower-cost deployment future proofs manufacturing businesses
  • more advanced device drivers with inbuilt format-management tool to centralise a company’s coding and labelling standards across multiple production lines and sites

“With Industry 4.0 needs and requirements changing rapidly, this evolution of iDSnet came about to allow for a more adaptive, scalable platform. It needed to be ‘future proof’, catering for the range of many current connectivity standards, while allowing for future possibilities.

No-code deployment

“The resulting platform requires no-code deployment for many manufacturers whose needs are to connect devices on the factory floor, with the goals of firstly eliminating coding errors, and then to turn the connected devices – such as inkjet printers, checkweighers and scanners – into IOT devices. These devices can then contribute data back – to either the Matthews’ system or a third party – for real-time production visibility, empowering the manufacturer to improve decision making, while increasing productivity and efficiencies all in real time – with no software code being written.”

Dingley said by having Matthews’ in-built workflow logic builder, customers no longer need software engineers to deploy a fit-for-purpose solution to a manufacturing facility.

“Rather, deployment can be done by a software support team member or a trained automation engineer. Changes and updates can be made live. This is a very important step forward because every production line has its unique requirements. It means a software package that no longer requires customised software, scripting or ‘plug in’ development to manage specific and sometimes very unique requirements, whether that be hardware additions, line integration or database updates with ERP systems.

“Even better, the production line doesn’t have to be shut down, meaning there’s no costly overtime or weekend work needed to catch back up on production. We can do an update between product changeovers or during planned downtime – that’s how fast it is. Consequentially, this means it’s simpler to deploy and support.

“This latest evolution of iDSnet has been specifically designed to adapt to change as much as the manufacturer needs to change it. This version also has in-built error testing and improved diagnostics to improve identifying root cause of issues and therefore reducing resolution times.

“An example of how this works is a customer can contact us to make a change, we’ll make the change, run it through the automated testing – a digital twin of their production line – and re deploy it back to their site without even interrupting their production lines. So, it’s faster, seamless and targeted to what needs changing, with no costly catch-up in production out of hours.”

Browser-based platform

“The browser-based platform means it’s a completely agnostic operating system, so it doesn’t matter whether the operator has a smartphone, tablet or any brand of computer, they can operate and effect changes on the system.”

Dingley said another benefit of using an in-browser platform was for the browser-embedded tools, such as language translators and limiting the reliance on an individual device for interaction.

“Manufacturing businesses with multi-lingual workforces may find it beneficial that operators can use a browser-embedded tool to translate iDSnet into their native tongue.”

Advanced drivers

Touching on iDSnet’s use of more advanced drivers, Dingley said the advantage comes in the “new architecture and software tools at our disposal”.

“We have developed this system over the past number of years to address all manner of coding and labelling issues experienced, as well as move the production line to a more paperless environment when it comes to QA. 

“Take the example of simply ensuring the right date and time is printed on the package: many systems download a format to the printer which requires the printer to manage the date and time.  But who is monitoring the date and time on the printer itself? Let alone that the printers across all production lines are in sync.

“Now do this across all variety of coding and labelling printers across primary, secondary and tertiary packaging. Usually, this is a task for the operators to manually check and ensure everything is correct during a production run. However, it’s when little things like this are not actioned, they can – and do – lead to expensive rework and potential recalls.  

“Matthews’ focus is to ensure the right code gets on the right product at the right time, eliminating manual mistakes and driving improved efficiencies and productivity. iDSnet becomes the bridge between ERP and the production line as well into the future, connecting the physical package to its digital twin. Automation on the production line is key to driving this and this has been our focus with this new platform.”

Dingley said, “As a leading provider of innovative solutions for product ID and supply-chain management, Matthews is excited by our new iDSnet platform’s development.

“iDSnet no-code/low-code architecture gives Matthews improved capabilities to deliver the most valuable features – machine interconnectivity, real-time data dashboards and automated coding – to current and new customers. With such multi-dimensional scalability, iDSnet is positioned as a solution for today, and an adaptable platform for future challenges and opportunities.”

Dingley said Matthews was continually evolving its in-house developed iDSnet software, which has been listed as a finalist in the APPMA Awards of Excellence, to be announced during the APPEX expo on Wednesday 13th March.

The three versions of iDSnet are:

  • iDSnet Cloud: an entry point for package code management software, this free cloud-based tool generates and prints carton, crate GTIN and SSCC industry-compliant labels.
  • iDSnet Express: is a “step up”, designed for small to medium-sized manufacturing businesses to eliminate costly packaging errors on their production lines.
  • iDSnet Enterprise: allows manufacturers to upsize production-line efficiency and eliminate manual waste with this low code/no code paperless platform, including full ERP integration.

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