HOTSEAT – Jem Hudson, IoT Product Manager Summit Vision

Summit Systems has been an industry-leading supplier of ancillary equipment and machinery to the UK plastics market for almost 30 years. Earlier this year, the company launched its new Internet of Things (IoT) division, Summit Vision, headed by Jeremy (Jem) Hudson as IoT Product Manager.

He strives to bring greater efficiency and reduced waste to manufacturers, by cutting through the jargon and giving customers a tangible understanding of how data monitoring can bring them cost savings. Jem is next PlastikCity Partner to face the HotSeat…

What trends do you think will shape the future of UK plastics? How will Summit Vision respond?

There are many trends impacting UK plastics, depending on where you are in the industry. However, across the whole industry, the need to waste less and be more energy efficient will intensify as we all strive to reduce the industry’s carbon footprint.

The most effective way to meet these needs is to become better at analysing the data we have at our fingertips – and to find easier ways to capture and analyse data that has been previously difficult to get hold of. By doing this, we can make better decisions.

When we read all the spiel and the analyst’s publications on The Internet of Things (IoT) and Big Data Analytics trends, we certainly get the impression that these trends could shape the future of the plastics industry. But I’m asked over and over, what does this really mean to the plastics manufacturer?

The broad answer to start, is that by applying IoT based technologies, we can rapidly collect data from almost anything on the factory floor, and use basic data analytics to good effect.

Summit Vision is at the forefront of IoT based data capture and management technologies across the plastics manufacturing process with particular focus on condition monitoring to eliminate waste from unscheduled downtime and power use analysis to sweat existing assets and capture the actual returns on new energy-saving investment.

How has Summit Vision developed during your tenure?

At the start of my tenure, Summit Vision was focussed on our software solution for managing material handling– known to our customers as the Supervisor. Alongside the continued development of the Supervisor, Summit Vision has been expanded into key areas of data capture and management across the manufacturing site irrespective of equipment or machine manufacturer.

Summit Vision is now able to extract data from existing PLC’s for analysis, deploy leading-edge sensor technologies to troubleshoot conditions (process water, vacuum, air, drying, motor vibration and temperatures etc) where data is simply not available, and bring this information into contemporary dashboards via a secure , independent, wireless infrastructure for analysis in support of better decision making.

What do you credit as the key to your success?

I firmly believe that in the face of the Internet of Things world, we need to “keep it simple” and learn from every step we take on this journey. From day one at Summit Vision, I’ve encouraged our customers to think big, start small, learn fast and minimise time-to-value. This is the key to current success and will continue to be the foundation of my strategy moving forward.

What has been the greatest challenge in your career?

This may be a bit of a diversion from audience expectations, but I’ve had 25 years in the Information Technology arena, from software development to datacentre services and IT security, so I may bring some new ideas to UK Plastics!

About 15 years ago I was taught a great deal about ‘value modelling’ by a couple of specialists in this area who have since retired, they taught me that in industry, value = net profit, and nothing else.

They taught me to identify the Value Drivers (what causes an improvement in net profit) for the solutions I’m involved in, then work with the customer to capture the Value Impacts (the amount of net profit the customer believes will be released) for the identified Value Drivers of the solution. This value modelling methodology is compelling, and following this approach, investment priorities become very apparent. It’s simply a fantastic way to do business and shows you when to walk away from solutions that won’t fly.

My greatest challenge since then, at times, has been keeping to the principles of this methodology.

What advice do you wish you’d had on entering the industry and does that differ from the advice you would give to an apprentice joining now?

I wish Mike Jordan told me to pack a high viz jacket and safety boots on my first customer visit!

Seriously, apprentice’s getting into this industry have the most fantastic opportunity to become skilful contributors in the backbone of UK manufacturing and positively influence the future success of this dynamic industry. My advice would be to appreciate this, work hard and strive to make a difference.

What hidden talents do you have?

My absolute favourite sport is windsurfing – I’ve been at it since I was a teenager and get out there in all conditions.

I actually hold the record crossing time for a bi-Athlon event combining windsurfing and mountain biking across Scotland from Fort William on the West Coast, to Inverness on the East Coast; tackling the lengths of Loch Lochy and Loch Ness in gale-force winds and some monster MTB riding in between. I’m not sure this is talent – it’s more like sheer determination, but it was great fun at the time!

SUMMIT SYSTEMS HIRE EXPERIENCED DUO

Plastics ancillary equipment experts, Summit Systems, have bolstered their engineering and sales teams with two new appointments. Steve Takle joins the company as an Industrial Refrigeration Engineer, and a familiar face returns as Dave Middleton becomes Technical Sales Director.

Summit Systems are pleased to announce the addition of two highly experienced engineers to their team. These appointments come at a key time for the company, as they continue to grow their core ancillary equipment business, while also diversifying into other sectors.

Earlier this year, Summit announced the launch of Summit Vision, an Internet of Things (IoT) division focusing on data and condition monitoring driving efficiency improvements for manufacturers. This followed news from late-2018, when the company purchased Total Process Cooling Ltd, to further expand its temperature control department.

Steve Takle (pictured, left) has joined Summit’s process cooling division, Summit TPC, working alongside sales engineer Rob Pritchard as an Industrial Refrigeration Engineer. Steve brings with him years of engineering experience, much earned in the Royal Navy. Summit Systems hope to continue the expansion of their cooling division by the end of next year, especially their engineering teams, so Steve’s appointment may be the first of many to come.

Steve commented: “I have worked in engineering since leaving school, eight years of which were spent maintaining helicopters for the Royal Navy. After leaving the forces, I started a new career in refrigeration with 12 years of experience working on a variety of different systems and applications.

“I am excited to come and work for Summit TPC starting up the cooling division and drive it forward to be customer-focused, offering effective preventative maintenance and repairs to minimise downtime.”

Dave Middleton (pictured, right) is returning to Summit after an 11-year absence, joining their team of six technical sales engineers as Technical Sales Director. Dave is a familiar face to many in the industry, with over 30 years working in the ancillary equipment market.

“Having been within the plastics ancillary equipment market throughout my 30 years in the plastics manufacturing industry I have a well-developed experience, a keen sense of adventure and an unresolved drive,” said Dave.

“I aim to help simplify difficult processes while being able to always offer the best solution, whatever this may be. My goal is to help our customers maintain their processing advantages by supplying the latest technologies as they become available, and by being a point of contact for them when they need advice or assistance.”

“Being a part of Summit Systems allows me the opportunity to deliver all of the above, which helps makes our industry stronger and more self-sustaining. With all of this being said, it comes down to being happy at work and being allowed to develop, which is what Summit is all about!”