12 Dec 2016

There was a time when people saw the acronym IoT on a page and figured it must be some sort of odd typo. Today, most people recognize IoT (the internet of things), as the latest technological enabler bringing fresh new value-added features to equipment manufacturers, control engineers and OEMs.

For many OEMs however, the thought of incorporating IoT into their new appliance designs is daunting. There are so many moving parts ( local connectivity hardware and software, smartphone apps, connection to the internet, cloud provider, cloud software on cloud servers etc.) that it can be intimidating to take that first step into what seems like the deep end of a pool.

Here at Elan however, we’ve created ElanConnect™, an easy way for OEMs to get started with a scalable system for you to test the waters on a small scale, in the shallow end, before making that full commitment to IoT connectivity. Since developing ElanConnect™, we’ve seen a marked increase in the number of customers looking at “connectivity” for their appliances. In many cases, these customers took baby steps into the world of connectivity and IoT by employing the technology in one of the three following applications. Perhaps one of them would help bring your equipment into the world of IoT?

1. Field Test Units.

Before a new appliance goes into production, engineering field testing provides invaluable feedback on the unit’s performance and the customer’s satisfaction with the product. These tests are generally done with a small sample of units, usually 25-50. Traditionally, the information an OEM receives from the users of these units is infrequent and vague. This is a perfect application for IoT technology, enabling real time remote data feedback. However, finding a supplier to offer a solution for a small ‘field test’ sample is difficult…until now! At Elan, we have developed a small, packaged solution specifically intended for the 25-50 pc field trial, with all the features of a full- scale IoT implementation. This enables the OEM with a wealth of information to dramatically expedite the field test phase of development, and increases their comfort level with IoT. Then, they can proceed with a full-scale tuned deployment of IoT on their new equipment with confidence and an optimized system implementation.

2. OEM Equipment Commissioning.

Another useful application of IoT during commissioning of new equipment is to ensure that it is 100 percent operational at installation and to log a dated record of performance parameters. By connecting the equipment to an application on a smartphone (via Bluetooth), OEMs can run a self-test of their newly installed equipment using IoT. The resulting test data stands against any customer warranty claims that the piece of equipment “never worked right since day one”! The self-test can also can help offset any inconsistency with field technicians, giving both the customer and the OEM a consistent experience (and test result) with the product.

3. Install an NIC.

NIC (network interface card) is a small electronic module that easily interfaces to electronic machine controls through a serial communications port. The NIC provides WiFi and Bluetooth communications to collect data and talk to the cloud or smartphone. The NIC technology is tremendously versatile and supports Elan controls or other manufacturer equipment. When you install an NIC at production, you are future-proofed to support emerging cloud IoT applications or local smartphone apps intended to simplify end users or service personnel experience.

If you’ve thought of implementing IoT in your equipment but aren’t sure exactly where to start, please give us a call. For more detail on ElanConnect™, please see our website at http://elanindustries.com/connectivity/   Also watch for an in-depth article on Connectivity from Elan’s IoT champion and Director of Engineering, Jim Dodis, in an upcoming issue of Appliance Design Magazine.   To discuss your next project, call Elan at 630.679.2000.

08 Dec 2016

The Better Business Bureau (BBB) Torch Awards honors several companies for their outstanding examples of ethical business practices. Attending the Dec. 1 event were from left to right: BBB Chairman of the Board of Directors Carlos Minetti; 2017 BBB Torch Award for Marketplace Ethics Recipient Todd Thomas, President and Partner, Elan Industries; ABC 7 News Anchor Hosea Sanders; Featured speaker Melissa Stockwell, 2016 Rio Paralympics bronze medalist in triathlon and U.S. Army War Veteran; and BBB President and CEO Steve J. Bernas.

Read the Press Release…

 

Elan Industries Wins BBB Torch Award

(BOLINGBROOK, IL)—Dec 8 2016—Elan Industries, a Bolingbrook, IL-based electronic appliance controls design, engineering and manufacturing firm, is pleased to announce that they have been selected as a recipient of the 2017 Better Business Bureau (BBB) Torch Award for Marketplace Ethics in the category of 10 to 99 employees. This is the 20th year that the BBB of Chicago and Northern Illinois has honored companies for their outstanding example of ethical business practices.

Elan formally received its award at the luncheon ceremony held on Thurs., Dec. 1 at the Chicago Marriott O’Hare in Chicago. Only 6 firms were selected for 2017 Torch Awards, with other recipients including ABT Electronics and CDW. Past Torch Award winners include Sears, Boeing and Blue Cross Blue Shield.

“We are so honored to receive this award,” said Todd Thomas, partner at Elan Industries. “Because our work is so collaborative, trust between our firm and the client is essential to what we do and we share this award with our clients in spirit. Our business ethics are a source of pride at our firm, but it is humbling to be recognized publicly for doing business as we always have.”

Elan works with original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) on customized electronic controls that regulate temperature, speed and other parameters on residential and commercial appliances, like pizza ovens, dishwashers, refrigerators and ice makers. The company launched in 1999 and has since built a reputation for offering innovative solutions in electronic controls such as capacitive touch and their wireless connectivity program, ElanConnect™. Through ElanConnect™, the company designs electronic controls that function with wireless connectivity using WiFi, Bluetooth and Ethernet to connect appliances to end users and service groups remotely and locally, with smartphone apps, desktop dashboards and analytics.

To receive the Torch Award, the BBB evaluated Elan in four major criteria:

  • Management Practices, including training programs, positive employee relations and benefits and prevention of workplace injury and environmental harm
  • Customer/Vendor/Supplier/Shareholder Relations, covering quality measures, payment and credit reports, and feedback from customers, vendors and/or suppliers
  • Marketing/Advertising/Communications Sales Practices, including evidence of ethical promotional efforts and codes of ethics used by sales personnel
  • Reputation with Industry and Community, including recognition and compliments from others in the community and industry and work with charitable organizations

Last year, the company moved from their 10,000 square foot space just miles away, to their current, 34,000 sq. ft. location at 650 S. Schmidt Road in Bolingbrook, IL. The larger office space allows for more staff and also doubled their engineering and testing lab as well as their manufacturing area where they design, test and produce their custom-designed electronic controls. Elan currently has hundreds of custom electronic controls in production, ranging from the simplest temperature control to highly complex multi-function platform controls. Elan controls can be found on appliances worldwide.