The innovation: A cloud computing platform based on artificial intelligence to organize and plan the maintenance of equipment in the factory. The result: equipment uptime doubled.
Posted at 11:00 a.m.
Binder is two longtime friends, Gabriel Lalonde-Francœur and Fabrice Latour, who attended Cégep de Saint-Laurent together and then the École de technologie supérieure between 2014 and 2020. Both worked in factories, notably at Trica in Saint-Jérôme for Gabriel and at Rolls-Royce in Montreal for Fabrice. Building on their experience and training, they officially launched Binder in early 2021; they are respectively director of operations and director of technologies. A third accomplice, Charles Freifer, joined the duo last September as a marketing specialist.
Over the course of their internships, their readings and their professional experiences, Gabriel Lalonde-Francœur and Fabrice Latour have made an astonishing observation: 50% of companies in North America use ordinary Excel files, or even paper, to plan and record maintenance of their manufacturing equipment.
“The other problem we noted is that the person who comes to take over is starting from scratch,” says Mr. Latour. For the company, it is a huge waste of time. »
The idea at the heart of Binder is to establish a database of standard equipment found everywhere in manufacturing production, those electric motors, cylinders and bearings that require the most frequent maintenance.
Digested by artificial intelligence and machine learning, this data then makes it possible to establish a maintenance and replacement schedule according to their use, often more precise and adapted than the manufacturer’s recommendations. The platform also includes fault reporting functions.
“Our goal is to make life easier for managers,” explains Mr. Lalonde-Francœur. A third of companies devote more than 30 hours per week to maintenance. “It’s practically a whole trade, it’s expensive, especially since the workforce is more and more specialized,” adds its co-founder.
According to estimates made with Binder’s first customers, particularly in the Quebec facilities of the American manufacturing giant Swagelok, the uptime of equipment goes from 40 to 80% with such intelligent maintenance.
As for ordinary mortals, not all companies have the fiber of maintenance, sometimes preferring simply to replace equipment. “One of our big challenges is to bring back the old culture of repairing instead of replacing,” says Fabrice Latour.
To be able to repair, you have to maintain it properly, reminds Gabriel Lalonde-Francœur. “We come up against companies that want to do production and as little maintenance as possible. In the end, they lose money: you have to take the time to stop production to maintain, to find the right balance. »
The start-up Binder has been concentrating its activities in Quebec for 16 months. It hopes to expand to the rest of Canada, then to the United States and the rest of the world within three years. “We don’t want to grow too quickly to ensure that we provide impeccable service,” says Fabrice Latour.
Within “a year or two”, Binder wants to expand the database of standard equipment found in almost all production lines for more personalized elements.
Finally, within five years, Binder is aiming for a service offer that goes beyond equipment to include human resources. This is to promote labor sharing. “There are companies that employ technicians without using them full-time, while other companies could use their services, explains Gabriel. The platform could indicate when one of these specialists is available. »
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Binder | Better to maintain than cure
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