Higher productivity, less downtime, improved efficiency: Draxton's successful digital journey with Monitizer® | DISCOVER

Draxton's foundry in Barcelona, Spain has seen its downtime resource and energy consumption decrease after introducing the Monitizer® | DISCOVER IIoT solution, supplied and supported by DISA, a global moulding equipment provider.

A long-time DISA customer, Draxton is a global manufacturer of cast iron and aluminium components with a presence in six countries across three continents. With a total annual casting capacity exceeding 620,000 tons, it produces complex components for brakes, powertrain and transmission systems, primarily for the automotive industry in North America, Europe and China.

The challenge

Through its whole production process, Draxton constantly invests in the latest technology and best practices. When it decided it wanted better visibility of its production processes at its Barcelona site, implementing Monitizer | DISCOVER was a logical choice.

DISCOVER's well-known ability to deliver a live digital view of production was the perfect way to support the Draxton foundry's application of its ongoing Lean Production initiative.

"We decided to use Monitizer | DISCOVER because it is a specialised application that is completely focused on the foundry industry," says Javier Heredia, Plant Manager at Draxton Barcelona. "We considered building our own Industry 4.0 solution but other foundries were already successfully using Monitizer | DISCOVER. We trusted DISA's experts to deliver a robust solution – and we were proved right."

The solution

Monitizer is a modular IIoT platform for the foundry industry that can collect data from any vendor's equipment. Monitizer | DISCOVER collects, aggregates, stores and displays data from multiple equipment, lines or global sites. It makes it easy to collect and analyse process data that is normally trapped in silos, helping to reveal hidden production insights.

DISCOVER's user-friendly reporting and visualisation tools present live and historical data in easy-to-understand, customised dashboards, with KPIs that speed up fault-finding and make site performance comparisons simple. Because DISA and Monitizer have years of experience deploying Monitizer IIoT and AI solutions, they can help foundries make a major difference to operations very quickly.

Draxton was initially wary of choosing a cloud-based rather than an installed solution. But the Monitizer platform's solid security won them over, along with the many benefits of the Cloud, like instant global scalability, rapid roll-out and a low-capital, low-risk digital initiative.


The project began in June 2022. The first task was to digitally connect the furnace and pouring unit, along with the sand plant, the two DISA moulding lines, the entire suction system and the shotblast machines.

"Monitizer | DISCOVER connects to all our equipment, not just our DISA machines, to securely collect and bring all our data together in a single cloud database we can access from anywhere – even from my mobile when I am at home," says Javier. "It was "plug and play" to install the NoriGate gateways ourselves. It was obvious this was a tried-and-tested system as the whole process went very smoothly and quickly."

Monitizer timestamps and merges new data, automatically populating a reliable, consistent single process view within its cloud database and calculating any required variables. The Monitizer team worked with Draxton to set up the database, creating its variables and the most useful KPIs.

As the data started to flow in, the dedicated Monitizer customer success engineer also helped Draxton create the different dashboards. But although support was always on hand, very little was needed as Monitizer is easy for non-technical users to customise and make it do exactly as they want.


"We use the tool to monitor production and facility parameters.," says Antonio Ruiz, Production Manager at Draxton Barcelona. "Each user has made their own personalised dashboard and set up their own queries to receive exactly the information they want to see. The tool is very easy to use and also highly intuitive. We can use our own process knowledge to easily programme different dashboard queries and configure alarms with more than one variable – all by ourselves."

DISCOVER's sophisticated alarm functionality has proved powerful for Draxton, allowing them to convert the expertise of their employees into automatic monitoring that identifies upcoming problems. This has transformed how they control their production.

Within Monitizer | DISCOVER, users can set and alter alarm triggers, for example, by requiring multiple conditions or thresholds to be met, and this helps to reduce false alarms. It's possible to configure alarm escalation protocols where different groups of people are contacted in different waves, one after another, depending on how an issue develops and whether the first alerted group reacts.

Smart alarms control production

"We can set thresholds based on the knowledge of our internal experts and configure alarms that notify production and maintenance to take action before an issue become serious," explains Antonio. "Our DISCOVER system supports monitoring, analysis and insight right across all our different production areas and equipment. This is a significant advantage as, previously, we had separate systems that we couldn't switch easily between. "

DISCOVER's information has become an integral part of the Barcelona facility's daily operational meetings where the team discuss and solve technical and quality issues.

"Monitizer is particularly useful during operations meetings," says Javier. "If problems occur, we can analyse them by querying the process data that Monitizer holds and decide on the right course of action. When we find the root cause – or causes – we can dig deeper into the data to find out how to prevent it happening again and set alarms if required."

Preventive maintenance

At Draxton, Monitizer has enabled the maintenance team to implement a preventive maintenance programme. For example, Monitizer helps Draxton identify premature wear in the furnaces: when any parameters fall out of specification, the system automatically notifies both the maintenance and production teams.

"We are effectively using Monitizer as a preventative maintenance tool," says Jose Garcia, Quality Manager at Draxton Barcelona. "Being alerted by DISCOVER's alarm means we can immediately check the right KPIs rather than searching across all the data for the cause of the problem. Based on the data, we can schedule preventative maintenance which avoids the issue occurring."

Before implementing Monitizer, the Barcelona facility struggled to remove a bottleneck caused by insufficient moulding sand for their two lines. Using DISCOVER's data, it was possible to vary the sand plant's cycle time to match the amount of water added to the sand plant.

"This cycle time optimisation removed the bottleneck and stabilised sand quality, while cutting water and energy consumption," explains Jose. "That gave us a higher quality and also a more sustainable process. Monitizer is also connected to our entire suction and dust collection system to ensure damaging airborne particles are effectively filtered for safe working conditions."

Next steps

"Monitizer | DISCOVER has helped us implement and enhance lean manufacturing and predictive maintenance, and we use its information to constantly learn about and enhance different parts of our operations," says plant manager Javier. "It has definitely helped us improve casting quality while lowering resource and energy consumption. That has lowered our carbon emissions and DISCOVER's digital process view will also be invaluable as we begin our new sustainability initiative."

In a short space of time, Draxton Barcelona has already travelled a long way on its digital journey. It has become expert in using data to better manage its operation, reaped many benefits – and there are big plans for the future.

"We now have a customised real-time view of both our lines so we can be sure the foundry is always running as we want it to – and will be alerted automatically if it isn't," Javier says. "Next, we plan to add even more parameters to DISCOVER and eventually evolve towards full process optimisation with Monitizer | PRESCRIBE. Now we have successfully implemented Monitizer, our colleagues at our other international facilities will be very interested in trying it for themselves."