New App Gives Plant Managers Window on Operations

Thanks to Ventures, Yargus Manufacturing equipment can be monitored in real time from nearly anywhere using a new mobile app. “No matter where they are in the world, [managers] can see what’s happening at their plants,” says Steve Shaffer, Yargus’ general manager.

Yargus Manufacturing of Marshall, Illinois, is proud of the fertilizer and materials handling equipment it makes. Yargus machinery—sold under the Layco brand—often is made of stainless steel and other top-quality materials for precise and reliable performance.

Companies using Layco products know they have the most reliable equipment in the business. But even the best machinery needs to be monitored for routine maintenance, materials levels, and the occasional glitch. In-plant electronic monitors have long given plant operators the real-time information they need. Now, thanks to Ventures, that same information can appear on a smart phone or tablet practically anywhere.

“No matter where they are in the world, [managers] can see what’s happening at their plants,” says Steve Shaffer, Yargus’ general manager.

The new app, developed this summer by a team of Rose-Hulman student interns under the direction of Software Engineering Manager Sandor Pethes, displays animated scale-images of the equipment being monitored. Green indictors mean all systems are go. Red means material levels are getting low, scheduled maintenance is due, or something else needs attention.

Making this vital information accessible on mobile devices is cutting edge, Shaffer says. And that’s where Yargus likes to be.

“What sets us apart is the sort of thing we’re doing right here with Ventures. We always want to be the next step ahead,” he says.

Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology interns who developed the app included computer science majors Mitch Murray, George Gao, and Jacob Laird. Josh Woods, a senior computer engineering major interning at Yargus, also contributed to the project; he is set to become a full-time Yargus employee after graduation.