Digital potential in industry and manufacturing
State-of-the-art cloud technologies and the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) provide many options to rethink inherited business models and develop new, data-driven approaches. Once successfully established, they offer enormous digital potential for manufacturing companies.
In order to truly fulfill the digital potential of modern technologies, the complexity of modern IT and OT systems, the number of applications and the volume of data also increase. In addition, the time available for the development of new applications and innovative solutions (time to market) is being drastically reduced. Anyone who thinks that they can handle these diverse challenges alone, quickly finds out they are fighting a losing battle. At the same time, digital transformation provides the companies who take on the challenges with new opportunities for comprehensive cooperation – beyond traditional borders and to their mutual benefit.
Digital potential through modularization: Platform economy for your business success
Successful platforms such as eBay, Uber, the Apple App Store or AirBnB owe their success to the idea of bringing people together. Their business model consists of collecting commission for successfully making contacts or sales. A separate infrastructure with physical assets is usually not necessary for this purpose. The virtual assets of the IT and network infrastructures are not part of that business model. Instead, some are operated on universally available platforms and cloud servers and, often enough, made available to partners within the platform economy.
OnCumulus – The IIoT platform to help you fulfill your company’s digital potential
OnCumulus is the platform offered by Voith. We support industrial companies in building digital talent, gathering experience and implementing new business models – with the unique expertise and domain knowledge of more than 150 years in business. We enable our customers to optimize their processes and resources and achieve increased flexibility, data protection and security based on the Internet-of-Things platform, OnCumulus.
With OnCumulus, Voith offers an IIoT platform that meets the highest security and compliance standards and best practices such as CSA, NIST, OWASP, ISO 2700x. OnCumulus users retain complete control of all data at all times and in any application scenario.
OnCumulus at a glance
- Using Cockpit, engineering boundary areas can be defined and visualized for any and all process parameters. A comprehensive process hierarchy can be created by combining parameters and processes.
- Analyzer makes it possible to structure and visualize various data types for well-founded analyses – in an intuitive and transparent environment.
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Focusing talent and experience: collaborative research & development (R&D)
Products are increasingly rare as solid units that change only slightly or not at all over their life cycle and are distinguished by a fixed price, uniform quality and functionality. Today’s products are entities that can adapt over their life cycle in response to changed consumer habits and needs and which are surrounded by an entire universe of services. These need not necessarily come from the original manufacturer. They are increasingly provided by partners.
Consequently, it makes sense to supplement manufacturing processes, which are already significantly based on the division of labor, and the increasing number of system parts. This is done by cooperating as early as in the design and during the development phases, thus, in the engineering of products. In collaborative research & development, components and end products can be far better matched to one another in the initial design and then enhanced later – even in the case of interdisciplinary work processes and without major data transformations or appraisals.
Collaborative R&D – this is virtually transferring the platform train of thought to product and production level. At the heart of it are jointly developed products that go beyond narrow organizational limits and are open and suitable for further development and supplementing with services. This strategy can be a response to the challenges facing the entire manufacturing industry. The growing pressure for innovation, higher customer expectations and shorter product life cycle can be satisfied in a single collaborative, dynamic and open system.
However, even though the collaborative R&D strategy offers a lot of benefits, companies that take part in such collective developments also need to be familiar with the challenges. Among others, these challenges can be found in the complexity of the systems, network communication security beyond company borders, data exchange and contractual stipulations regarding use and intellectual property.
Due to the participation of different companies and organizations, the diversity of the software systems used is increasing at engineering level. In addition, the companies involved in the cooperative effort need to take into account and synchronize different working methods and process flows.
Even the security of data transferred over inter-company networks is a challenge. Highly sensitive information is often exchanged between internal and external networks and, due to the system, the option of completely secure end-to-end communication is missing.
As a means of increasing companies’ digital potential, Voith supports collaborative R&D. At the same time we are aware of the monumental task in terms of the security, performance and complexity of the systems that need to be handled. We will devote more of our attention to precisely these issues.
The digital twin must be part of collaborative R&D project
Digital twins are a good response to the many challenges of collaborative development and joint product design. This is a purely digital model, which is true to the original, of a real, existing product or cloud service.
In less technical terms, the digital twin is a virtual place where material master data and the previous history of components, system parts and entire systems can be collected. The cloud is the place where these data can be linked in real time to simulate the effect that actions in data, design and function as well as interdependencies and interactions with other assets have – without any impact on or presenting any risk to actual products, systems or components.
Even Voith uses digital twins in mining, for example, to simulate tests using digital prototypes. This saves time and money and provides valuable knowledge for operating new products later – even with the use of artificial intelligence. Systems that are directed or controlled by algorithms increase efficiency and accuracy over time by training using real data. This is exactly the area where digital twins can accelerate things and improve them. This is because they not only exactly reflect the geometry and structure of their analog originals, but also behave in exactly the same way. Consequently, research and development will, for example, make greater use of simulations and rely less on tests using real prototypes. The digital twin will play a key role in this respect.
Read more about how Voith works in practice with digital twins.
Virtual reality and augmented reality in manufacturing and production processes
Modeling physical assets in virtual or augmented reality (VR and AR) does not just support industrial companies in developing new products. Simulating the operation of machines and systems specifically helps increase efficiency:
Extending machine run times, avoiding downtime and optimizing maintenance cycles. For example, maintenance can be planned in detail and in advance as early as the concept phase by using virtual models – this idea of augmented maintenance proves another example of the use of digital potential. These models can even be used for training purposes. Greater safety in serious real-world cases can be the outcome. When operating machines and systems, centrally located maintenance teams can support technicians on-site doing maintenance work or repairs by using virtual reality glasses.
Voith offers, through Papermaking 4.0, VR glasses for training purposes and to provide virtual support for augmented maintenance and repair, for example, for its paper machinery. Test it and go on a virtual tour of discovery for yourself.
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The future belongs to variety!
Cross-company platforms, joint development of products and services, secure exchange of knowledge and data: Variety, diversification and working beyond borders are part of Voith’s DNA as we know that no company can handle the great challenges presented by digital transformation alone. We stand shoulder-to-shoulder with our customers as a reliable partner providing a comprehensive range of consulting services and products.
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Voith GmbH & Co. KGaA
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