Mechanical engineering needs digital solutions
Posted to News on 20th Apr 2023, 15:46

Mechanical engineering needs digital solutions

Mechanical engineering needs digital solutions

At the Hannover Fair 2023, Lenze will show how engineering time can be saved, energy consumption reduced, and resources conserved throughout the entire machine life cycle through the concrete use of information technology (IT) and Smart Data, via its Nupano platform.

Mechanical and plant engineering is a driving force of the economy and keeps millions of people in work. But the economic situation is weakening, and high costs and pressure to innovate are presenting companies with enormous challenges. With its solutions, Lenze is addressing the demographics, digitalisation, and decarbonisation, and is relying on Smart Data and the open automation platform Nupano.

The economic success of machine builders is increasingly determined by their ability to differentiate themselves through additional digital offerings and new business models. “Those who don’t follow along will hand over growing revenue streams to software companies and gradually be relegated to being parts suppliers,” explains Werner Paulin, head of new automation technology at Lenze. Unfortunately, there is often a lack of appropriate IT and programming skills on the part of the mechanical engineering industry, especially on the part of SMEs.

This situation also concerns Friedhelm Drünker, head of development at a medium-sized mechanical engineering company. He has just advertised three development positions, but had just a single application. To stay ahead, Drünker is thinking of an AI-based app at the machine level that increases the energy efficiency of his machines. At the same time, he is at a loss as to how to equip his series machines with various apps and combine suitable versions.

Key for machine builders will be generating new revenue streams in the face of a worsening shortage of skilled workers. Supposedly open platforms, marketplaces and ecosystems are emerging among many suppliers. What they all have in common is that they generally do not solve Drünker’s problems. Because they do not allow him to integrate the company’s additional services into the machine and manage them.

This is where Lenze’s Nupano is different. “With the Nupano open automation platform, Lenze offers a key technology that does not even require IT knowledge to use. This clearly sets our platform apart from others in the market,” explains Annekatrin Konermann, Nupano product manager at Lenze.

Open IT standards and easy handling

Nupano allows machine builders to bring innovations into the machine and tap the potential of digitalisation at machine level for themselves. Lenze relies on open standards, simple handling, and maximum security to protect know-how. “During development, we worked according to ‘Security by Design’ right from the start, says Konermann. “The source code of the apps managed in Nupano always remains with the user. Users can make their apps publicly available but do not have to. You can still access public apps via the growing partner network.”

This also enables Drünker to work with any IT company and develop innovative, digital applications for its machines, independent of platform and hardware. Applications can be tested together on the platform, and a release workflow and lifecycle strategy are created for his customer's entire machine and plant fleet. “We provide lifecycle management for all apps and their versions. This is a major advantage of Nupano,” assures Paulin.

Machine and app management provides space for in-house applications and public software modules. “Our customers demand a competitive advantage from a platform. They don’t want to download public commodity apps,” says Annekatrin Konermann. Drünker’s team maintains control and oversight of the apps using Nupano lifecycle management. In addition, they can customise the apps on a machine without having to program (no code).

Efficient and sustainable machines

On Nupano, the customer now finds both – the applications and the overview of his machines as digital twins. By drag and drop, the user thus marries the OT with the IT world. “We have to bring the software modules into over 1,000 or more machines per year simply and efficiently, otherwise we don't deliver any added value for the customer,” Paulin emphasises. Via the digital twin in the system, the applications reach an industrial PC where they are executed.

Nupano shows that Lenze thinks holistically and combines operational technology (OT) with modern IT. Drünker also appreciates this. The open automation platform significantly increases the quality, productivity, sustainability, and efficiency of his machines.

Thanks to Lenze’s domain expertise and application know-how, Smart Data covers the entire life cycle of the machine – from efficient planning to implementation and safe operation to simple recycling. It is thus possible to plan and simulate complex processes and systems in a virtual environment to identify potential problems in advance or to optimize energy. For machine builders, this combination of OT and IT means less effort, less energy consumption – and more revenue.

Lenze Ltd

6 Abbey Court
Priory Business Park
Priory Business Park
MK44 3WH

+44 (0)1234 753200

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