Industry 4.0: cooperation instead of competition

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On the one hand, the resources and often the courage to try something New are missing. On the other hand, there is a lack of experience and money. But if SMEs and start-UPS, Large.

The sort of curved aluminum is a time consuming task tubes. As Reinhold Ziewers, managing Director of the machine Builder’s ACE in Overath near Cologne in Germany, workers are observed as they completed this preliminary work for a robot, he made a decision: “Our robots have to learn to see!”

Ziewers, whose company is building ACE for 30 years, hands and arms for robots, in search of a supplier of 3D cameras and systems for industrial image processing. In the case of the company, Isra Vision, Darmstadt, Germany, he was able to find. The two medium-sized companies got together, the ACE programmed the interface between the camera and a Yaskawa robot and developed a new gripping hand.

After six months of cooperation, the Innovation was done, since by the end of 2018, it is at the S. M. A. Metalltechnik in Backnang, a specialist for high-density lines, in use. Be used this leads, among other things, in air conditioning systems for the automotive industry. Ziewers: “The robot picks up the bulk material in the transport container, the individual pieces and places them in the feed device of the machine tool. The process is now fully automated and is thus the Basis for the production in the framework of industry 4.0.”

Thus, the sort can and the tubes are now accurately tracked. Companies can meet international certification requirements. The benefit of Ziewers in its subsidiaries in the United States. “Our customers can document that we produce in the United States, according to the same criteria as in this country.”

Cooperation recommended

New business models to break down existing structures, and new digitalized products and services, markets change. For SMEs this is often a difficult task to carry out. A possible solution to a cooperation in the digital field with a different medium-sized or small company is.

The “Bin Picking”-the project of ACE (150 employees) and Isra (680 employees) is an example of this, says Peter Russo, Director of Innovation at the consulting company, Goetzpartners: “The development of new products or services will be simplified, if one brings together the different Strengths of two or more companies.”

Reinhold Ziewers, managing Director, was clear: “Our robot must learn to see!”

Also, the scientists of the Alexander von Humboldt Institute for Internet and society (HIIG) keep a lot of cooperation. In particular, joint projects of SMEs and start-UPS were “for the German economy is of great importance,” said Martin Wrobel, one of the authors of a HIIG study. The plus points are obvious: “The medium-sized companies gain access to new technologies and can develop innovative business models that Startups grow faster, because they first references and access to customers and distribution networks of the Established win.”

Important: Clear Definitions

Preparation is the A and O in the case of such partnerships, according to Peter Russo. This means that the partners adjust attitudes to your expectations. The Reinhold Ziewers confirmed: “tasks and goals must be clearly defined, only then a common start of a project is useful.”

ACE wants to sell his Innovation for many companies, Isra earned on each Deal. The project investment of about 200,000 euros, financed by the development Bank of the Indus, the Holding of the ACE,. Thus, companies such as ACE can compete in the Innovation race. Ziewers: “This opportunity and the network of 45 investment companies to strengthen us as an SME to survive against the Big one.”

Fear of cyber attacks

The medium-sized shoulder-to-shoulder is not a matter of course. According to a survey of IT industry Association Bitkom, more than 60 percent of small and medium-sized companies in Germany have no contact with Startups. However, the frequency of cooperation with the size of the medium-sized company is on the rise. “Fear of security vulnerabilities is often the reason for such a Hesitation,” says Philipp Durz, data security expert at consulting firm DXC Technology in Böblingen.

Nevertheless, he observed in mechanical engineering and in the service industry, a strong willingness to cope with partner companies, digitisation projects. “The stronger the competitive pressure, the greater the need, with new digital business models from the competition.”

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Durz has just brought for machine builders, a security platform on the way to take all the doubters, the Wind out of the sails – keyword: industry 4.0. For the automated maintenance of machines, for example, a lot of new interfaces. Durz: “Each additional interface is a risk factor.” Therefore, the comprehensive protection of the network transitions, and a continuous Monitoring of the production network, are becoming more and more important.

Many of the systems are due to their age and “vulnerable,” warns Durz. However, he has developed together with the Israeli Startup Cyber X protection. Production networks are monitored for vulnerabilities scans and at the same time. The production environment is new, and, most importantly, safely configured. So attacks can be blocked. “A medium-sized company, the hedge, is at the same time for more collaborations to communicate,” says Durz.

Like in the Disco

Sometimes a medium-sized company, not a Startup into the house, because he can be what he wants to change, alone. This happened at the logistics service provider Hellmann: in Order to make an Online order is ready for dispatch, it took the company earlier scanners, in which the employees reading off, in which carton the goods. The cost of time.

And if he can only “see”, then, of course, Blecharm can sort ” – ” screws. And a lot, save a lot of money …

In 2017, the town got to know about the urban University, the founder of the Startup Symbic, just wondered how you could use the light technology from Nightclubs in the logistics. After a year of research, development, and many Meetings of technicians and intra-logistics experts, the System Logistic Lights.

The trick: Attacking a member of staff today has an article that leads him to a ray of light coming from a Spot on the ceiling to the box in which the piece belongs. Hellmann-COO Robert Bommers: “We have achieved a time savings of five seconds per designated article.” 27 work in a day 20,000 pieces.