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Service and after-sales: new business cases through collaboration

IoT Use Case - Kontron AIS + Rampf + ruhlamat
5 minutes Reading time
5 minutes Reading time

In the digital age, companies in the mechanical and plant engineering sector are facing the challenge of transforming their business models and increasingly focusing on digital services. This change is particularly evident in the service and after-sales area. Partnerships such as that between the industrial software specialist Kontron AIS and the medium-sized mechanical engineering companies ruhlamat and RAMPF show where the journey can take us.

The challenge: Inefficient customer communication in after-sales

Cooperation between machine builders and end customers is often more of a classic supplier-customer relationship than a genuine partnership of equals. However, the requirements of plant operators are changing: they no longer just expect highly productive machines, but also minimal maintenance so that they can concentrate on their core business. An “all-round carefree package” is desired: a plant that simply operates and precise instructions on when maintenance is to be carried out and which spare parts are required.

The classic approach to customer communication in after-sales is reaching its limits here. To ensure high productivity and thus minimize unplanned downtimes, the trend is moving towards remote maintenance and predictive maintenance. Traditional communication methods between the customer and service, such as sending smartphone photos of the plant by email, are still common, but they are inefficient and often lead to unnecessary additional work for the service team. However, greater efficiency often fails today due to a lack of bilateral data exchange between customer and manufacturer.

The solution: EquipmentCloud® digitalization solution

Two companies that have recognized the need for more efficient, digital solutions and have successfully implemented these challenges are ruhlamat and RAMPF Machine Systems.

Ruhlamat is a manufacturer of highly complex special-purpose machines for a wide range of applications. Customers receive everything from a single source, from the machine concept to on-site service. The product portfolio ranges from automation systems and assembly systems for the automotive, medical technology and alternative energy sectors to card and passport systems for personalizing high-security documents and packaging systems for banknotes.

As a customer solution for the production and personalization of ID cards, chip cards and passports, ruhlamat uses a casting system from RAMPF Machine Systems, among others. The company develops and produces innovative machine beds and frame components from high-performance materials.

Ruhlamat aims to supply its customers with a system that ensures productivity after commissioning. In order to reduce service and documentation costs and improve customer communication, the two partners ruhlamat and RAMPF have decided to work with Kontron AIS and implement its EquipmentCloud© digitalization solution. For more than 30 years, the Dresden-based company has been offering innovative, flexible and reliable software solutions for factory and production automation as well as plant integration and control.

The EquipmentCloud® digitalization solution was developed specifically for the digital transformation in mechanical and plant engineering. The cloud-based customer portal facilitates efficient project communication and the possibility of agile development, enabling innovations for global customer service of companies. Data security is always a high priority. The platform offers users interactive modules tailored to mechanical engineering and enables rapid commissioning. This allows customers to access relevant and up-to-date information, documentation and master data for the respective project or plant via an intuitive user interface, thereby making internal workflows more efficient. A dashboard with dynamic widgets further enhances the user-friendliness of the customer portal.

The EquipmentCloud® has eleven modules such as document management (eDocs), master data management (EquipmentHub) including a journal and an OpenIssues module for orchestrating open tasks, which can be used to replace conventional Excel forms, for example.

The workflow module is used for process optimization and milestone planning of projects with digital checklists. Changes to documents, open tasks or direct links to master data and upcoming deadlines for all instances are visible at a glance. Automatic e-mail notifications by subscribing or assigning responsible persons ensure that project participants are always up to date and can act proactively.

The EquipmentCloud® is integrated into the existing system via the REST web standard or via interfaces such as OPC UA, PLC/S7 or MQTT via an IoT gateway.

The result: More transparency for the customer - new business cases for the manufacturer

With the help of the EquipmentCloud® from Kontron AIS, the partners ruhlamat and RAMPF can offer their customers systems that go hand in hand with efficient customer and project communication and services thanks to the cloud connection. Unexpected failures and thus downtime can be avoided in this way, and productivity can be sustainably increased. Critical is the bilateral data exchange between machine manufacturers and users, as well as comprehensive data analysis or evaluation. It is becoming clear that the future lies not only in the machines themselves, but also in the way in which companies work together, exchange data and drive innovation.

At the same time, the integration of IoT functionalities enables medium-sized plant manufacturers like ruhlamat and RAMPF in the service and after-sales area to develop new business cases towards predictive maintenance.

In application

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