Automation Canada - Cables & Connectors Issue - 25

DIGITALISATION OF PRODUCTION SYSTEMS:
GETTING SMART WHILE KEEPING OUT OF
HARM'S WAY?
BY JACOB DUECK, GLOBAL INDUSTRY SEGMENT MANAGER, HARTING
When embarking on their digitalisation / IIot course, machine and
plant manufacturers are often unsure how to approach things, which
steps come first, which can wait and which may be entirely superfluous.
This article sums up the current experiences of mechanical engineering
customers of the HARTING Technology Group and shows how this
important but also tremendously multifaceted topic can be mastered.
The topics of digitalisation / IIoT of production systems are
omnipresent in the general reporting media, as well as featuring heavily
in the specialist media. More and more new keywords are emerging in
the process. Companies such as Amazon, Uber & Co. are often cited as
examples, demonstrating to the whole world how digitalisation
strategies can be used to achieve economic success through the
consistent digitalisation of online trade and logistics (Amazon) or
through the digitally mediated use of existing resources (Uber).
Consequently, OEMs of capital goods are also asking themselves: Can
we achieve similarly rapid success with digitalisation, and if so, how?
First of all, the topics of digitalisation / IIoT (Industrial Internet of
Things) for production systems need to be further narrowed down. We
will consider possible digitalisation steps along the typical machine
lifecycle (VDMA), or more precisely: only those measures that relate to
products, services or other performances that can be offered to an end
user. We will not consider entirely new technologies and business
models which are technically conceivable, but currently have no legal
framework (such as " Machine-to-Machine Order & Payment " , for
example).
One fundamental aspect should be mentioned in advance. Some

C A N A D I A N A U TO M AT I O N

experts question whether digitalisation and IIoT technologies in
mechanical and plant engineering have any potential at all to bring
about fundamental or even disruptive changes in existing business
models. As the author, business angel and former CTO of IBM, Dr.
Gunter Dueck, comments in this context: " When the Deluge comes,
build ships, not dikes ... Are we building ships to set sail to the digital
future continent? That would mean that we are looking for digital
innovations that would shape our new age " . The study " Digitalisation in
Mechanical Engineering " by the Hans Böckler Foundation in 2018 sizes
things up in more concrete terms and quotes an expert from a German
company: " We will definitely remain mechanical engineers and not
become a software house. But we need software and networking to sell
our machines better and make sure that they remain attractive. Based on
digitalisation, we want to help customers to solve their problems better.
Above all, we want to leverage the digital potentials to ensure that no
one comes between us and our customers. This is a forward strategy,
coupled with a hedging strategy, so that no disruptor - Amazon, Google,
Microsoft or similar players - ends up alienating us from our customers " .
In the final instance, competitive pressure leaves OEMs for capital
goods no other option: they must face up to the emerging
digitalisation!
So it is not a question of whether, but how. The current state of
digitalisation and the necessary priorities in mechanical and plant
engineering, however, are assessed quite differently by the parties
involved. The IMPULS Foundation of the VDMA, for example,
summarised the state of affairs in the foreword to a 2016 study as

VOLUME 3, ISSUE 2

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https://www.harting.com/CA/en https://www.harting.com/CA/en

Automation Canada - Cables & Connectors Issue

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Automation Canada - Cables & Connectors Issue

Automation Canada - Cables & Connectors Issue - 1
Automation Canada - Cables & Connectors Issue - 2
Automation Canada - Cables & Connectors Issue - 3
Automation Canada - Cables & Connectors Issue - 4
Automation Canada - Cables & Connectors Issue - 5
Automation Canada - Cables & Connectors Issue - 6
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Automation Canada - Cables & Connectors Issue - 42
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