Internet of Business speaks with Malte Manke, CIO at industrial equipment maker KraussMaffei Group, about emerging needs and expectations among digitally savvy manufacturing companies.
“Don’t underestimate the readiness of manufacturing companies to implement IoT and digital technologies). Many are further down the road than you might imagine.”
That’s the message from Malte Manke, CIO at KraussMaffei Group, one of the leading manufacturers of plastic machines in the world.
Appointed to the role four months ago, Manke splits his time 50/50 between the traditional responsibilities of the head of IT and the newer demands of being a digital transformation pioneer at the company, assisting in the identification and development of new business models for KraussMaffei.
These new business models focus not just on making the company’s products more connected, but also building new services around the data that they produce. And customers are more than ready for them, according to Manke.
Ready and waiting
“We have many, many customers that are already thinking in very advanced ways about digital. They’re very much aware of IoT, of big data analytics, of predictive maintenance, 3D printing and so on. And, in many cases, they are already exploring how to deploy such technologies in ways that might make sense for their businesses.”
In that respect, the challenge for any supplier of industrial machinery, as he sees it, is keeping pace with customer needs and expectations. And here, he says, these companies can learn a great deal from the automotive sector – an industry in which he himself worked for the best part of two decades.
For many years, automotive companies have increasingly thought of the automobile as a piece of connected machinery that represents the focal point for an ecosystem of data-driven services. In-car telematics, after all, have led to the creation and collection of data that help drivers get the most from their vehicle and brings them into closer contact with manufacturers and dealers for vehicle maintenance, for example. Today, makers of industrial equipment are starting to think the same way, says Manke.
For example, around 2,500 customers worldwide are already using KraussMaffei’s Advanced Process Control machine function software products, APC and APC Plus, to control injection molding machines, enable them to adjust to recycled materials and lower material wastage rates. “APC and APC Plus are already installed in many customer sites and taking tons of data from KraussMaffei machines in their environment, to boost productivity and create new efficiencies,” says Manke.
For KraussMaffei, then, along with countless other industrial machinery specialists, one of the key factors in the coming years will be to anticipate manufacturing companies’ needs and, wherever possible, be one step ahead. Says Manke: “It’s all about spotting new possibilities, new opportunities for customers and working alongside them to make them a reality.”
Malte Manke will be a speaker at the Internet of Manufacturing event to be held 6 & 7 February 2018 in Munich, Germany. Attendees will get the chance to learn more about how connected technologies open up new paths to increased productivity and profitability for industrial companies.