We made an interview with Georg Stausberg, CEO of Oerlikon Manmade Fibers segment and Jochen Adler, CTO. They describe the exciting path the Oerlikon Manmade Fibers segment is embarking on to create new digital products and services with superlative customer benefits.
Mr Stausberg, do you remember taking your first steps into the new Digital Age?
Digital technology has invaded every aspect of our lives, be this in our homes or in our modern cars. About four years ago, the latter resulted in our company starting to consider how we could create additional customer benefits using artificial intelligence. Automobiles are today increasingly differentiating themselves from each other more by means of digital assistance systems than through classical transmission or chassis technology. We want to become the textile machine construction trendsetter for technologies of this kind.
What have you done to successfully achieve this in collaboration with colleagues and customers?
We decided to set up an international project group two years ago. In discussions with research institutes, companies from various sectors, in-house experts and numerous customers, the group developed concrete ideas and analyses on which digital products and solutions could be interesting for our customers and what customer benefits could be generated with these. The result is numerous ideas When putting together and organizing the project team, we also tested new forms of collaboration, which have proven to be effective and are now being rolled out in other divisions of the company.
Can you elaborate a little on these new forms of collaboration?
Agility is an absolute prerequisite for an organization to be successful. Our project group has been able to organize itself and had to interact with a functional steering committee. Two of the representatives from China and India which are the most important markets did join us. To this end, we were able to include local aspects early on. Departmental boundaries have to disappear when developing digital products. The Development, IT, Customer Services and Operations departments can only develop multifunctionally-interesting digital solutions if they work together.
Mr Adler, you have been CTO since 2017. What have you done to master digital transformation?
Very much in line with our ‘We drive the markets’ maxim, we are once again ramping up the speed. This means that we have established and expanded digital pacemakers on the basis of our product and service portfolio and tried-and-tested innovation processes.
What can your customers now expect ‘digitally’ from Oerlikon?
I would say the digital refinement of our machines and production systems for manufacturing yarns, fibers, nonwovens along the textile value chain. Here, our pledge is: value-added beyond our excellent hardware. We want to further optimize the efficiency of the systems and the quality of the end products with digital solutions. True to our e-save philosophy, our mission is to protect the environment and to promote the sustainability of our solutions. For this, we are deploying the knowhow of our newly-integrated partner AC-Automation – which specializes in large-scale systems automation, transport, packaging and warehouse logistics and end product automated quality control. We combine this with our process competencies and digital data handling using our Plant Operation Center, or POC in short. This has created innovative Industrie 4.0-solutions for our customers – with integrated storage and communication capabilities, wireless sensors, embedded actuators and intelligent software systems. In turn, this allows us to build bridges between data and material flows and between the virtual and real worlds.
Mr Stausberg, what aspects of this will your customers already be able to see at the ITMA Barcelona in Spain 2019?
At our fair stand we will be offering our visitors a digital experience. Here, we will be deploying playful solutions to present the topic of artificial intelligence. We will be taking our 360-degree and augmented-reality applications as well as our virtual showroom with us, to allow visitors to experience complex systems live in 3D.