Digital into the future
Digital experiences made by Blumenbecker
Improving procedures, working more efficiently and more safely, developing new products and services, providing added value to customers: these are issues that concern every sector of industry.
The Intranet Community
"If we are still to be successful in 20 years’ time we will have to embrace and understand technological development and adapt it for the Blumenbecker agenda", explains Group Managing Director Dr Wolfgang Fink in assessing the need to confront digital innovation head-on. Since 2016 Blumenbecker's intranet system has hosted a › digitisation community ‹ whose aim is to bring together the accumulated knowledge of the various business units based at more than 30 different sites inside and outside Germany. This provides a platform where all those who want to help shape digital progress within the wider company can exchange information with like-minded colleagues and set up interdisciplinary working groups. Regular workshops are held where these ›digital champions‹ can keep each other informed of the status of ongoing projects.
Digital Experience Day: Experiencing tomorrow's technology first-hand
The ›digital champions‹ held their first Digital Experience Day in the summer of 2017. The 50 participants were able to immerse themselves in future technologies and experience in-house digitisation projects first-hand. Some well-known partners were recruited for the event, including the Fraunhofer Institute, which was represented along with two technical highlights – flying drones and the HoloLens Package station.
Video Digital Experience Day in Iserlohn
» We want to integrate as many of our staff members as possible into the digitisation process, to constantly expand their horizons and give them fresh impetus. «
Digital Experiences with the Wow factor
Participants were able to witness short demonstrations at the individual workstations and even get in on the action themselves. Points of contact were quickly established around a number of themes of interest. How does it feel to wear data goggles to help with wrapping and packaging or to receive instructions on repairing machinery? What kind of work can flying drones undertake? What can artificial intelligence do? How can a clip-on exo-skeleton make physical work easier? There was plenty of knowledge and inspiration to be had in respect of these and other future-related topics. "We want to integrate as many of our staff members as possible into the digitisation process, to constantly expand their horizons and give them fresh impetus" says Dr Fink in explaining the strategy now in place for the digital future. » And both Group-wide and transnational exchanges are also important in this respect «, emphasises Astrid Blumenbecker, a majority shareholder in the Blumenbecker Group. "This is the only way to avoid inventing the wheel all over again."
Four examples from more than 20 digitisation projects
Solutions from the 3D printer
End caps with the Blumenbecker logo, individually designed nameplates, handling objects for robot training sessions, safety covers for use when repairing welding robots, chopping devices for a cable-duct saw: Blumenbecker is finding more and more uses for 3D printing technology. And all members of staff are being invited to ask themselves how 3D printing can make their workplaces more secure and operating processes more straightforward.
Building management technology
The energy needs of Blumenbecker Automatisierungstechnik's new production shop have been controlled by a building management system since 2015. Decisions such as › turn down heating ‹ and › open windows ‹ are no longer taken by the staff but by the management system's central command centre. The facility also has an automatic lighting control system that is governed by external light levels. Sensors are used to measure how much light is entering the building from outside and how high the proportion of artificial light has to be to provide a satisfactory level of illumination.
The Smart Dolly is Blumenbecker Technik's answer to the digital future of baggage transport. The on-board tracking system spells an end to unnecessary searches. A quick glance of the system is all that is needed to know exactly where the dolly is on the airfield. You can also identify at any time which dolly is loaded up and which is empty. Moreover, each dolly can be assigned its own workload profile so that servicing work is only done when it is really needed.
B+M Blumenbecker introduced paperless accounting in 2010. Since then the company has digitally recorded more than one million documents a year. This means that less storage space, less paper, less toner and fewer printers are required. Going digital instead of using paper not only protects the environment but also saves 60 to 80 percent of the costs. Staff no longer have to painstakingly search out documents and now have immediate access to the information they need.