With its digital initiatives, Schaeffler will do more than merely use data to generate more added value for itself. It is using its digital service offerings to develop new, market-ready business models. This comprehensive approach encompasses five areas of focus.
The actual value of data comes from interpretation. We are concentrating on expanding the integration of sensors into our existing products as well as developing new products with integrated cognitive software. Those products are able to evaluate sensor data on site and act immediately via actuators – for example, in the electrified drive train of a car or in an intelligent machine tool. In our research we are focusing on self-learning technical systems that permanently optimize their control behavior through the acquired data.
The networked production of the future continuously optimizes itself by means of intelligent machines that communicate with each other. Schaeffler does not only assume a leading role during the development of intelligent components and digital services but also during their application in their own manufacturing plants. We greatly benefit from this: Not only will the machines and transport infrastructure within the production environment at Schaeffler be connected, but individual plants will also be digitally linked to the whole supply chain. In practice we can see which improvements in productivity are possible with the enhanced network of our machines and equipment, and we rapidly pass on this knowledge to a learning organization.
Business processes of the future are shaped by the fact that obtained data without media disruptions can be used everywhere in the company, whether it’s for Logistics in Production or for Maintenance. We consider it our duty to ensure that our customers have consistent use of the data that are generated by Schaeffler products and therefor create new service-oriented processes. At the same time, we are further digitalizing and optimizing our own processes, for example by providing an increasing number of components already in manufacturing with an unmistakable identification number with which the complete product life cycle can be traced.
We are constantly working to offer significant added value for our customers. Our aim is to connect data from across products and processes. Using analytics we turn this primary data into valuable insight which is used to increase the efficiency of our operations and develop innovative services for our customers. Today’s technology makes it possible to identify imminent mechanical damage at such an early stage that preventive maintenance work must no longer be carried out in accordance with a certain machine operating time but as and when required. This prevents downtimes and increases the productivity of our customers.
People also play a decisive role in the digital world. He uses online software from Schaeffler in order to design bearings for a new machine. Or if a maintenance engineer wants to get an idea of the condition of a production facility before a meeting at the customer’s premises. This is why we are concentrating intensively on the appearance of optimum operator and user interfaces and we are developing further expertise in this area.