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MediaService Digital Industries Newsroom

Shaping the future together – Schaeffler and technology partner Siemens forge ahead with digital transformation

Schaeffler's special machinery department supplies equipment to all Schaeffler plants worldwide. (Photo: Schaeffler)

Choice of applications? Identified. Digital transformation objectives? Defined. Basic technical questions? Answered. Schaeffler is already making significant progress on the path to digitalization and is well prepared. The company is currently addressing key topics such as Arbeitswelt 4.0 (Working Environment 4.0) or ”New Work”, achieving a comprehensive data model through standardization, and end-to-end communication, as well as plant and process handling and safety. There is obviously a great deal to do. Siemens has already been acting as Schaeffler’s technical and service partner in this area for 30 years. Siemens supports Schaeffler with implementation support for digitalization measures and identification of other optimization opportunities.

Digitalization champions in Schaeffler’s special machinery department: Holger Auernheimer (left), Stefan Soutschek (right)

Intelligent machines and integrated solutions

On the technical front, the focus is on communication between humans and machines, as well as other items. In the future, machines will display intelligent solutions rather than error messages. The ideal solution would obviously be “if the machines could optimize themselves through an adaptive parameterization in such a way that problems do not even occur,” says Stefan Soutschek, co-responsible for digital transformation at Schaeffler. In addition to this, the intention is to focus more on a ‘user-oriented approach’ instead of ‘by engineers, for engineers’; the same applies for modularization and component interconnectivity. This requires a company-wide and therefore global standardization of processes, components, and connectivity in order to avoid an unmanageable number of implementations. Schaeffler has used integrated and complementary solutions to achieve this such as a communications processor (CP 1545-1) for a new machine with Simatic S7-1500 or an industrial IoT (Internet of Things) gateway such as the new Simatic CloudConnect 7 for existing machines.

Security is essential

While connectivity and consistency of communication are important, this should not be at the expense of plant and data security. In fact, the opposite is true as it is becoming more and more important in order to guarantee confidentiality, integrity, and authenticity of systems and data. Schaeffler is also benefiting in this respect from its partnership with Siemens, for example, the latter’s product development process for network components is TÜV certified.

Quicker, more reliable, less expensive

Predictive maintenance and predictive quality are key topics when dealing with plants. Predictive maintenance means significantly shorter commissioning times, scheduled maintenance intervals, and the virtual elimination of downtime can all be achieved using simulations and digital twins. According to Holger Auernheimer, one of Stefan Soutchek’s colleagues, the potential savings from virtual commissioning are currently already 20 percent and this is set to improve. With Predictive Quality, it is possible to assess product quality using data collected during operation which removes the need for final product inspection.
MediaService application reports may be based on previously published Siemens technical articles.

Contact

Ursula Lang

Digital Industries

Gleiwitzer Str. 555
90475 Nuremberg
Germany

+49 (911) 895-7947