Terugblik Nederland als Partnerland in 2014. Wirtschafsreport in gesprek met Marco Siebert, directeur Internationale betrekkingen Hannover Messe.
Exclusief interview met Marc Siemering over Hannover Messe 2016.
Cutting development time in half
Softwareport, a collaborative project between three Dutch software specialists, promises to bring about a mechanical engineering revolution. “Our response to Industry 4.0 is to connect three different worlds together: high-level control, embedded software and virtual prototyping/simulation”, says Jeroen de Bruijn, Managing Director of the partner Festa Solutions. In practice, this means that Softwareport supports companies from the development of a machine through to control and integration in the overall operating procedure – all based on smart data usage. As such, the development time for machines can be cut in half, according to the software specialists.
“There are lots of software providers developing standard solutions, but that’s not what we’re about. Our customers want something special, something that no one else has”, says De Bruijn, explaining the concept behind Softwareport. What exactly does that mean in practice? According to the Managing Director, a lot of embedded software is being written as part of current developments along the path towards Industry 4.0. These are programmes which can be used to control machines.
“However, there are hardly any solutions in the high-level segment. What I mean by that is concepts that take into account the overall needs at a company, from machine development with the aid of simulation and prototyping through to its control and the integration of all relevant data in production mode. And that’s exactly what our unique concept is.”
For years now Industry 4.0 has been this sector’s magic word and in Germany there is even a government-initiated platform for it. But what does Industry 4.0 mean for manufacturing companies? What role does new software play? “Until recently, many companies were still sceptical and reticent. However, we have been slowly seeing a change in attitude”, says De Bruijn about recent developments. The industry has started to recognise the importance of smart digitisation and data usage.
A new way of thinking
The mechanical engineering process is being turned on its head: “It used to be that the machine would be developed first and then control software would be written for it. These days, the results of simulations and virtual prototyping determine how machines look. This means that the development time can be considerably shortened. It requires a completely new way of thinking from designers and engineers”, says the Managing Director.
The embedded software, which controls a machine and determines cooperation with other processes, is based on the results of the virtual prototyping. All that is missing then is the overriding high-level executive code with which all data at the company and in production is gathered and smartly controlled.
Data as a production factor
Companies need to react to this development with new strategies. “The first thing is investment planning. When companies spend money it usually goes on machines, processes or staff. Yet data has recently become a decisive production factor. But who invests in data?” He feels that there is still a lot of catching up to be done here.
De Bruijn acknowledges that this is not a new approach. However, according to him, it has so far only been adopted at a basic level and by large corporations keen to achieve user loyalty as a result. However, according to De Bruijn, based on their experiences the manufacturing companies would rather steer clear of being so dependent. “And that’s where we come in: we provide these solutions independently. This means that our applications can be combined with any hardware and can run on all major technology platforms.” That apparently makes Softwareport extremely attractive, especially for German SMEs. It has been a long time coming, but now it is time for a software revolution…
How did Softwareport actually come about? “We are a member of the Dutch collaborative initiative Brainport Industries, which includes a cluster of 30 companies that write high-tech software. That’s how we met two partners which were the perfect match for us. And that’s how Softwareport came about.” In addition to Festa Solutions, the collaborative group consists of Unit040 and Cordis Suite. Customers include Philips, Wärtsilä and Ventilex.
Contact person: Jeroen de Bruijn
High Tech Campus 9
5656 AE Eindhoven, The Netherlands
Hall 4, Niederländische Gemeinschaftstand