Düsseldorf, July 24, 2017

Experience Industry 4.0

SMS group presents prototype for eService platform

At the Tube & wire 2016, plant owners were able to achieve a concrete idea of what the future holds with digital products and smart SMS group services.

The Service Division presented a functional prototype of an eService platform with integrated electronic spare parts catalog which provides a number of smart functions and thus accelerates maintenance and spare parts procurement, and ensures more flexibility and transparency for everyone involved in the process. Dr. Dirk Oedekoven, Vice President Technical Service, SMS group: “The visitors were impressed by our solution. On a concrete example of the exit guide of a peeling machine we could show which advantages can be offered by digitizing the service segment. It is a key module and SMS group is additionally working on further solutions.” Electronic spare parts catalogs – also with online availability – exist already a long time; the question therefore is: what exactly makes the new system of SMS group so special?

Design thinking fulfills customer needs

André Peschen, Production Manager Processes & eService and one of the responsible developers: “Our digital product provides significantly more advantages and more intelligent functions than has been the case to date. It already started during the development phase. During visits to customers special needs and pain points were identified with a radical user-focused approach. Design thinking enhances collaborative creativity to solve problems holistically and to the customer’s best advantage. Using this methodology a socalled rapid prototyping was possible and we are able to present initial approaches in the form of scribbles and click dummies. Consequently, we always maintained a close dialog with the customer throughout the entire development. Therefore, we could consider optimizations and customer ideas very specifically and at an early stage.”

One of the most important innovations of the SMS solution is that customers are able to determine the respective component directly on the machine and to receive key information on ET packages, etc. immediately. With a tablet PC you can scan the QR code on the component where the corresponding assembly group is directly displayed. André Peschen: “For identification, however, other technologies such as RFID technology or OCR recognition of writing are also usable.” The user may then select the respective component on the drawing. Depending on the selection, the associated bill of material is also directly displayed. Photos and other additional information help to identify the proper component more easily. At the same time, availability (for example in a consignment warehouse) and costs as well as delivery dates can be checked. Via the function of the shopping basket the spare part can of course also be ordered comfortably.

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1. It can be that simple in future: Scanned QR code of assembly group.
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2. A drawing of the respective assembly group appears on the iPad.
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3. Operator (maintainer) can only select desired parts – the parts list is automatically adapted.
Spare parts catalog that thinks along

André Peschen: “Naturally, the user may quickly locate the respective part via the tree-like menu. One special feature is that further parts which may be required for the spare parts are shown, for example suitable seals for a bush. In this way, the customer is directly provided with an overview of complete repair sets, saving on follow-up orders which cost valuable time.”

It can already be noticed that the new digital eService product of SMS group is fulfilling the requirements of different customers. For the test version various plants were mapped. Apart from the peeling lines, different cold pilger mills and even a complete wire rod mill were cataloged. For the latter, an adjoined consignment warehouse with all information was also generated in addition to the main plant. Since all plants of SMS group are structured individually, each customer using the service is able to reach his equipment on the platform via a personalized and protected area. The aim was to map a so-called “Full Bill of Material”, virtually the digital twin of the actual plant.

André Peschen explains the background: “This is one of the great challenges we can master using modern software tools. Via interfaces, we unite the often very heterogeneous data and drawings in a unified user interface. This was also one of the major requests of the customer who does not want to locate the spare parts from different sources and methods. We provide homogeneous information and drawings for each customer plant – inclusive of parts of our sub-suppliers. For a minimill this may quickly amount to several hundred thousand BOM items and numerous drawings interlinked with each other. It is about the same as customers are accustomed to from the usability in the private sector when shopping online. The customer does not see the complexity behind our eService, but it becomes much easier and faster for him to reach the goal.”

Integrable Service Products

Within the framework of Industry 4.0 and eService the electronic spare parts catalog is one of the first concrete digital products of SMS group. It is by no means only limited to mobile tablet use. At a later stage, the user shall have access to the protected online platform “my SMS group” using any terminal device – even via desktop. Following his identification with individual security mechanisms, any personified information is displayed to him. This means, the customer may control the access authorizations depending on the fields of activity, thereby also achieving a simplification in operation. Depending on the user, only the required modules are then displayed – at present, there are for example the subject areas “Equipment”, “Smart Alarm” and “Best Contact”. In the course of time, the modules shall be extended continually as digital products so that the entire service process is digitally mapped and supported.

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4. Wear or defective part can now be ordered with just one click and shopping basket function.
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5. Availabilities, delivery dates and documentation can be displayed.
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6. Those who wish advice may be connected with the corresponding expert with just one click.
First pilot projects for smart technology

Dr. Oedekoven: “With our service platform the customers have a central information access which they can use anytime and anywhere. User guidance is extremely simple due to smart technologies directing the customer to the right section respectively to the deposited information such as technical datasheets and operating manuals. Our digitization plan with eService at the Tube & wire was so convincing that the first pilot projects are going to start soon – together with the customer. I believe we thereby prove as SMS group that we are on the right track to build linked service intelligence and digital service transformation.”