Mönchengladbach, January 12, 2021

Intelligent services and new business models

Equipment-as-a-service for digital products, services and production equipment

Our business areas Technical Service, Digitalization and Electrical and Automation Systems have seen continuous growth during the last few years. Permanent exchange and regular intermeshing between these three areas has led to increasingly sophisticated smart products and services that open up opportunities for new business models that provide long-term added value for the plant operators in the form of enhanced plant performance, and optimized operating and maintenance costs.

Digitalization – enabler for new service solutions

At SMS group, the new-plants and service business areas work hand in hand. As Leading Partner, SMS group’s goal is to provide its customers maximum support during the complete life cycle of their plants and machines and come up with suitable and efficient solutions whenever new challenges arise. During the last few years, SMS group has developed, and is continuously expanding, a comprehensive service portfolio, especially by adding smart, digital solutions. 

Genius CM® - The condition monitoring system for metallurgical plants.

Digitalization has a tremendous effect not only on our new-plants business, but also on our approach to maintenance, which is closely linked with our service business. As a matter of course, the vision of the Learning Steel Plant also encompasses maintenance as an essential area. As early as years ago, SMS group established digitalization technology as a key entity within its organization and has expanded its digital service offer ever since. The Smart Maintenance & Asset Health Solutions comprise a whole host of products, from eDoc (electronic equipment documentation) to the IMMS (Integrated Maintenance Management System) and the Genius CM® (Condition Monitoring) system, from Smart Alarm to the 24/7 service hotline through to Automation Remote Support. Our energy management solutions round out our strong service portfolio.The SMS group-developed Data Factory assures effective correlations between the various service solutions and provides the platform for the smart use and efficient evaluation of the captured data. All this is based on the SMS group-developed X-Pact® automation solutions. These solutions contain specific, technological functions, models and assistance systems, all of which reduce process control and plant operation activities to a minimum while enabling maximum  product quality. By making optimal use of the data provided by the X-Pact® automation systems and supported by Artificial Intelligence, predictive models help to enhance plant availability, improve product quality and reduce operating and maintenance costs. 

SMS group continuously adds new digital  products to its range of Smart Maintenance & Asset Health Solutions in close cooperation with SMS digital, a main focus being on realtime condition monitoring and predictive maintenance using Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning capabilities.

Performance-dependent billing models forge partnerships
Roll shops are a typical example for technical outsorcing services

The world over we see an increasing number of all-in maintenance packages handled by service providers present right at the operators’ production facilities or in their workshops. SMS group has responded to this trend by providing Technical Outsourcing Services. Under this business model SMS group takes over a wide range of services, including all maintenance activities of complete plants. During their maintenance missions, the local SMS group teams can – if necessary – at any time call on expert support via the international 24/7 hotline and on Remote Support by automation and technology specialists from the global SMS group network. In this way, the SMS group teams ensure with their know how that the customers’ plants are always in an optimum state, while boosting availability and reducing maintenance costs. This gives plant operators extra time to concentrate fully on the production and the marketing of their products. 

SMS group also offers performance-dependent billing models, for online and offline maintenance of continuous casting machines and the operation of roll shops, for example. In performance-based service agreements, the amounts payable depend on how well the agreed performance targets have been hit. Possible performance indicators are production volumes or plant availability, for  example. As SMS group guarantees the achievement of the specified performance targets under this service model, SMS group also shares the plant operation risk. This gives customers the security  that they have a partner at their side who is definitely willing to support them in being successful. Numerous references demonstrate SMS group’s expertise in this field and the successful
implementation of this model. The fact that longstanding customers have been regularly prolonging the agreements is proof of their satisfaction with this service model and has led to service partnerships lasting for more than a decade.

Intensified focus on value adding with Equipment-as-a-Service

Customers have also been looking increasingly for options to reduce capital investments and the amount of tied-up capital, while concentrating their assets on their core value-adding activities. For these customer requirements, SMS group offers models under which the customers no longer buy the components, machinery or ancillary equipment from SMS group, but use them within the  framework of a service package. These Equipment-as-a-Service models are made up of enhanced customized service packages. In addition to providing  common services, these models may also include services aimed at optimizing operating processes in addition to a comfortable payper-use financing model. Thus the customers can avoid high capital investments in production equipment. Instead they can conclude long-term service agreements in which performance targets are specified and the services are billed as performance-dependent operating costs.

The powder atomization plant for Outokumpu will be the example of a Equipment-as-a-Service contract.

Most recently, SMS group has entered into an Equipment-as-a-Service contract for a powder atomization plant with Outokumpu: while SMS group will remain the owner of the plant, Outokumpu, as operator of the plant, will pay SMS group pro rata of the quantity of stainless steel powder produced. SMS group is working on expanding the applicability of this model to other areas: ring rolling machines, for example, or components such as coiler mandrels in flat rolling mills, or even complete hydraulic systems for production  plants and machinery, and, last but not least, essential electrical and automation solutions. The customers trust in SMS group because they know they can always rely on SMS group providing optimum solutions for their requirements. With the Equipment-as-a-Service business model, SMS group can provide tailormade solutions that create a win-win situation for both partners.