For our member of the board the Gundlach Holding, symmedia CEO Peter Barkowsky participated in an interview about “The Internet of Machines”. The whole interview is now available here!
Dear Mr. Barkowsky, how should I imagine the business field of symmedia GmbH?
Most of our customers are machine manufacturers who use our software to offer demand-oriented service for their customers and machines around the world – just as if the customer were just around the corner. We call that the Internet of Machines.
What is this software solution like? What can it do?
Imagine a medium-sized machine manufacturer delivering 100 machines per year to 50 different countries. Modern, complex machines that cost a lot of money. In most countries, the employees who are to operate the machines are not as well trained as those in Germany are. There also is no infrastructure with spare parts storages and competent machine technicians. This often leads to expensive machines not bringing the performance they were bought for. Because the machine manufacturer cannot afford to have branches with competent technicians everywhere, it is impossible for him to perfectly support the customers. This may cause the customer to buy a simpler machine, e.g. from China, next time around. We have solved this problem: Our software will take the technology expert to the machine virtually. This way, the machine manufacturer can be successful on far-apart markets and also support the lucrative service business.
Does this have anything to do with the currently modern keyword Industry 4.0?
Networking of machines as it is possible with our software is not only of interest for the machine manufacturer. One current example: A large pharmaceutics manufacturer has received the networking solution for some machines from his machine suppliers – our customers. Now he wants to link not only those machines, but also all the others. This would make his maintenance even more efficient in all of his production factories. He can also use the data from the machine network to control his production better.
Is this the case at Gundlach as well?
Gundlach is always on the road to becoming more efficient, e.g. in production. Imagine that the machines would coordinate to improve the production process. Let’s listen in: Printer 1: Hey, printer 2, I don’t feel so well. I would like to reduce my output to 60 % or I’ll break. Can you ramp up your output? Printer 2: Sure, no big deal. I’ll let the paper supply and the central oil supply know and then we’ll do that.
That’s just a joke, isn’t it?
That’s an Industry 4.0 scenario. Networking gives production control access to exciting information. Productivity improvement and energy savings can be achieved under guarantee. We are currently examining this together with Gundlach.
At the same time, your software is also in demand in the area of digital signage.
Generally, we are specialists for safe networking of technical thoughts via the Internet. A retail branch or digital signage screens are like a machine in this respect. It was important for Gundlach to have a technical solution for Digital Signage. Since they are co-owners of symmedia, they asked us if symmedia would be able to develop the functions needed for Digital Signage in addition to the networking solution. Today, we have a solution at eye level with the market-leading Digital Signage software packages.
What is the customer structure of your company like? Where do you find your customers and where are they located?
Our customers are usually medium-sized and large machine manufacturers. They come into contact with products that have been produced on machines supported and optimized by our software symmedia SP/1 several times a day: Books, medication, TVs, cars, cigarettes, toys, bread rolls, banknotes, furniture, credit cards, floorings, lingerie and textiles in general, and a great many others. We work for the market leader or the second on the market in almost every mechanical engineering industry. Large automotive manufacturers are also among our customers. Our software is running on production systems in approx. 90 countries, on average 5,000 km away from Bielefeld.
That sounds like you are well ready for the future.
We have tripled our turnover in the last five years. But unfortunately we do not specialize in telling the future.