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Drives are everywhere

Digitalization in drive technology is an ideal entry into digitalization. You wonder why? Have fun reading!

I had just arrived at the airport. My head was full of excitement and expectations for my holiday in a country I´d never been to. But first I had to wait. Wait for my luggage in that arrival hall of the airport. After ten minutes I was bored. After twenty minutes I was annoyed. After half an hour a bodiless voice coming from a speaker announced there was a problem with the baggage handling system. “There is going to be a slight delay. We want to apologize for any inconvenience.” I thought ‘This is the reason, why digitalization in drive technology is useful. Necessary even.’ But let me start at the beginning…

Drives are everywhere. You don´t always see them, but they are an important part of machines, of production facilities or of baggage handling systems in airports.

Data for Digitalization

Digitalization needs data. Information is considered the fuel of digitalization. To get more flexibility, more efficiency and ultimately more productivity out of machines, production facilities and even airports, you need to know what they are doing. You need to know about the properties, the status and the behavior of your machines. And one easy way to get this information is – you guessed it – the drive train.

Drives are everywhere. It doesn´t really matter if you are producing cars or toothpaste or if you are transporting luggage. If you use a machine, there is some kind of drive inside. Digitalization of the drive train is connected closely to digitalization of your machines and your factories. However, since drives can generate a lot of data, drive technology represents an ideal entry into digitalization.

From design through commissioning up to servicing machines

Starting with design, planning and engineering, digitalization of the drive train helps machine builders to shorten the time-to-market of a machine. With a digital twin, a virtual representation of the drive train, they can simulate many possible scenarios and find out where problems or bottlenecks could arise. Through virtual commissioning based on behavior models and supported by our engineering and commissioning tools machine builders can shorten the commissioning time in the real world. And the data acquired during production can be captured and analyzed on industrial cloud-platforms. Through drive-based digitalization machine users can get fundamental data about the machine status and its performance and optimize their production accordingly. And it brings service one step closer to the factory – through consultation and implementation of digitalization solutions, predictive services and remote support.

With the help of a digital twin you can optimize your production – or the baggage handling system of an airport. And through predictive maintenance you can even predict, when a conveyor is going to fail.

Digitalization in drive technology at the airport

Now you are probably wondering what this has to do with my holiday. And – apart from me wallowing in memories of my holiday – an airport is a very good example of how digitalization can be used to increase your productivity and the happiness of your customers. First of all: depending on the size of the airport a baggage handling system can be quite complex. With the help of a digital twin you can optimize your strategy and minimize the bottlenecks during the engineering phase. Once you set up the handling system you can get a full and transparent overview of your system through the data from your drives and optimally use its capacity. And on top of this, with the right kind of analytics you can even predict when a conveyor in a baggage handling system is going to fail – before it happens.

The airport I landed at was old-fashioned. Without a baggage handling system that was supported by predictive maintenance applications. I had to wait for my luggage. Nevertheless, I had a fantastic holiday anyways.

P.S.: If you are interested to learn more about digitalization in drive technology we´d like to meet you at sps! Just visit Siemens at sps 2019 in Hall 11!