» Dürr has a fantastic team, and I am very proud of them. For our digital@DÜRR strategy we need both colleagues with decades of experience and also fresh, innovative minds who can think outside the box. « RALF W. DIETER, CEO
The pump signals when it requires maintenance, the machine has data evaluated automatically, and the robot becomes a colleague by providing reliable support to workers. Capable of analyzing ever-increasing data packets and determining the necessary steps, intelligent technology is at the heart of Dürr’s development work. The Group has been promoting digitization for a number of years. This will become even more important, because global industry is facing a fundamental transformation.
In the business world, this new era is known as Industry 4.0. This term refers to a fourth groundbreaking development that is expected to take hold in factories around the world – steam engine, conveyor belt and microelectronics are now followed by intelligent networking. This is taking place at all levels, from the individual machine to the entire factory. Manufacturers, customers and suppliers are linked via a network through which they constantly exchange information.
There is great demand in industry: in a McKinsey study carried out in 2016, 44 percent of German companies interviewed stated that in the previous year they had made little or no progress in terms of Industry 4.0. However, almost all companies see this trend as an opportunity. They are looking for ways to increase productivity. They want systems that work faster, are available for longer, and require less maintenance. Dürr will support them in this.
Every Dürr innovation must offer customers a measurable added value and, above all, lower per-unit production costs. Machines and equipment must consume less energy and material, and make the production process more efficient and sustainable.
In 2017 Dürr will once again spend more than € 100 million on innovations. One focus is smart technology, which runs within a network and offers big data capability, i.e. it can collect and evaluate large volumes of data. This type of innovation comes under the digital@DÜRR strategy – a strategic concept which comprises the four areas presented above.
To offer even more efficient software solutions for the digital factory, Dürr acquired iTAC Software AG based in Montabaur, Germany, at the end of 2015. iTAC specializes in Industry 4.0 platforms for manufacturing execution systems and big data tracking. The software company is one of the leading suppliers in its field. This has been confirmed by the “Industry 4.0/IoT Vendor Benchmark 2017” study conducted by the Experton Group. The IT research company has ranked iTAC as one of the top five leaders with its iTAC.IoT.Suite platform. The software experts of Dürr and iTAC are working together on further developing this platform. They are now receiving support from Dresden-based software company DUALIS. This company became part of the Dürr Group at the end of 2016, because it operates in an up-and-coming field: the digital planning and simulation of production processes.
Dürr will continue to expand its service range in software, because smart Industry 4.0 platforms are the backbone of digital production. They will soon be part of everyday life in industrial companies around the world.
What role does the Industry 4.0 concept play for Dürr today?
Industry 4.0 plays a very important role, and we are well on our way. But it will remain my ongoing task to make sure the whole team understands the importance and the opportunities of digital transformation. This concept is nothing new for us; you might say it is part of our DNA. Nonetheless, it is essential to create awareness – both internally and externally. That’s why we set great store by this concept in our communications.
What is changing for employees in the Dürr Group?
Dürr has a fantastic team, and I am very proud of them. For our digital@DÜRR strategy we need both colleagues with decades of experience and also fresh, innovative minds who can think outside the box. Training and development is therefore particularly close to my heart. When trying to recruit new experts, our reputation as an attractive employer is especially important. And, last but not least: even the best expert is only as good as his tools, which is why we always have the latest technology available within the company, and we invest in digitization. One important factor here is that our people do not worry, and they have no reason to. They are curious and creative, and that’s a perfect combination.
What role will digitization, connectivity and automation – in short: Industry 4.0 – play for Dürr in ten years’ time?
I think we will have to pinch ourselves. The triumph of the Internet, smartphones etc. has given us a taste of things to come. The connectivity and intelligence of machines and factories will go on increasing. Companies that cannot keep up will regress, lose business, and they may not even survive at all in the market. Being a company group with a wealth of digitized production technologies, we are in an excellent position. We can share our expertise among us and thus drive markets. With the help of Dürr technology, our customers will have highly automated batch size 1 manufacturing systems, and enjoy the benefits of having their data link to us.
Is Industry 4.0 now turning Dürr into an IT company?
What use is the best software if the paint atomizer is poorly made? In our business, things never work without the perfect hardware. But it’s true that software is becoming more and more important. I see great potential for Dürr, especially when it comes to Industry 4.0 platforms, which is why we have acquired iTAC and DUALIS.
Will we see further IT acquisitions?
I would not rule out the possibility of further acquisitions to make us even stronger. But there is no doubt that our Industry 4.0 expertise is also an asset when looking for acquisitions in the mechanical and plant engineering sector. Smaller companies, in particular, often find it hard to build this level of expertise. The Dürr umbrella offers them perfect conditions for accelerating their digital business.