Economic success in machine manufacturing increasingly depends on a company’s ability to stand out from the rest by offering additional digital services. “Anyone who doesn’t do this will lose growing streams of revenue to software companies, and gradually find themselves reduced to being a supplier of parts,” says Werner Paulin, head of new automation technology at Lenze.
The automation specialist intends to use NUPANO to give the machine manufacturing industry the means to take full advantage of the opportunities that come from the convergence of operational technology (OT) at the machine control level with the endless possibilities of modern IT, thereby tapping into new sources of revenue. Lenze’s NUPANO platform offers open standards and easy handling, and it deploys the highest standards of security to safeguard industrial expertise.
As Lenze’s experts have observed over the last few years, many companies would like to have digital business models for their machines and systems. “This is true of all sectors, from intralogistics to line automation,” says Paulin. “They often have the right ideas, but there is a lack of knowhow, of skilled personnel, and in some cases a lack of technological understanding for new business models.”
The platform’s machine and app management system contains both in-house applications and public software modules. But the main focus is clear: “Our customers expect a platform to provide them with a competitive edge, they don’t want to download public commodity apps,” explains Paulin. Such apps are available on Lenze’s platform, but they are not the main source of value creation for the machine manufacturer.
For many companies, revenues from digital services are not yet a reality. “Typically, they sell a machine and hope to see the customer again in fifteen years. This revenue is brought in once and, in many cases, there is no recurring revenue yet,” Paulin says. Lenze wants to change that with NUPANO.
Cutting-edge companies that have already developed their own apps can simply upload them to the platform. This is made possible by NUPANO’s open standard. Applications can be tested together on the platform, and a release workflow and a lifecycle strategy are created for the customer’s entire machine park. “We immediately supply a lifecycle management system for all the apps and their versions, and we use open IT standards. That is a great advantage of this platform,” says Paulin.
A crucial factor for success in the machine manufacturing industry is that the open automation platform allows users who have no specialist knowledge of IT to use the applications and even to implement, expand and update them. This is why the platform developers placed a special focus on the user experience. On NUPANO, the customer now finds both the applications and an overview of his machines as digital twins. Just by using drag-and-drop, the user can merge the two worlds of OT and IT.
“We have to install the software easily and efficiently in 1,000 machines or more per year, otherwise we are not delivering any added value to our customers,” Paulin emphasises. The applications are transferred to an industrial PC via the digital twin in the system. From there, the applications are run by NUPANO Runtime. “That is the point where NUPANO and PLC Runtime come together.”
Lenze reports positive feedback from customers, who are bringing their applications with them to NUPANO or having new ones developed. “The feedback from discussions with our customers is positive,” says Paulin. “Many of them have been looking for a platform like this.”