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The special feature: The platform is open for extensions, customizations and integration. "And, of course, it's DSGVO-compliant," promises Klaas Nebuhr of Lenze. With his PaaS offering running on Azure, he sees himself as an enabler for SMEs. Lenze not only supplies the components, but also the security, infrastructure, and initial applications from partner companies as well. These applications, he said, can be individualized for the machine buyer with his own functions and designs. Lenze takes the first step toward digital services with the customer. "We take him by the hand because, thanks to our asset management, we know what might make sense for him and his customers. We are based directly in the machine with our components and know the applications very well."

Nebuhr goes on: "It's all about the overall parquet - analogous to Formula 1. The best driver is not enough if the car or the pit crew don't fit together. The OEE (Overall Equipment Effectiveness), for example, can also be worked out by competitors; it's about developing digital products for small and medium-sized machine builders." But what exactly might such a digital product from Lenze look like?

"We are just starting with our OEE & downtimetracking application." Because: OEE is still the problem child in many companies. It should already be at 80 percent, but the reality often looks different. There is a lack of data, and very often a lack of transparency. That’s changing with OEE & Downtimetracking. It provides more transparency in the production process without additional hardware or sensors. The Lenze PLC calculates OEE. "We are working on a solution that also takes other PLCs into account. The OEE solution is the first step for us and our customers."

Results are visualized on preconfigured dashboards. Downtime tracking is a complement to the OEE solution. The OEE factors "availability" and "performance" are considered in detail, developers say. Both machine downtimes and organizational downtimes are tracked. Organizational downtimes also include manual machine stops or reduced speed.

Lenze relies on OPC UA and MQTT for communication - this ensures connectivity for future technologies. The data flow from the controller to the cloud is ensured, and even without a cloud connection, live data can be sent in real time to a human machine interface for greater transparency and motivation of the workforce. "Locally, we create a three-shift comparison, and in our cloud, historical data can be analyzed over up to seven years," explains Nebuhr.

He and his team are certain: for the machine builder, the application is an easy way to show machine performance and machine availability according to the needs of the customers. "OEE is not a rocket science, the clou lies in the provision and distribution of the application, the seamless integration into the hardware and the idea of setting up a PaaS concept and constantly developing it further." The end customer can increase or stabilize its production thanks to the data. OEE & downtimetracking is thus the enabler to optimize production based on date.