Panel processing machinery manufacturers are undergoing an image change as they develop new technologies in the age of Industry 4.0.

No longer do they regard themselves as just manufacturers; they are also facilitators, helping customers transform their businesses. In its new three-year business plan, Biesse reveals the changing emphasis from being a product-oriented manufacturer to a digital business. SCM says it has evolved from being a “seller of machines to a seller of productivity”.

At Holz-Handwerk last month, SCM’s stand was a digital hub where the underlying concept was “Work simple. Work digital”. Among the innovations presented was Maestro Smartech, a remote assistance and maintenance system, which uses augmented reality glasses and is “just like having an SCM technician at your side”.

The glasses – effectively a wearable computer – and management software provide an interactive connection between customers and SCM Service. The glasses include video functions, video camera, microphone and speakers. Equipped with wireless connection, Maestro Smartech allows the two parties to communicate and share data. It may sound sci-fi but such technological developments are steps on the road to an even smarter future.

Speaking at the Turin Industrial Union earlier this year, Federico Ratti, SCM group technical director, said: “We’re heading towards a future where systems will be smarter and smarter, equipped with sensors that will produce huge amounts of data, perform highly sophisticated analyses, use machines much more efficiently, and fix these machines just prior to their breakdown, thus ensuring a faster return on investment and improved organisation of production departments.”

Biesse is embracing Industry 4.0 with its new business plan presenting “solutions to leverage the fourth industrial revolution”. This strategy will include investments to equip customers with the tools for the fourth industrial revolution where digitalisation and greater networking provide real-time data, enhancing knowledge and efficiency.

One of the biggest tools in the company’s 4.0 armoury is its service platform SOPHIA, which was officially launched in October last year. The platform is based on the ability to send real-time information and data, optimising the performance and productivity of machines and systems. The data collected enables the production process and machine functions to be analysed in detail, detecting malfunctions, assisting customers in maintenance operations, ordering replacement parts in less time and ultimately preventing faults.

“SOPHIA helps to prevent problems that could damage customer production,” the company says. It also points out that in helping customers optimise production and product quality, the platform provides opportunities for growth.

One of the goals in Biesse’s 2018-2020 plan is to develop its service further to evolve from a “‘break and fix’ approach to a proactive service”. It also aims to increase its share of the systems solutions market.

“Biesse’s ability to create digital, automated and interconnected factories has become a reality,” said Raphaël Prati, director of marketing and communications