Digital innovation for printers all over the world: Between 16th and 21st May, Koenig & Bauer presents a raft of new customer-centric offers based on digital transformation, as well as new and further developed data-driven services, during a series of four open house events at its facility in Radebeul. While the first two days were devoted specifically to the needs and wishes of commercial printers, their counterparts in the packaging sector becomes the centre of attention after the weekend.
More than 1,000 print professionals from 40 countries accepted invitations to the four-day event. They were treated not only to comprehensive information on the possibilities to streamline and optimise their production processes through digitisation, but also to a whole new experience of the benefits to be derived for their business from a close relationship with Koenig & Bauer and its new data-driven services.
Stable partnerships create confidence
Ralf Sammeck, CEO of Koenig & Bauer Sheetfed and member of the executive board of Koenig & Bauer, and Thomas Göcke, head of marketing & CRM, welcomed the visitors and presented the company’s new image campaign. Under the banner “We print your world”, it seeks to communicate the boundless diversity of print products: Koenig & Bauer brings together the most varied inks and substrates, substrates and technologies, technologies and people. In doing so, the oldest printing press manufacturer in the world also presents the broadest product portfolio in the industry – a single source of solutions which enable print companies all over the world to attain their individual goals.
Ralf Sammeck made special mention of the company’s strong economic figures, with increasing turnover and a growing order book. That gives users extra confidence when making decisions on their key means of production. Through a number of partnerships and take-overs, Koenig & Bauer has expanded its portfolio far beyond its original core competences. The recent acquisitions of Iberica and Duran, a joint venture with Durst and cooperation agreements with Optimus and Esko underline this successful strategy. With end-to-end solutions, Koenig & Bauer promotes quality maximisation, increased productivity and transparency. Ralf Sammeck: “Our overarching goal is to make our users profitable and successful.”
Leading print companies from both the commercial and packaging segments are opting for technology from Koenig & Bauer. That applies not only to high-speed Rapida sheetfed offset presses, but equally to the rotary die-cutter Rapida RDC 106, which is revolutionising the die-cutting process, to flat-bed die-cutters such as the Ipress 106 K PRO, and to the folder-gluer Omega Allpro 110.
Many Koenig & Bauer solutions are prize-winning developments: The Rapida LiveApps, for example, received an Intertech Technology Award in 2018. This year, the jury of the iF Design Award was full of praise for the design language and stylish appearance of the VariJET 106. And Koenig & Bauer has also picked up a German Brand Award for branding excellence in industry and engineering.
Approaches to the development of new products and services
In an inspiring keynote, innovation and creativity expert Gerriet Danz explained how utopian visions and science fiction can be translated into reality and thus into new revenue. Taking examples from historical practice, he showed how resistance can be turned around into success.
One of his essential principles: Only those who are prepared to adopt new perspectives will subsequently shape the future. Just think about the new dimension added to printing by 3D printers, about former film producers who have become manufacturers of cosmetics products, or about combined solutions such as the drone-cum-flying motorcycle being tested by the police in Dubai.
Those who ask the right questions will receive answers for the future. The appeal made by Gerriet Danz: Make use of creativity techniques and the right questions to lend new impetus to the print industry.
Data-driven services for a new customer experience
For a number of years already, Koenig & Bauer has itself supplied one of the best examples of how creative thinking and digital data can give rise to new customer experiences and innovative services. The company has earned a wide reputation as a cross-sector pioneer for the digitisation of business processes. The starting point for most product-related customer services is the wealth of information contained in press operating data and the associated log files. The following solutions are offered by Koenig & Bauer:
PressCall improves communication in connection with remote maintenance. At the press of a button on the console, all necessary information is sent directly to the hotline technician. Communication is optimised and there are no delays due to language barriers. A customer ticket is automatically created in the CRM system. Solution-finding becomes faster and more efficient, reducing downtime and increasing availability accordingly.
Visual PressSupport is another tool which simplifies communication during remote maintenance and raises the cooperation between customer and service department to a new level. Photos, video clips, audio and commenting functions via a mobile device allow more precise description of the current situation at the press. At the same time, Visual PressSupport has extended the functionality of remote maintenance to include assistance in case of process-related or mechanical problems. Everything is documented in the service module of the CRM platform Salesforce, and full information is thus immediately available to all involved persons and departments. Visual PressSupport can also be used independently of remote maintenance.
Performance and inspection data at a glance
Users with a remote maintenance contract receive a monthly Performance Report. This report visualises key performance indicators of the installed presses in clearly structured graphical form and provides an overview of all relevant production data at a glance. In addition, the performance data can be compared both internally and externally with other presses used in a comparable manner – all anonymously, of course. This helps to reveal potential for optimisation, reduces unplanned downtimes and enables pertinent maintenance work to be planned in advance. Performance and availability are improved.
A Press Inspection Report presents the results of a press inspection in a similarly structured summary. The user is informed of any potential for technical improvement and can see at a glance the reasons for recommended maintenance work, including the expected duration. The necessary measures are also prioritised in accordance with the possible impact on press availability and the urgency of replacement for individual spare parts.
IoT-based service process
To provide a central point of contact, Koenig & Bauer has set up a Customer Community. This portal is where users find all digital service offers: They can create new tickets, view existing tickets and performance reports, and make use of many other data-driven services. In this way, users and manufacturer have access to identical data at all times and can base their cooperation decisions on the same information status. With the Customer Community, Koenig & Bauer has brought all digital services together under one umbrella.
Thomas Göcke showed how predictive maintenance is becoming reality. Artificial intelligence methods enable disturbances to be foreseen before they actually affect production or, in the worst case, result in unplanned downtime. If the data from a press indicate the pending failure of a back-up battery, for example, intervention and replacement can be coordinated in good time. This spares the user an annoying data loss and there is no need to spend time re-entering the stored press settings.
“The challenge is to acquire vast amounts of data and to evaluate these data with high performance and precision,” says Göcke. “To this end, Empolis Industrial Analytics supplies rule mining and machine learning methods of artificial intelligence, for example artificial ignorance, with which data relating to normal behaviour can be filtered out of the overall data streams.”
Koenig & Bauer is currently developing an IoT-based service process: On the basis of data from a Rapida press, emerging faults and irregularities are detected and analysed automatically to determine the cause already before a problem is noticed by the operator. The service manager receives a full overview of the situation on the press concerned and can make arrangements for a remote maintenance session and possibly a service visit. The technician on site is able to rectify the fault within the framework of the planned visit, and the risk of a sudden production interruption is averted. Any necessary downtime can be scheduled in advance. The user benefits from more reliable production and improved performance. Through his ServiceApp, the technician has access to the full service history of the press, and can even submit his service report directly from a mobile device.