4 18 The Phoenix Contact customer magazine | November 2018 From history into the future Evolution, Revolution and Disruption ■ Evolution The terminal block – a classic with a great future ■ Revolution How to shrink a circuit breaker down to model size ■ Disruption Why a divorce helped 3D printing
UPDATE 4/18 Editorial 03 Ulrich Leidecker, President Business Area Industry Management and Automation Exuding innovation from every pore! Dear readers, In the age of digitalization, successful technology companies such as Phoenix Contact are in a constant state of confl ict. On the one hand, they are – as in the past – under pressure to continually optimize their portfolio and to develop innovative products in order to remain competitive. On the other hand, they are called upon to transform the opportunities of digitalization into new, often diff erent products, new technologies, and, not least, completely new business models. In parallel, of course, the company must also become more transparent, better networked, and more effi cient. The pressure for change due to shorter innovation cycles, global networking, and Industrie 4.0 continues to increase for all of us. With our products and technologies, we are thus becoming a companion to our customers on the road to the digital future, but at the same time we ourselves are in the midst of the digital revolution. We cordially invite you to accompany us throughout the following pages a little way towards the digital future and, at the same time, to learn about some of the very diff erent approaches being taken in various product and company areas. • A classic, or a component of the future? On the trail of the terminal block. • How do we preserve the momentum of the young and wild? Visiting the 3D printers. • Startup mentality in the group: The Profi cloud team, a symbiosis of verve and rules. • Innovation or disruption? Blazing new trails in control technology with openness – PLCnext Technology. I hope you enjoy reading our articles,
08 Background UPDATE 4/18 Disruption When a revolution is not enough Every startup's dream, and every large company's nightmare: disruptive technologies. Through these technologies, new markets are created, old fi elds of business destroyed. But what, exactly, does disruption mean? Disruption has without doubt become a fashionable term. Similarly to the term “sustainability”, it is becoming a part of almost everyone's vocabulary. What it actually means is becoming blurred. Or did you know that sustainability is actually a technical term stemming from forest management in the early 18th century? Disruption can be defi ned very clearly, but it is best explained through examples: The Kodak eff ect Steven Sasson developed one of the fi rst prototypes of a digital camera at Kodak in 1975. At fi rst, this technology was inferior to analog photography due to its low As a student of literature at the University of Paderborn, Sven Kützemeier immersed himself in completely new topics on the subject of disruption resolution and initially high costs. It was only of interest to early adopters and to those who were annoyed by being restricted to 36 shots per fi lm. Since 1991, however, digital cameras have become cheaper, and at the same time the technical characteristics have been improving. With the proliferation of computers and the Internet, the digital camera became ever more popular, as it became possible to digitally store images and distribute them via the Internet. Apart from a tiny remnant, the celluloid fi lm – in use for decades – was displaced. And with it, entire branches of industry. The digital camera thus created a new market by fundamentally changing the way in which photos are handled. The disruptive quality of the digital camera is highlighted by the demise of Kodak: even though the company was one of the pioneers of the technology, it recognized the consequences much too late. Kodak ceased the production of cameras in 2012, and that of photographic fi lm in 2013. Trend overlooked The theory of disruption describes the development process of a startup when, with just a few resources, it interferes with the market of a large company. Established companies are often only focused on improving the products that are bought by the majority of their customers. The remaining few customers do not want to pay extra for these enhancements or improvements. Startups can concentrate on precisely this customer group by surprising them with innovations. Since only small parts of the market are being addressed at the beginning, they are of no interest to the established companies. It is often the case that the majority of customers initially regard the technologies of startups as being inferior to the technologies of established companies. Therefore the products have to be redeveloped innovatively. Only then does the majority
10 On site UPDATE 4/18 The evergreen among connection technologies Evolution of the terminal block The terminal block is the symbol of durability at Phoenix Contact. It has been the basis of success from the earliest beginnings of the company's history right through to today. And the symbol of a steady, in-part rapid further development with plenty of future potential. The first terminal blocks were assembled by hand; increasing quantities and ever smaller dimensions demanded mechanized automation. Today, the complete terminal block technology range consists of around 5,000 products. The oldest terminal block that can still be ordered is the SSK 0525, a 2.5 mm2 ceramic model with clamping pocket parts for high temperature applications. The largest of all of the terminal blocks is the PT Power 185 in a prayer- book format. Each year, Phoenix Contact develops around 10 expansion models of the various types or special terminals, and issues up to 1,000 new order numbers for the extensive range of products. 1923 In 1923 Hugo Knümann founded a commercial agency for electrical products in Essen and began with the production of contact wire fittings for trams. In 1928, he developed the first rail-mountable modular terminal blocks together with the company Rheinisch-Westfälisches Elektrizitätswerk (RWE). This patented design still consisted of a brass clamping body with screw connections in a ceramic housing. Advantages of this high-strength technical ceramic: dimensional stability, the best possible insulation capacity, durability. “This combination of ceramic and copper still clamps after 200 years”, says Klaus Eisert, describing the advantages. The 60s The 70s It was only at the start of the 1960s that the material Duroplast began to supersede ceramic. It is also a very good insulator and can be produced in-house instead of in the ceramics factory. Furthermore, it does not break as easily. The melamine resin compounds mixed with powdered minerals are “baked” in heated molds. Which is where the name “Bakelite” originates. In the 1970s, Thermoplast became established as the insulation material for low-voltage technology, and therefore also for terminal blocks. Heated polyamide granules are injected by pressure into molds – significantly faster production, lower- cost production, and even better mechanical properties ensured the continuing triumph of this technical nylon. This method of processing enabled The parallel emancipation of thinner and therefore space-saving terminal blocks, which countered the growing number of cables in the control cabinet resulting from the gradually increasing degree of automation. special terminals extended from the initial versions such as fuse terminal blocks, compensating and test disconnect terminal blocks, double and three-level terminal blocks, diode, neutral and ground terminal blocks, right through to industrial-grade PCB terminal blocks for printed circuit boards, and a huge range of pole- variable “Combicon” polarized linear connectors for printed connections. The ceramic clamping classic New material with new possibilities: Duroplast The strip terminal block, an idea from the 70s
UPDATE 4/18 On site 11 “The electrical engineers of the energy suppliers were always the most demanding when it came to safety and ease of use.” Klaus Eisert not only experienced the evolution of the terminal block up close for decades, but also shaped it with signifi cant stimuli. The 80s The 90s Today With the rapid assembly terminal blocks, the conquest of the control cabinets continued unabated in the 1980s, especially since automation also permeated ever new areas of mechanical engineering. For this reason, the company became involved with serial transmission through bus technology – in addition to developing parallel data transmission via line and terminal block. The INTERBUS is the Blomberg company's ingenious contribution to future-oriented technologies for control technology in the control cabinet. While screw terminal blocks were still the predominant type of connection during the 1980s, the development of spring-cage connections in 1994 revolutionized the technology for securing electrical conductors decisively. Phoenix Contact entered the new millennium with this type of contacting in the CLIPLINE complete system, followed by the fi rst terminal blocks with plug connections, which were launched in 2002. Over the past 90 years, Phoenix Contact has reinvented the terminal block over and over again, integrating the system concept and thus creating a portfolio for all applications and customer requirements. Innovations in control cabinet manufacturing as well as innovative planning tools such as the “PROJECT complete” software and continuous further development, such as the PTFIX terminals, demonstrate that the potential of the terminal block is unwavering. New PTFIX distribution blocks with Push-in technology Spring force instead of screw connection – a contemporary broadening of the connection technology range Serial transmission via INTERBUS – Fresh thinking fi nds a way
12 Feature UPDATE 4/18 Johannes Lohn and Eduard Albrecht (r) from Protiq Digital print operators Revolutionary technology levels the path to new fields of business How is it possible to permanently maintain the momentum of revolutionary technology? Phoenix Contact tried it with a divorce. If a corporate culture can grow small and innovative nuclei, the effects are often surprisingly meaningful for the vast majority of the company. This is exactly what happened at Phoenix Contact with the additive production branch of the business. This wrote the subsidiary Protiq into the family album. Developed in the in-house tool shop, the former internal group became the independent company Protiq. A small team with its own spirit, with a startup mentality, and a pioneering atmosphere. Site visit Johannes Lohn and Eduard Albrecht are already waiting in the Protiq presentation room. A variety of samples and models are spread across the large table – every inventor's dream, whether big or small. For machine builder Johannes Lohn, however, 3D printing is anything but a gimmick – after all, he is responsible for the continuous development of the technology. “Phoenix Contact has been involved in 3D printing since 2010”, explains the 31 year-old. “First of all, we purchased a PolyJet system in which objects for prototyping were generated from a liquid medium using UV light”, says Eduard Albrecht, describing the history. He is responsible for marketing and the best example of the independence of the small GmbH. “Since 2010, we have been able to print metal. This meant that we were able to move beyond merely contributing to designing molds for the tool shop and start producing machine parts necessary for production directly.” Printing cooling ducts The variety of materials is impressive. The Blomberg company is now able to combine varying degrees of hardness and different colors in one workpiece. They have been using a wide range of different printing methods for a long time. With spectacular results. “We have succeeded in printing highly conductive copper”, says Johannes Lohn. This means that we can manufacture inductors, which otherwise have to be manufactured manually in a time-consuming manner with a much lower accuracy of fit.
UPDATE 4/18 On site 13 “Today, we often print the tools needed for series production”, says Johannes Lohn. This means that the 3D printers are not only experts in prototype construction, but also full partners in production processes. The results are an ideal supplement to classic production by means of grinding, eroding, and milling: “We can integrate conformal cooling ducts into injection mold tools with a degree of accuracy that was never before possible. This enables us to achieve shorter cycle times in production, along with reduced manufacturing costs.” However the technical development alone does not turn 3D printing into a technology with a disruptive character. Right from the beginning, startups were the drivers of 3D printing, even in terms of marketing. Online marketplaces where 3D printing services were offered developed very quickly. As is the case at Phoenix Contact: With the Protiq Marketplace, Dr. Ralf Gärtner and his team have developed our own online platform. Not only does this make it possible to establish contact with the team, but a configurator is also installed here that makes it easy to create and purchase your own 3D-printed products. Third-party companies are also able to offer their services. Roots and bones The 3D printing process begins with the generation of CAD datasets of the respective component. If these are not available, they can be created via scanning. Protiq also offers its services acting as a partner in creating this complex screening data. The online configurator on the Protiq website already offers appropriate datasets for applications that can be standardized. Not enough innovation yet? “In the meantime, we have driven the production of demand-oriented geometries to production maturity. We call this ‘generative design’. Here, the customer merely specifies the technical requirements for his component and leaves the creation of the design to a sophisticated algorithm.” Using a simple coat hanger, the smart engineer illustrates the process: “Whereas in the past, a contour was developed through the removal of material, and the maximum load was determined by a process of trial and error, we take a completely new approach. We now only focus on the pure function, and then we add material to an idealized component only where it is necessary for the load-bearing capacity. Because we have complete freedom in terms of the shape, bionic, root, or bone-shaped structures are often the result.” This significantly accelerates the product development process. “What developers previously spent four weeks working on, we can now achieve in two hours.” The results are not just reduced development times, but also shapes that are very similar to living organisms. “Nature is the best developer”, concludes Johannes Lohn, and takes a look into the future: “We already manufacture in series today. And “It is only the requirements that determine the ideal design.” Johannes Lohn on the latest design methodology for topology optimization 3D-printing copper was considered technically impossible for a long time the possibilities of material production and variety are so extensive that we will continue to experience and develop a great deal here. Even at this early stage we can barely count the number of industries for which we produce. 3D printing will completely revolutionize a number of value added chains and offer completely new possibilities.” The dynamics of additive production are clearly visible to the team. Innovation and a startup mentality provide tremendous momentum. This “divorce without shock”, i.e. the Protiq spin-off, has clearly paid off. ■ Further info: www.protiq.com
14 Interview UPDATE 4/18 Remaining vigilant in success Interview with CTO Roland Bent UPDATE: Mr. Bent, as the General Manager, what is your personal understanding of the three terms disruption, revolution, and evolution that are the subject of this edition of UPDATE in terms of our capacity for innovation? Bent: Evolutionary developments are characterized by our constant quest for improvement, development in the detail, and our struggle for innovation. These increase the benefits for our customers even further. Revolutionary developments are leaps in innovation – they suddenly provide our customer with a new or at least significantly improved benefit. Among these, I also include technological solutions that were previously unthinkable, or that use completely new, much Chief Technology Officer Roland Bent being interviewed by Editor-in- Chief Lutz Odewald more effective solutions. The replacement of old products and solutions with revolutionary innovations also falls into this category. And disruption is a completely new, erratic change with a destructive character. It completely supplants old processes, products, and existing fields of business. In this regard it is no longer merely a development. All of the established companies affected by disruption so far are characterized by a fatal underestimation of new technology. This is because stupidly, disruption cannot be planned for or predicted, and the initial manifestations are rarely taken seriously. The problem for Phoenix Contact – but not just for us – is that we have to learn for ourselves how to think disruptively. This also applies to fields beyond our actual core process. This is all the more difficult the more successful a company currently is, because success lures a company into a false sense of security. For us, this therefore means that we have to remain vigilant. UPDATE: Can you give us one example from the company's history in which Phoenix Contact was respectively evolutionary, revolutionary or disruptive? Bent: We see evolution at Phoenix Contact every day, in the continuously new improvements. This rightly secures us a leading position in the established fields of business. One example of this is the continuous development of the modular terminal technology in the CLIPLINE complete product range right through to the Push-in technology of the PT series. This is almost revolutionary in character. In the recent history of the company, I see leaps in improvements – that is to say revolutions – for example in the development of INTERBUS, which enabled control technology to replace parallel wiring. From my point of view, our 6 mm safety relay is also revolutionary because its capability was unthinkable until recently, requiring new mathematical and technological approaches. But we are also capable of developing disruptive technology. Currently, this is embodied for me by PLCnext Technology. A controller of which the open architecture enables its functionality to be extended and adapted, even with third-party apps – this can fundamentally change the world of control technology globally. UPDATE: How do you see Phoenix Contact and its products in terms of digital competition today? Bent: I see ourselves in a very good position. Disruption is currently a buzzword, and it should not be overused – disruption is not an everyday
UPDATE 4/18 Interview 15 “ Phoenix Contact cannot behave in the same way as a startup. But we can incorporate the attitudes and methods into our processes.” Roland Bent is an electronics engineer and has been a member of the Phoenix Contact Executive Board since 2009 issue. Naturally, thanks to digitalization, the technological development cycles are becoming ever shorter. And clearly, as a technology company, we tend to approach the issues through our technology. But Phoenix Contact has always enjoyed a very special proximity to our customers. This customer proximity, this understanding of the needs and requirements, is one of our main strengths. What do our customers really need? They do not always need ever faster control, even when it is technologically attractive. Our customers need an increase in output from the machines that are to be controlled. Only by understanding the needs and requirements of the customers can I perform better. Phoenix Contact has the ability, the attitude, the right people, and the right organization to continuously innovate and change. At the same time, we will not abandon our focus as the key partner for our customers for developing creative solutions in the fields of connection technology, electronics, and automation technology. We will remain strong in our traditional core fields. dynamics of startups. How do you perceive the balance between the more conservative parent company and the young and wild? Bent: Because of our success, it is difficult to make it clear that we still need to change. But we can actively shape this change by giving new subjects the space to evolve. For this reason, we have established the “New Business Fields” division. And in our core processes we are also striving for ever more agility. At the same time, we must not lose sight of our strengths, our innovative strength, our quality thinking, and our proximity to our customers. Phoenix Contact cannot behave in completely the same way as a startup, but we can adopt the new attitudes and methods and incorporate these into series production, and this is what we should do. From my point of view, our mix of internal and external startups is just right. Our internal startups are closer to our proof of concept, closer to our processes. By contrast, our external startups have a greater freedom of movement, providing completely new impulses, but often far removed from the real product. This mix ensures our strength in breadth, which makes us future-proof. UPDATE: We identify promising startups ourselves, and with think-tanks such as Protiq, dare to attempt to learn something about the UPDATE: Thank you very much for talking to us. ■
16 Technology UPDATE 4/18 “It really is as though we are pushing open a window and looking into a completely new world.” Henning Heutger The ideas controller Developing the revolutionary PLCnext Technology Phoenix Contact has made a quantum leap in control technology. But what makes PLCnext Technology so special? And as a development manager, how do you explain how it works not just to questioning editors, but also to your own children? My children in the Heutger household were just five and six years old when they decided that they wanted to know what Dad actually does all day long. “It wasn't easy”, says Henning Heutger, smiling. “Neither of them understood a word I said. My wife then took over.” She pointed out a wind turbine generator that had just been erected in the neighborhood.“There is a computer inside that windmill at the top. And your Dad built it.” Phoenix Contact has had the subject of control in its corporate genes right from the beginning.Initially, only the control of electricity. “A great leap was taken in 1987 with the development of the INTERBUS system”, explains the 57-year-old engineer. “At that time, Phoenix Contact made the transition from being a pure specialist for connecting electricity cables to being the provider of data cables, software, and ultimately also control technology.” Chips developed in-house that we installed in signal generators, and a transmission technology also developed in-house – this was a huge step 1987 INTERBUS system presented for Phoenix Contact. At first, the major players in the market did not really take this seriously. A supplementary question: Why did INTERBUS become established despite the existing dominance in the market? “We did not offer the entire package with controller and extensive customization right at the start. This made us less expensive. We also worked in cooperation with the users intensively right from the outset, and, due to our small team, we were able to work with greater agility than the major players.” explains Henning Heutger. He himself joined Phoenix Contact in 1998, having previously worked at the German Aerospace Center (DLR) in Braunschweig where, among other things, he developed a flight simulator. This is where he first came into contact with industrial embedded computing. The 1990s Development of in-house controllers The agile newcomer Knowledge that he was able to use to best effect at Phoenix Contact. “In the mid-1990s, Phoenix Contact developed its first in-house controllers; at that time together with the company Kloepper und Wiege, which is now Phoenix Contact Software.” Phoenix Contact
UPDATE 4/18 Technology 17 was then able to off er its own programming technology, installed in the in-house 486-series D X25 controller. The next step was taken in 2001: the development of a whole family of controllers, the ILC 300 class, with its own fi rmware. This was given the artistic name MONA, which is an acronym for “Module-Oriented Neutral Architecture”. This and other controller ranges, such as the AXC and RFC ranges, are still being improved upon and sold today. “Our MONA is now also installed in bus heads and even in switches.” Detour via the release turbulent the transition into the new world of the open platform must have been: “We gave a demonstration for the fi rst time as early as at the SPS IPC Drives 2016 trade fair in Nuremburg. The prototype was completed in 2017, and the fi rst series-produced controller was demonstrated at the end of 2017, again at the trade fair in Nuremburg.” Henning Heutger's eyes light up: “It really is as though we are pushing open a window and looking into a completely new world.” Real-time capability, an open system, connectivity, a built- in cloud connection – with PLCnext Technology, Phoenix Contact is breaking new ground. 2017 PLCnext Technology presented There was one drawback with MONA, however: “The customers are not able to infl uence it themselves from the outside. If, for example, a new function is called for, then this is only possible with a new release. This is very laborious and a new release is only issued once or twice a year. This is not suffi cient for many customers. ”Furthermore,” reveals the passionate glider pilot, “many users fi nd the limitation to one of the six programming languages in accordance with IEC 61131 with which automation controllers can be addressed to be a thorn in their side. A great deal of the students fi nishing university today no longer know these languages.” 2015 Strategy workshop for the new controller Prospects And what next?“First of all, the world of automation is conservative. It takes time for new technology to become established. But the following questions will arise: Can control logic be shifted over to the cloud in the future? Which services are conceivable in the global data cloud?” Heutger and his team wanted to take a new approach. How can you open up embedded computing? How can you work with modern programming languages? How can you achieve the most technological and creative freedom? “At some point we came to realize that we would have to do something fundamentally new.” Legendary workshop “With the entire team, we then went into a retreat for a full week, we locked ourselves in and held very open discussions.” says Heutger. “A strategy workshop followed in 2015 with a strong partner in the wind power industry. Working closely with the users, we defi ned the specifi c product development path in this workshop, with revolutionary approaches. My initially small team quickly developed into a much larger PLCnext Technology team.” The timeframe illustrates how Heutger continues: “This year we are extending the portfolio with two brand new controllers. And we are launching our own PLCnext Technology Store for downloadable applications. These apps are not only from us, but can be off ered by independent developers worldwide. We are thus continuing to develop the path towards the open platform with determination.” ■ For further information, enter the web code #1509 into the search fi eld on our website. Henning Heutger played a signifi cant role in the development of the revolutionary controller technology
18 Technology UPDATE 4/18 The special needs team From the life of a startup in the midst of a large company How do you manage the balancing act between corporation and startup? Is it even possible to combine the mentality of the young and wild with the advantages of established procedures and processes within a large company? Innovation and a startup mentality, new technologies and methods, a positive error culture, and unconventional procedures – this can appear to be totally alien to a technology company with an established culture. Mathias Weßelmann is responsible for the subject of Proficloud at Phoenix Contact. In this role, he “There are no standards in the cloud. This is sometimes difficult to convey.” does not just need a very close exchange with colleagues, but also a finger constantly on the pulse of technological development. This places Weßelmann and his team right in the middle of the contradictory existence between new business and old industry. Speed counts “Naturally, our activities are not acclaimed by everybody, even within our own company,” Mathias Weßelmann reports, “because we work differently, deal differently with each other, and deal with things that not everybody can translate immediately into tangible work results.” This creates pressure for success – pressure that Weßelmann and his team have to face, but pressure that the busy front-man of the Proficloud team also accepts: “I am well aware that we have to achieve success – after all, we are working here in an economically active company. On the other hand, with the cloud, we are not immediately bound to processes and procedures – we have to act with agility and freedom. That can also involve completely unconventional approaches. Only when we are successful with this do we integrate this method of operation into in our systems. At the same time, we consciously work with the knowledge that we will make mistakes, that sometimes our solutions will not work.“ Errors are welcome For the 35-year-old qualified systems engineer, the positive error culture is an important element of his work: “No two solutions are the same. Errors can occur but do not have a significant impact, because we can respond with the necessary adjustments within minutes. Speed, and now and again a ‘quick and dirty solution’, are parts of our everyday work. In the classic product development environment, this is naturally a no-go. There, it is all about requirement specifications and determinations, development and test cases. Which is absolutely right for the development of hardware. A change in the requirement specification costs a few euros, but later in production the same change will cost many thousands. There, the most perfect, mature products possible must made be available. With the cloud, this development work is fundamentally different. In the global cloud community, agility and trial and error are standard modes of operation”, explains Mathias Weßelmann. The friction reducer The application engineer understands his role as being to enable the coexistence of the different mentalities. The Proficloud team consists of young but experienced software engineers, Mathias Weßelmann sees himself as a mediator between the different mentalities
UPDATE 4/18 Technology 19 almost all of them having joined Phoenix Contact only recently, and most from an IT instead of an electrical engineering background. An exotic species in the corridors of Phoenix Contact. The team encounters processes that are to ensure the evolution of products and the optimization of qualities. “Formalities and standards are things that a company of our size needs”, says Weßelmann. “But when I turn around at my desk, sit at my computer and communicate with the experts in my cloud environment, this approach is of no help to me at all.” The cloud is technologically, and with every new order, a greenfield environ- ment. This rubs off on its experts. While the rest of their own company relies upon standards to reliably monitor and supervise operations, the young and wild work continually and in- dependently with the latest and most creative tools. “We are always at the forefront of cloud development. Here, software often only has a very short half-life. This dynamic in develop- ment, in the tools, and even in the processes, is an elementary part of cloud technology.” A fine balance also correct. Such a large company is managed differently to how a small, independent unit is managed. Rules, standards, and clearly defined procedures are needed here. This balancing act between freedom and formality has to be endured.” Pressure from all directions – part of the job for Weßelmann. “We should not forget that we, with our team, are just a small minority who want things to be different. For everybody else, the status quo is ideal. Invoices via e-mail, software by subscription, orders today for delivery tomorrow – we are always the ones with the special needs.” The committed manager reports that he has the full support of management. His vision of being perceived by industry and the trade as the ultimate cloud technology partner in particular has met with undivided approval. This is important, because innovation can also be a lonely path: “Networking is important, because otherwise you quickly start to wonder: anybody understand me here? Am I alone here with my concept?” But Weßelmann firmly believes in the Proficloud and the added value that he wants to bring into the products through it. And in his team – the young and wild. ■ Mathias Weßelmann is not naive: “Naturally, the viewpoint of our colleagues around us is For further information, enter the web code #2031 into the search field on our website. The rapidly growing Proficloud team occupies one of the future Phoenix Contact fields of business
20 On site UPDATE 4/18 In action for the practitioners: A stalwart approach to the search for new fields of business in small and medium-sized businesses We live 4.0 Up close with the Industrie 4.0 workshop As a machine builder among electrical engineers, he is something of a rarity. Jörg Olsen explains exactly why he is nevertheless the right person to work with Phoenix Contact customers on their implementation of Industrie 4.0 during a visit to the ‘old economy’. Don't the subjects ‘Industrie 4.0’ and ‘digital transformation’ only effect large industry? What do the new technologies mean for the independent company? How do you prepare for the digital transformation? And what opportunities do networking and big data have to offer? With the Industrie 4.0 workshop, Phoenix Contact is breaking new ground and trying to accompany its small and medium-sized customers and partners to a certain extent, and to inspire them for the challenges ahead. The “supervisor” and contact partner is Jörg Olsen, who we invited to be interviewed in a stalwart workshop in the countryside. “I am a salesman through and through”, reveals the machine building and sales engineer. The now 51-year-old gained the majority of his professional experience in the automation industry, where intensive cooperation with small and medium-sized operations is much more than just the norm. “This made me become a real networker”, he explains of his career. While surfing the Internet in 2012, he stumbled across Phoenix Contact and its efforts to provide even more intensive support for its partners and networks. “Just right for me”, thought Jörg Olsen to himself. “Just right for us”, thought the people responsible for recruitment to themselves, and promptly hired the communicative engineer. Which raises the question: what does a customer expect of its supplier when we talk about partnership? “I am absolutely convinced that the technical possibilities of networking must now also be followed up by the networking of companies, suppliers, and customers. In this way, specific areas of knowledge can complement each other and, together, open up new fields of business.” And this means that both processes and requirements should be known with precision. What do our customers want? One of the biggest subjects today is that of the digital revolution and its effects, even within independent companies. “Digitalization does not just mean the development of modern machines and products – not by a long shot. In the next phase, it demands a different awareness of processes and relationships. Product development begins with looking through the
UPDATE 4/18 On site 21 eyes of the customer, understanding the needs, tasks, and requirements. This is far removed from the classic, engineer-driven approach, whereby a product is developed, optimized, and only then made available to suitable customers via marketing and sales.“ explains the expert. And so Olsen started with internal workshops with a circle of colleagues. In these, he uses “We want to bring the spark of digital transformation into the company.” Jörg Olsen modern tools such as the Business Model Canvas and the Value Proposition Canvas in order to intensively interrogate the “customer object” internally and externally. “These workshops are still being held today, because Phoenix Contact is also in the middle of the development towards becoming an Industrie 4.0 company. And now all of the groups within Sales and Marketing use these methods and have integrated them into their processes.” Searching for meaning In numerous conversations with customers, Olsen noted that terms that have long been integrated into everyday life at Phoenix Contact often left worry lines on the foreheads of his contact partners. “We regard digitalization and Industrie 4.0 as being huge opportunities. In small and medium-sized companies, however, there is a huge level of uncertainty. It is often the case that they find it difficult to recognize and realize what Industrie 4.0 means for their own company.” The task therefore being taken on by the sales team and Jörg Olsen is to turn this uncertainty into certainty, as he describes the next thought process. And because the enthusiastic fan of modern classic cars who lists tinkering with cars as a hobby is a gripping contemporary who knows the language of his customers, it was natural to set up a workshop on the subject of Industrie 4.0.“After all, we are not only able to Jörg Olsen is at home in every workshop – amongst mechanics just as much as in “his own” Industrie 4.0 workshop help with our technology, we can also pass on knowledge gained from our own experience.” The anti-consultant This is also the unique selling point of the “workshop team” surrounding Jörg Olsen. “There are hundreds of consultants whizzing around, all dedicated to the subject. Theorists. But we are not consultants – even though we do give advice. Rather, we are practitioners who meet our partners on an equal footing and develop new business models and products in close cooperation.” Networker Olsen is certain that he can create a “nucleus of innovative strength” with his workshop. Stalwart, practical, and congenial. ■ Contact: email@example.com
22 Feature UPDATE 4/18 Peter Berg, Thorsten Heil, and Steffen Pförtner (from left) belong to the TERMITRAB complete development team Geniuses with a narrow footprint When a blank sheet meets intensive teamwork Miniaturization is a phenomenon that has already transformed entire industries. Ever more functions in ever smaller devices – something that control cabinet manufacturers also want. At Phoenix Contact, they will find a whole family of surge protection devices with world-record dimensions. Developing these did, however, require completely new approaches. The Trabtech colleagues enjoy special status at Phoenix Contact in Blomberg. They do not just occupy one of the most modern office and laboratory buildings on the expansive campus. If they want to create a lightning strike during one of their tests, they must first call the municipal utilities in order to ensure that there are enough reserves flowing in the power lines – otherwise all the lights will go out in the small East Westphalian town. For a good reason: Phoenix Contact is one of the leading manufacturers of surge protective devices in the world. The reason for this technologically pioneering role: constant development. Phoenix Contact has been protecting the interiors of control cabinets and machines since 1983. With the TERMITRAB complete product range, however, new ground has been broken. Reductions down to world-record dimensions Thorsten Heil, Peter Berg, and Steffen Pförtner belong to the team that came together for the first time in 2012 with the goal of creating space in the control cabinet. “We had been hearing this request from several of our customers. It is a major trend in control cabinet manufacturing.”
UPDATE 4/18 Technology 23 The ambitious framework conditions were quickly set: “We wanted to go down to a width of just 3.5 millimeters. At the same time, the protective device needed to be easy to maintain in order to ensure a good level of convenience for the installers”, explains Peter Berg, one of the team's developers and designers. Steffen Pförtner, also a developer and responsible for the electrical components, adds: “The feasibility of a final production test was also very important from the start.” Product Manager Thorsten Heil goes on to explain: “But we quickly realized that if we really wanted to make the device drastically smaller, we would have to break completely new ground.” Relocating with an ulterior motive But before the haggling over tenths of millimeters could begin, the framework conditions had to be created. “Here, Dr. Martin Wetter, as the head of Trabtech, was not only the initiator, but also the moderator. He created the freedoms necessary for us to really be able to start with a completely blank sheet.” recalls Product Manager Heil, still impressed. “We were able to and we had to go completely crazy, without a requirement specification.” Steffen Pförtner adds: “And we wanted to take advantage of this and come up with an absolute cracker,” and, grinning, he adds: “and we succeeded, too!” After a six-month creative phase, a core team was established. The freedom was also expressed in the working environment. “We moved into a large project office in the neighboring production facility with the entire team. The team sat very closely together. The specialists came from all departments, and so our work was completely interdisciplinary.” Exchanges across the desks, morning rounds, transparent project planning – the team grew very close over the next two years. “The system concept, which we wanted to develop from the start, was very important to us. Not just an individual module. And then the remote messaging function across 40 surge arresters. And the flexibility of the connection technology and integrated functions.” Not a simple task: After all, the targeted width of just three millimeters was a revolutionary scale, even for low-profile gas-filled surge arresters. In the end, despite all of the tricks employed, 3.5 mm Nobody can currently make them narrower. This ensures competitive advantages. the narrowest version was 3.5 millimeters, and six millimeters for the rest of the TERMITRAB complete family. “We had discussions again and again, we were always looking for solutions to problems that arose. And we also sometimes thought that we would fail.” The detail-obsessed experts plunged right down to the level of the plastic injection process, and developed innovations together with the company's own tool builders. Even the suppliers were amazed by their depth of knowledge: the words “We have never had a customer who knows so much about our components” were echoed throughout the industry. The first reward for their efforts: The TERMITRAB complete series was ennobled by being included in the company's Highlight program, which freed up additional marketing and development resources. Resources that “ We were able to and had to go completely crazy. Without a requirement specification. After all, we had to develop an absolute cracker.” Thorsten Heil, Product Manager spurred them on, because there were still a large number of approvals that needed to be gained. “Integrating all of the properties was extreme”, says developer Berg, ”Plastics, metals, the influence of temperature, gases, salty air, and other environmental factors.” Success thanks to the system tool kit The market launch in 2017 began with a range that already included 107 product versions, all of them tested and approved. The response was enormous, right from the start. This acceptance on the market justifies the effort, because the sales of these super-narrow surge protective devices is well above plan. And the modular system enables rapid response times to special requests. Narrow is indeed in demand! ■ For further information, enter the web code #0292 into the search field on our website.
24 On site UPDATE 4/18 The disruptor A lateral thinker with courage and method Similarly to a velociraptor in the jungle of primeval times, our disruptor sweeps through the electronic and mechanical undergrowth of his territory. Always on the lookout for an application that he can incorporate. Always ready to track down established processes and turn them into something completely new. Et voila, Frank Schröder comes around the corner. Frank “Building Technology” Schröder, he adds, grinning. Actually, the 49-year-old operations engineer is not scary at all. Rather, he is open and warm-hearted. And captivating. Because when it comes to “his” building technology, Frank Schröder cannot and does not want to hide his enthusiasm for his workplace. Schröder has been here since day one. At the Bad Pyrmont site, at least. “I completed my apprenticeship as an operations technician at Phoenix Contact in Blomberg and was there for a total of eleven years before I was given the chance to be at the forefront here on the greenfield site.” In 1996, Schröder started with just one colleague and the responsibility for the facility management of a single building. “Back then, Phoenix Contact was developing the production of printed circuit boards here in Bad Pyrmont. I said at the time that this would be the future.” The zero-current winner The new site grew rapidly, and Frank Schröder and his team grew with it. But how did a “completely normal” master operations technician and facility manager become “Building Technology Schröder”? Schröder can name his “moment of enlightenment” immediately: “2013, at and during the Wave Trophy.” Together with his colleague Frank Knafla, he formed the “Frank & Frank” team. And he didn't just win the rally, but also an Frank Schröder Head of Facility Management Phoenix Contact Bad Pyrmont • 49 years old • 32 years with Phoenix Contact • 18 employees in the team • Winner of the Wave Trophy 2013 in the “Frank & Frank” team
UPDATE 4/18 On site 25 intensive insight into social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. Since then, the robust East Westphalian romps through all networker levels. “That is when I realized the importance of networking, of working together on bigger goals.” It wasn't just technicians involved in the rally, but members of the sales, marketing, and development teams as well. A look outside of the box, the interest in new topics, the overcoming of individual barriers – “since then I have been a man of the new media”. From toolbox to laptop Frank Schröder discovered an ideal partner and kindred spirit in Bernhard Tilmans, who has been responsible for the development of the Building Automation Business Unit in Sales Germany since 2015. “Together, we are now pushing through projects and developing ideas.” The once rather publicity-shy Schröder became a much-sought-after speaker who can easily inspire a hall full of 150 experts with his talks. “I have been co-managing and involving myself in our Building 4 from the very first sketches since 2015”, Frank Schröder says, and not without pride. And he has a right to be proud, because the building is bursting with innovations, whether in energy efficiency, ventilation and air conditioning, building automation, mobile networking with its own app, right through to rain and service water management. Augmented reality is used as a part of the operations technology, and in the open-plan building, seating groups with fully automatic lighting distribution and seat recognition invite guests to linger. The PV system on the roof feeds renewable energy into a system to which, among other loads, the charging stations for electric vehicles are connected. “Naturally, with automatic occupancy displays and billing.” adds Schröder. Innovation in the team But where does a facility manager come across information on such technologies and their potential applications in buildings? Why is Schröder so close to the developers and the product portfolio, in whose 60,000 products – in his own words – he “practically swims” and makes use of? A visit to Frank Schröder's department makes it clear just how extraordinarily well this operations technician understands his area of responsibility. Here, technicians and the department's own software developers sit, working together to install the company's own hardware and software products in the buildings. “We are system integrators within our own company. “You will not find what we do and what we are allowed to do here anywhere else.” Having said that, when you look at the events to which Schröder is invited as a speaker, it can be assumed that his example may very well be setting a precedent. This is because Frank Schröder does not only link the company's own products to profitable new and unexpected tasks within the building. He and his Building Automation team are giving new impetus to the entire field of industrial architecture. Furthermore, this disruptor is practically revolutionizing the job description for operations and building technicians. ■ In ongoing operation, the high-tech building in Bad Pyrmont costs just € 25 per square meter per year – a normal building costs twice that!