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Data Must Evolve From Collection To Action

Jan. 14, 2020
Machine Design discusses how data-driven manufacturing creates new opportunities with Volker Desch, director of sales, Linear Technology at Bosch Rexroth.

As part of Machine Design’s 90th anniversary issue in January, we’ve asked industry experts to take a look at the present and future of technology and how it will impact the design and operation of manufacturing over the next decade.

Q: What products do you see that are currently solving design engineers’ problems?

Desch: There are four:

  • Linear Motion Designer (LMD): A calculation tool for ball screw assemblies and profiled rails.
  • LinSelect is a calculation tool for linear axes.
  • GoSelect is an online product selection tool that takes the guesswork out of finding the right product, CAD drawings, pricing and availability for preconfigured solutions.
  • Configurators: Traditional configurators afford the ability to build customized solutions for highly specific needs.

Q: What are some of the design challenges?

Desch: We see one problem that design engineers are faced with is to find the right product and obtain CAD drawings, pricing, and delivery timing in the shortest amount of time possible with high accuracy.

For the engineers that know the exact sizing of product they need, they can use a tool like GoSelect immediately, whereas if an engineer is building a new machine and needs to determine sizing for the application, the LMD and LinSelect are the optimal tools to assist.

Access to tools such as this offer the ability to calculate and select the right product for the application independently and more efficiently because these tools are also available 24/7. This, however, does not mean that the interaction of live help and support goes away. In fact, we have integrated features such as live chat to give immediate access to engineering support with just a click.

Q: What do you see as the product trends that are impacting the design engineer?

Desch: One trend is to constantly improve the ease of use to obtain the specific information needed; we are addressing this with our tools. The business-to-consumer behavior and expectations are increasingly finding their way into business-to-business. Ensuring the customer journey is intuitive and streamlined with everything at the engineer’s fingertips, including the status of orders and delivery information is important.

Q: With everything you’ve seen from your customers and the industry, what does the next 10 years look like? What are some of the challengers faced by both the engineer and the industry?

Desch: Connected products will have more sensors that will provide health status paving the way for predictive maintenance. It is still not defined who owns the data from products that are connected. This brings up many topics that are challenges to overcome as more technology is integrated, including data ownership.

While the collection of data is important, understanding what to do with the data and what pieces of data are important will still be a hurdle for engineers and manufacturers alike. Both engineers and manufacturers will need to know how to understand their own data and how to benefit from it.

Having the ability to understand and determine what information you need means you need to have the ability to see further into your own future to be prepared and gather the necessary data points now. Finding and create partnerships of like-minded organizations can help further the goals.

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