MEET OUR CODE_N CONTEST FINALISTS 2018: Actyx from Germany
Connected and automated, the factory of the future is set to change every step of the manufacturing process. It is all about changes, improvements and disruptions likely to happen thanks to cutting-edge technology. CODE_n Finalist, Actyx from Munich develops such technologies and has created a full range of applications to help create a resilient smart factory. Check out our interview with CEO Oliver Stollmann and come visit the Actyx booth at the new.New Festival 2018 to find out how they revolutionize traditional manufacturing processes.
Iulia: What is Actyx AG all about?
Oliver: Hundreds of thousands of factories around the world run on paper-based systems or outdated software. This is because buying, installing, and operating software is complex, risky, and expensive. Actyx changes this through Factory Software Made Simple. Actyx achieves this with its industrial application platform Actyx Ada, which allows developers to rapidly develop new applications. It offers turnkey integration with existing enterprise software systems, machines, and equipment. It simplifies installation, ensuring the right software is deployed on the right hardware. It takes care of running applications on the edge within factory networks, without the need for central server components.
Actyx has developed a portfolio of applications which it currently sells directly to factories. These applications include Manual Work Logging, Digital Workbook, Machine Integrations, and Reporting & Analytics. They enhance the productivity, quality, and flexibility of industrial operations. In mid-2018, Acytx started working with partners to develop enterprise applications based on the Actyx Ada industrial application platform. This initiative will expand the spectrum of available applications and allow third-party developers to add value for their customers.
Iulia: How did you come up with the idea?
Oliver: The Actyx founders have a background in manufacturing, enterprise software, and artificial intelligence. Based on past experience with manufacturers, they realized that the complexity of traditional factory software was holding it back. Manufacturers were facing challenges and risks that were often too substantial to warrant investment in such software. The founders developed a hypothesis for Actyx: cutting-edge technology could allow them to develop an application platform that would reduce the complexity faced by (a) developers of factory software and (b) users of factory software.
Iulia: What are you trying to solve?
Oliver: Actyx aims to eradicate the complexity associated with (a) developing and (b) using factory software. Developing factory software is so difficult because it is mission-critical and must thus be highly reliable and stable. It is also complex because it always has to be integrated into existing enterprise software, machines, or sensors. Additional complexity stems from the fact that its users – usually factory workers – also have to be provided with compatible hardware. For factories using software, the challenge lies in finding relevant and high-quality software in an extremely fragmented market of primarily small vendors. It is also difficult to install necessary hardware and configure required on-premise data center components. Finally, complexity lies in the fact that mission-critical software has to be continuously monitored and maintained.
Iulia: Can you offer some use cases for companies looking to make a start towards smart manufacturing? Are you focused on a specific size of manufacturing industries (SME, international players…)? When working with a customer on the implementation of your technology, is it harder to deal with the complex problem itself or the different opinions and requirements of the customer?
Oliver: Actyx provides a range of solutions made up of individual products that aim to tackle the current digital deficiencies of factories. We provide factories with products that range from applications that enhance worker efficiency, machine efficiency, and process optimization to managerial overviews and alert systems that give a 360° view of exactly what is going on. Our focus lies in industrial manufacturing, especially firms looking for breakthroughs in digital solutions in order to exploit the huge potential offered by Industry 4.0, IoT, real-time data streaming, cloud computing, and multi-device connectivity. We provide solutions by tapping into all of these technologies, and our specialty is that we’re in a position to implement our solutions within weeks rather than months or years. This minimizes the impact on current production. Every factory is different, so Actyx works closely with clients to provide them with a blend of solutions most suited to addressing their pain points and optimizing their processes. After initial contact with the customer and understanding their pain points, we design a solution that is unique to the situation and most likely to have a strong impact. Simplicity is central to our methods. We implement our own Actyx Ada platform to make integration easy with existing software and production plant. Once Actyx is up and running, we provide customers with the tools they require to identify and optimize the areas of production that are lagging behind, and this significantly reduces downtime and inefficiency.
Iulia: Thanks a lot for the interview, Oliver!