Speaker interview: Jörg Arnold, Plant Manager, Oxea

Next in our series of speaker interviews is IIoT Strategies Summit roundtable host, Joerg Arnold, Plant Manager, Oxea. Sharing his thoughts on everything from data integration, security risks and what he hopes to learn at the Summit…

Since you began your career how has the manufacturing industry changed?
Pneumatic plant control was eliminated through DCS step by step in the last decades. Handwritten documentation is significantly reduced. Databases for process history log were implemented a long time ago. The usage of those databases and the interfaces improved in the last years and enables new opportunities.

The offline database usage for optimization (e.g. six sigma) is well established. Advanced process control is only implemented for selected application due to high effort. Online or real-time tools for efficiency monitoring are expected to generate more benefit with less effort.

Thinking about industry 4.0 and the digital transformation of the industry where do you feel the biggest ‘wins’ have been?
The availability of data and the speed to get just the required information significantly improved.

And, what do you see is the next big game-changer for the manufacturing industry?
Standardization of smart tools and the increasing life cycle of them will reduce costs and speed up development. Standardization is required to connect different plants, productions sites or companies.

There are many barriers to digital adoption – what steps can the industry take to overcome them?
Initial investments are always the first barrier to take, followed by the required personnel changes.

What piece of advice would you give an organisation just starting out on their digital transformation journey?
I do not have a general rule. It strongly depends on the company, the business model and the target setting.

What do you think the industry will look like in ten years from now?
Risks of cyber-crime and data leaks will become a serious issue. Companies will sign digital contracts and will be connected with standardized software interfaces. For example, a confirmed change of the production plan will automatically generate a signal to the maintenance department, feedstock supplier, logistics partner, and customer.

What are you hoping to learn more about at the IIoT Strategies Summit?
I am interested in data mining tools. We have so much data that is only used on demand. I believe in database search tools looking for trends and a simple model based best practice process conditions. I hope to get experience from others about the tools they used, how the implementation worked and what benefits are reached so far.

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