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Automation, accelerated: Succeeding with Digital Transformation post Covid-19

Our Vice President Digital Transformation is working hand in hand with clients and partners to address industry challenges via smart automation every day. In this blog, he shares three simple but far-reaching recommendations for companies to seize the extraordinary opportunity to automate that the pandemic disruptions created. 

Dieter Krockauer, VP Digital Transformation at KINEXON, has decades of experience in facilitating digitalization strategies across industries. Most recently before joining KINEXON, he was Head of Innovation & Technology Automotive SCM“ at Continental, a global automotive supplier. Passionate about and strategically invested in digital transformation, Dieter shares his perspective for a winning smart factory strategy. 

Dieter, how has the pandemic changed companies strategies when it comes to smart factory automation?

Even before the pandemic, most if not all companies were invested in leveraging the power of digitalization to automate their processes, increase their revenue, and outperform competitors. The pandemic however, has tremendously accelerated the need to implement digital solutions that quickly generate impact – by increasing production speed and flexibility, increasing supply chain resilience, and creating more transparency around complex processes and global business models. 

Currently, companies are experiencing a forceful push from the C‑Suite to digitize. The challenge is less one of getting a budget for digital transformation approved. It is more one of finding the right start to the digital transformation journey. And this is where KINEXON comes in with our powerful location-based automation software and broad portfolio of connected devices.

Industrial automation is an extremely complex endeavor. Therefore, I recommend companies to take a tri-partite approach to digitalization:

1. Don’t neglect the base

I am often surprised about the intricate strategies companies develop without leveraging what I call the base.” By this I mean basic location data about assets, employees, tools, and vehicles on the shop floor. In order to understand the how”, you must understand the where” and the what.” At the end of the day, 99% of any given production process consists of moving parts – failure to leverage this powerful data means failing the 101 of digitalization. At KINEXON, we are working to close this digital disconnect, with a wide variety of RTLS solutions to capture location data across the supply chain.

2. Doing is more important than planning
Digital change inevitably affects all business units. There are no exceptions – only delays. Given the complexity of today’s advanced manufacturing and global networks, it’s safe to say that there is no one right way to digitize. My approach has always been: Get started and keep iterating!” Kicking off smaller automation use cases and adapting or scaling them as needed might well offer the fastest payback – it surely beats coming to an innovation standstill. KINEXON is facilitating innovation with a fast payback in our product portfolio – the X‑Tag for example is the most cost-efficient UWB sensor worldwide and enables companies to locate an unprecedented amount of assets.

3. Digital transformation goes beyond automation
Companies must have a vision of what their digital transformation strategy should achieve on the shop floor. More importantly though, they should consider the holistic implications of digitalization. It has a far wider impact on business and revenue growth than automation: Think about the sustainability gains digitalization enables – lowering our CO2 output and overall environmental footprint will be one of the main challenges from here on out. The same is true for customizing product portfolios to batch size 1, for upskilling our workforce, for enabling future technologies such as predictive analytics, AI, machine learning, autonomous operations, and robotics. At KINEXON, our powerful Location-based Automation Platform was developed with all these aspects in mind – to make sure we provide value for our clients not only today, but also tomorrow.

A good example for digitalization done right…
…is my old love” Continental. Witnessing the speed with which the company has fully automated its material flow, I can’t help but feel proud to have contributed to this – both while at the company as well as now through my role at KINEXON.

Jürgen Braunstetter, Continental’s Head of Supply Chain Automotive, was convinced of the power his investment in automation will yield for years to come: In the future, size alone will no longer be decisive in competition, but speed and precision will be. Whoever is faster and more flexible will win the race in the end,” he said in an interview with DVZ – and that was in 2014.

This assessment ultimately led to a clearly defined big picture: the fully automated material flow. Continental quickly got down to business in their smart factory model plants: they leveraged location-based automation for several applications at once – and can successfully scale, adapt, and improve their automated processes across facilities now with KINEXON as their trusted partner.

It excites me to see our cooperation becomes so successful, so fast. And I can’t wait to advise and advance more clients with their digital transformation journey.

Editor’s note: Continental AG cooperates with KINEXON for the full automation of its material flow as part of its global smart factory strategy. You can read the full case study here:

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Experience Tool Control and More at the Assembly Show!

The 10th annual Assembly Show is returning to Chicago in a month’s time, and were thrilled to be a Silver Sponsor of this year’s event! Thousands of attendees and exhibitors are coming together to showcase the latest and greatest in technology, equipment and products.

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Key takeaways from IMTS 2022

IMTS 2022 — what a show for the future of manufacturing! The KINEXON team had an incredible time introducing our real-time location technology solutions to many of the over 95,000 attendees and exhibitors in Chicago at the biggest manufacturing trade show in the Western Hemisphere. Here are the 3 key themes we took away from IMTS.

Load Management: A Look Behind the Scenes at the Bundesliga Club With the Fewest Injuries

In the Bundesliga, 1. FC Union Berlin recently became the surprising leader. Union also impressed with another statistic recently: no team had fewer injury-related absences. Is that part of the secret of success?

European League of Football and KINEXON Launch Partnership

In cooperation with the European League of Football, KINEXON’s LPS system will be used for live player tracking in American Football at the upcoming Championship Game in Klagenfurt. The European League of Football also aims to further enhance the fan experience with live stats at the highest level.

Why you need RTLS solutions on your assembly lines

Precision, quality, and speed are key factors for fast-paced manufacturing industries. In the automotive industry alone, a production stop of just a minute can cost tens of thousands of dollars, and automated tool control is a powerful solution to address challenges in automotive assembly. This is the second part of a three-part series exploring the potential of automated tool control for the automotive industry, based on an interview Assembly Magazine conducted with KINEXON. In the second part of the series, we outline why RTLS solutions are the clear choice for the automotive industry. Enjoy the read and stay tuned throughout the series for valuable insights on all things tool control.

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Official Match Balls With Integrated Tracking Sensor - What Do They Deliver That No Other Technology Can?

To take a very close look at every action on the pitch, field or court in professional sports, data collection nowadays relies on countless technologies. In the midst of all these, there are new players: official match balls with an integrated tracking sensors for live tracking. FIFA has tested this technology extensively. The result: Balls with tracking sensors offer exclusive added value.

KINEXON Webinar adressing women-specific requirements in professional sports
Understanding Women-Specific Requirements in Professional Sports

Regardless of your sex, athletes deserve the same treatment; but in this case, equality means to differentiate in the ways athletes need to be trained to perform at their best.

We closed our season-kickoff webinar series with a topic that’s particularly important to us right now — namely, what specific requirements do women have? 

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The Impact of Ball Data on Physical, Tactical, and Technical Performance Evaluation

In combination with player tracking, the measured physical load and athletic performance of players can be evaluated in context of football-specific situations. Thus, it is possible to also assess tactical and technical data in comprehensive context. Some examples: How fast does a player run with the ball? How is a team controlling space? What’s the shot speed? 

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3 Key Features of Automated Container Management

No production or logistics operations function without the extensive use of containers or load carriers. Manufacturers rely on thousands of containers to push materials and products through the supply chain. When a single container arrives at its destination late, at the wrong cycle, or carrying the wrong materials, it can bring the production line process to a standstill. Automated container management solutions overcome this challenge and benefit the entire intralogistics and assembly process — by guaranteeing an optimized and efficient material supply.

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Your 5 Step Guide to Automation with Location Data

WHY AUTOMATE? For leading automotive supplier Continental, the driving reasons behind their push for a smart factory included cost savings and increased efficiency, two far-reaching business-critical metrics. First and foremost, Continental wanted to automate and optimize repetitive manual processes and routines to increase production speed and quality. They identified the handling of material across their production as a key area for improvement.

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Optimizing Order Processing in Production and Intralogistics

Navigating orders successfully and accurately through complex production and intralogistics processes is no small feat. Today, more often than not, orders and materials get lost in transit, don’t get processed through all necessary steps, wait in buffer and storage areas for too long, or just don’t get to their intended workstation in time. This creates inefficiencies in areas such as assembly, quality control, and inventory management, just to name a few. And despite this being both a major efficiency as well as a productivity challenge, many manufacturers don’t have accurate data about their processes as well as their bottlenecks. This is where automated order management solutions come in. 

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Precision, quality, and speed are key factors for fast-paced manufacturing industries. In the automotive industry alone, a production stop of just a minute can cost tens of thousands of dollars, and automated tool control is a powerful solution to address challenges in automotive assembly. This is the first part of a three-part series exploring the potential of automated tool control for the automotive industry, based on an interview Assembly Magazine conducted with KINEXON. In the first part of the series, we focus on understanding the why of tool tracking in the automotive industry. Enjoy the read and stay tuned throughout the series for valuable insights on all things tool control. 

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Ball Tracking: From Subjective Impressions to Objective Measures

As the world’s only tracking provider to offer sensor technology that can be integrated into official football & handball match balls, KINEXON is able to provide real-time positions and inertial data (impacts and spin rate) of the ball with accuracy down to the centimeter. This automated ball tracking and analytics by KINEXON transforms subjective impressions to objective measures.

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How to Return to Action After Pregnancy

Return to play is usually associated with a comeback from injury. Hardly anybody used to talk about the road back after pregnancy. That perception is shifting. More and more female athletes choose to give birth during their careers and make their experiences public. Plus, player and performance tracking can function as an essential tool for female athletes during their journey to return to action. KINEXON aims to give needed support.

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Manufacture more with less at IMTS with KINEXON

After nearly two years of virtual meetings, the industry-leading IMTS and its co-located Hannover Messe USA are events you won’t want to miss. With over 2,000 exhibitor booths and an expected 100,000+ attendees from 115 different countries coming to Chicago, IL from September 12 – 17, the show promises to bring together the best and brightest in manufacturing. Our team of IoT experts from KINEXON will be at the show to help you harness the power of industrial process automation.