Bernd Zapf quickly crosses the long reception hall of the brick building that is rich in history and has been home to the Heller family-owned business for generations and rushes to a meeting with his colleagues from the service team. As head of development new business and technology at Heller, or “DN,” Zapf often hears at these meetings what challenges Heller customers are facing: “In recent years, flexibility in production has increased at a steady pace. Our customers are currently struggling with the need for more flexibility and greater competitive pressure. They need to deliver better product quality while keeping operating costs down and maximizing production efficiency. This means machine downtime needs to be avoided completely because it costs money.”
This last aspect in particular has attracted Heller’s attention. The machine tool manufacturer knows what impact machine downtime can have and how important it therefore is to continuously monitor all its machines. When Heller service technicians reported that customers were also looking for a solution in this area, this motivated creativity within the DN and Service Product Development departments. And so the idea for the Heller Services Interface app was born. The app visualizes the status and operating data of machines in a clear and transparent interface. Zapf and his team asked themselves two critical questions in this project: How do app users, that is, customers, get the machine data onto their browser-based device – and what about industrial security in this area? They held intensive meetings with Siemens to answer these questions and come up with a solution.