INTERVIEW WITH PLUS10

Plus10 is a Hightech-Spinoff of Fraunhofer, Europe’s largest applied research organization, and is based in Augsburg and Stuttgart in Germany. Plus10 offers continuously learning optimization tools for complex manufacturing lines and injection molding machines leading to 5-15% OEE increase.

Easy Engineering: What are the main areas of activity of the company?

Plus10: Our customers from pharmaceutical, medical, consumer electronics and automotive sectors gain on average plus 10% productivity with us in their automated production lines or injection moulding machines.

E.E: What’s the news for 2020 about new products?

Plus10: We at plus10 are constantly working on new features for our two products Darwin and Shannon®: Technically, we are now able to access not only machine control data (PLC) for real-time root cause detection, but also to use data from subsystems such as robot controllers. In addition, we are always working on the usability of our AI solutions. For example, Shannon®, our worker assistance system, which provides machine operators with situational operative solutions for errors, is now also being translated back and forth between different languages “on the fly”. This overcomes language barriers when used in multinational companies and supports shop floor employees especially in understanding technical terms.

E.E: What are the ranges of traded products?

Plus10: We currently offer two products including connectivity and installation/hosting services:

Our tool Shannon® continuously learns relationships between detected losses, most-likely root-causes and solutions eliminating or mitigating technical downtimes. The result is prioritized and communicated in real-time to the responsible machine or maintenance operator or even to the PLC directly. The system is ready-to-run after one week of data-collection but keeps on learning beyond the first week during production.

Furthermore, our second AI-tool Darwin reduces your bottleneck cycle time by 6-10% by learning a virtual ideal process of several connected machines. Darwin is currently implemented in the field of injection molding machines and optimizes continuously the dynamics of those machines by suggesting parameter adjustments.

E.E: At what stage is the market where you are currently active?

Plus10: Due to our abstract optimization technology, which is directly based on the involved machine controllers and learns a behaviour model based on the high-frequency raw data, our solution is transferable to many industries coping with discrete manufacturing processes.

As we are mainly active in Germany, Switzerland and neighbouring countries, we are of course noticing the effects of the current economic situation. Most companies are now focusing on the challenges they face due to Corona crisis. However, it is noticeable that cost pressure is leading to questions about increasing efficiency in production that our AI tools can effectively answer. As already mentioned, some of our customers come from the pharmaceutical sector, from which we have been receiving an increasing number of enquiries in recent days. Here, a first downtrend seems to have already been overcome.

E.E: What can you tell us about market trends?

Plus10: Digitalization and especially Artificial Intelligence is a big hype topic at the moment. However, we should not neglect that there is also real potential in those topics. We see a lot of interested but also sceptical companies asking for short-term beneficial solutions as a first step towards digitalization in production. That is the reason why we also offer our AI-tools as a so called „software-as-a-service” product. The customer doesn’t need to care about IT infrastructure, just about the subscription. That is the easiest step to get started with lowest risk as possible.

E.E: What are the most innovative products marketed?

Plus10: Our Shannon® tool gives recommendations on how to solve currently occurring problems and keeps on learning while the user gives feedback on those proposals. Hence Shannon® represents a closed-loop optimization control cycle getting better and better. This is a truly disruptive change compared to state-of-the-art lean management optimization tools.

E.E: What estimations do you have for 2020?

By the end of 2020, we are aiming for a significant number of licenses sold in our core sectors of consumer goods, medical goods, pharmaceuticals and automotive all over Europe. For the internationalization, we are looking for an investor who will enable rapid growth of plus10 beyond Europe.

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