As Head of Application and Process Engineering, Dr. Thorsten Thümen, who joined the company on April 1, 2019, is responsible for aligning Sumitomo (SHI) Demag’s application, plasticising technologies and Industry 4.0 technology-led developments.
The teams, led by Dr. Thümen, now report into an Application Centre (AC) hub. This is intentionally designed to foster greater collaboration across the company’s two sites in Schwaig and Wiehe. As well as helping to troubleshoot processing issues for customers, the AC will also focus on delivering real-time process optimisation support and training. Dr. Thümen replaces former Head of Application Engineering and Training, Mr. Andreas Schramm, who has left the company to pursue new professional challenges.
Meeting future plastic production demands
CEO Gerd Liebig explains the rationale for bringing all these customer-centric support and troubleshooting functions under the direction of Dr. Thümen. ''As customers strive to boost their production output rates and maintain their competitive edge, we will assist them to react to market demands by providing application-led consultancy and professional development support and services, customised to their needs. Spearheaded by Dr. Thümen, the Sumitomo (SHI) Demag AC will focus on providing the most responsive manufacturing support and industry insight to customers.''
Last year, Sumitomo (SHI) Demag invested significant resources repositioning its product portfolio and increasing production capacity at the two German locations. The strategic realignment of both sites resulted in faster machinery delivery times and a 50 per cent increase in platen machine capacities. The Germany-based machinery manufacturer is now focused on developing the right technologies to continue its leadership in the packaging market, as well as applying its application know how and precision moulding expertise to support growth in the automotive and medical sectors.
Building a digital-led ecosystem
Dr. Thümen comments: ''Sumitomo (SHI) Demag has a very clear market strategy and focus. By bringing together the development of applications with providing hands on customer support and practical training,we will be better equipped to analyse customers’ current production challenges and respond accordingly, adapting technology solutions so they are future proof. This could range from guidance on processing recycled, renewable or special plastic materials to clear direction on sourcing the optimal processing technology to increase productivity and boost Total Cost of Ownership,'' he adds.
In addition to processing technology, Sumitomo (SHI) Demag will also continue to take the industry lead on developing wider competence and skills. This includes making it easier for customer to connect with practitioners throughout the network and scaling up investments in Smart Factory solutions and IoT technologies. By synchronising data, this will facilitate faster real time production decisions and drive future strategic decision making.''New business models are emerging every day and these developments are continuing to reshape our digital framework. For long term competitiveness these digital ecosystems need to be robust and sustainable,'' clarifies Dr. Thümen.
Noting that Sumitomo (SHI) Demag already has some market-leading innovations to support self-optimising control, including the active technology range, Dr. Thümen’s immediate focus is to create an overarching digitalisation roadmap. He explains: ''Successful digitalisation requires a holistic approach, bring different concepts together. Rather than taking an insular approach we being customer-centric and examining all aspects of our digitised business model. Like any ecosystem, we need a solid platform to nurture growth, and strong investment in R&D.''
To achieve this alignment, Sumitomo (SHI) Demag is fostering partnerships with other industry players, as well as academic institutions to leverage specific expertise.''Aligning all technologies and support services is like building a digital ecosystem. Our customers seek flexibility and production control. Yet, more than anything they want assurance of a unified experience.''
Delivering training when and where customers want it is another aspect to the AC programme. Germany already has plans in motion to replicate the company’s highly successful UK Academy. The company’s plan is to implement a globally accredited training concept with modular courses that could be rolled out via local subsidiaries and tailored to regional skill variations and customers’ needs.
Dr. Thorsten Thümen studied mechanical design at the University of Paderborn, majoring in plastics processing. He completed a doctoral thesis on the optimisation of plasticising systems. The 44 year old specialist from Paderborn also has many years of experience in research and development roles in the (injection moulding) machine sphere.
Dr. Thümen will be at K 2019 for the entire duration of the show. Come by and introduce yourself, Hall 15 Stand D22.