The automation industry is undergoing a significant change that is affecting the way companies use software solutions for their automation tasks. In this interview, we talk to Jürgen Dlugosch and Leonhard Kemnitzer from Baumüller Nürnberg GmbH about their experiences with FLECS, an innovative provider of software solutions for automation technology. Find out how FLECS helps to improve the flexibility and versatility of automation solutions.
Insight from Jürgen (Product Manager at Baumüller)
FLECS: Jürgen, could you tell us something about your role at Baumüller and how FLECS helps to offer your products for different platforms?
Jürgen Dlugosch: I am Jürgen from Baumüller Nürnberg GmbH. We are a supplier of drive and automation systems. As a product manager, I am always on the lookout for intelligent solutions on how to easily license, update and distribute Baumüller’s products. With FLECS, Baumüller can offer software for different platforms – completely manufacturer-independent. The App Marketplace offers machine manufacturers the opportunity to select the most suitable solution for their automation task.
Out-of-the-box distribution channel
FLECS: That really sounds like a groundbreaking change in the industry. Leo, as Head of Marketing at Baumüller, could you tell us more about how FLECS helps to offer software products through an additional and scalable sales channel?
Leonhard Kemnitzer: I am Leonhard, Head of Marketing at Baumüller. We offer our customers flexible drive and automation technology for high-end applications. With FLECS, we can offer our customers another sales channel for software products. Via the Marketplace [of FLECS], our software modules, our models or also, for example, our new OPC UA server can be purchased and downloaded very easily. The complete purchase process is integrated out-of-the-box at FLECS and can be easily adapted to the respective needs of the provider if required. The clearly structured backend helps us to manage product and customer data, including licences, as simply and clearly as possible.
Integration of Service Mesh and App Marketplace
FLECS: Jürgen, could you please tell us how Baumüller uses FLECS?
Jürgen Dlugosch: We use two things from FLECS – on the one hand, the Service Mesh, through which we can establish communication with our control system, with our own runtime system, and on the other hand, of course, we use the App Marketplace from FLECS to be able to license, update and also distribute our applications.
Platform-independent solutions for machine manufacturers
FLECS: That sounds very interesting. Could you give us some concrete examples of how this communication via the Service Mesh and the use of the App Marketplace have improved the work at Baumüller?
Jürgen Dlugosch: Yes, that I can provide the machine manufacturer with platform-independent solutions for his automation task. That means that the customer can also use Baumüller products on his perhaps already existing control system, that he can use apps that FLECS makes available via Marketplace, that are tested, that also work in the context with Baumüller and with the machine manufacturer.
Choice from a wide range of tested apps
FLECS: That sounds like impressive flexibility for your customers. Could you tell us more about how machine builders benefit from this platform-independent solution?
Jürgen Dlugosch: Machine builders of course get a chance to choose from many apps already tested by FLECS that can solve their automation tasks. So, for example, in the direction of IOT, data processing and so on. This gives a whole new flexibility that did not exist before. In the past, control systems from other manufacturers were actually closed systems that could only be expanded with great difficulty or almost not at all, and expansions could only be carried out at great expense.
Meeting market demands
FLECS: Last but not least: Why do you use a system like FLECS, what is the long-term vision behind it?
Jürgen Dlugosch: The strategy behind this is that due to all the demands – on connectivity, IOT, digitalisation – there is actually no longer any possibility of being able to offer a closed system in line with the market. That means we have to open up because of the market requirements.
The cooperation between Baumüller and FLECS shows how innovative solutions in the automation industry can improve the flexibility, versatility and integration of software solutions. Thanks to FLECS, machine manufacturers can now use platform-independent solutions and choose from a variety of tested apps to manage their automation tasks more efficiently. This represents a significant advance and promises a promising future for the automation industry.