Sustainability through digitalisation: AmpereSoft Managing Director Stefan Mülhens at the Innovation Summit DACH 2021

A long-term climate-neutral world: How this goal can be achieved with the help of industry was the topic of the recent Digital Innovation Summit DACH 2021. For this purpose, Schneider Electric invited experts from several important industries to find solutions for the arising challenges in presentations and discussion panels. AmpereSoft CEO Stefan Mülhens was also present and shared his expertise on digital processes and automation. 

“History – especially in recent years – has taught us that the limits we see today may fall the day after tomorrow,” said Stefan Mülhens, referring to the level of digitalisation and automation that still needs to be achieved. As a participant in the panel discussion “Digital Switchcabinet Construction”, he discussed at the Innovation Summit together with representatives from Schneider Electric and the switchcabinet manufacturer Sedotec what contribution the industry can make to a more sustainable future. Jürgen Mangelberger from Mangelberger Elektrotechnik was also part of the panel as a user from the industry. 

The event was held under the motto “Innovation + Sustainability = Future” and focused specifically on generating green approaches for the building sector, the energy industry and industrial companies. In addition to discussion rounds and an overarching Strategy Talk, the keynote speech by the well-known science presenter Ranga Yogeshwar was a highlight of the summit’s programme. The attractive and informative programme met with lively interest from the audience, so that participants and organisers of the virtual event could be satisfied. 

Digitalisation as an opportunity for more sustainability

What does digitalisation mean in the context of switchcabinet construction? To what extent have digital processes been introduced here so far? How far can digitalisation and automation go and what are the advantages and challenges? These and other questions were examined and answered by the participants in the panel discussion in front of a large audience from the German-speaking switchgear and controlgear construction industry. It became clear that all participants see digitalisation as a great opportunity for sustainable production.

After all, digital and automated processes have the potential to enable resource-saving production. For example, the collection and evaluation of production data can support a circular economy, thanks to which less waste is produced and new raw materials can be procured in a more demand-oriented manner. The collection of digital operating data also allows the conditions under which a switchgear is used to be traced. Faults can be quickly detected and verifiably documented. The information on actual use can be used to determine the “real” maintenance requirements or to calculate failure probabilities. All this information can already be used in the planning of similar installations in order to leverage as yet unused optimisation potential.

Apart from climate-friendly production, digitalisation and the accompanying automation also offer advantages in terms of speed and reliability, which also has a positive effect on the financial side. “Of course, it is also about saving money, being faster and better than others,” says Stefan Mülhens. The fundamental prerequisite for true digitalisation, he says, is standardised and high-quality product data, such as that offered by ECLASS Advanced. “For this, there must be cross-manufacturer coordination that includes both software and hardware providers.”

“Even more possible”

Looking at the current state and future of digitalisation in the industrial context, the AmpereSoft CEO drew a positive interim conclusion: “We have been in the middle of digitalisation for a long time: we are learning to deal with it better and better, to weigh up possibilities and to think more innovatively. And we sense in many places that even more is possible.” However, it is also clear that most projects cannot be achieved alone, but that strong partners are always needed.