Six Reasons How Your Service Benefits from Modularizing Your Machines

Published on August 25, 2022 from Vanessa Kluge

The idea of considering machines and systems as rigid closed systems has long been outdated. Instead, complex machines and systems today are more like modular systems that consist of several components or individual machines. The overall system can therefore differ significantly from application to application depending on the configuration of individual modules. Here are a few selected examples:

  • Material is fed in automatically by a conveyor belt or manually by employees.
  • Quality control is carried out in several stages in the form of a visual inspection, an automated comparison with an image database or a function test using integrated sensors. 
  • The production process of the target product requires different processing steps. 

Going into even more detail, each machine consists of various components. These characterize the function of the machine and, due to their susceptibility to wear, are often modular in design to make it easier to replace them. Examples of such components include cameras, robotic arms, sensors, air filters and motors.
What unites them all is the requirement to manage assets in the form of machines and components in a more granular way. Thanks to the introduction of the component function as a further structural element by Kontron AIS in the digital transformation solution EquipmentCloud®, this is now possible. 

For the service and after sales support of a machine manufacturer this highlights six good reasons why modularization is worthwhile:

1)    Specific master data for components

The clear separation between machine and component brings clarity to the volume of master data that previously was inevitably assigned to the overall system. This makes relevant information easier to find.


2)    Categorization by component type
Components can be categorized by type to reduce the administration and maintenance work of similar components to a minimum. Master data groups are predefined and default values are automatically adopted for manufacturer type, specifications and documents.

3)    Flexible assignment of a machine’s modular components 
It is in the nature of components that they are sometimes more susceptible to wear than the machine or the system in which they are installed. Functional expansions in the course of retrofits can also lead to changes in the composition of machine components over the life cycle of the machine. Thanks to the flexible assignment of components to one or more machines, seamless tracking is possible to make data administration much easier for employees.

4)    History of the entire service life of the component
In order to be able to transparently track modifications or repairs that have made component changes necessary for the service technician and machine operator, a complete history over the entire service life of the component is essential. The EquipmentCloud® provides historical tracking from the point of view of the components and equipment.

5)    Components as bookable options
In the digital transformation process, the establishment of new services plays an increasingly important role for mechanical engineering. At the same time, existing service offerings must also be clearly mapped in digital form. In view of the high modularity of the systems and the large number of customer-specific projects, the service team is faced with the challenge of communicating this intuitively using the established customer platform. This is exactly where the component comes into play as a helpful structural element. It can be used by service and after sales as an optional bookable option. Services such as expansions or upgrades can now be assigned to a machine as a component and successively released to the customer.

6)    Creating components via REST interface
To ensure that administrators can still see the forest for the trees, a REST API is available for managing the components. Components and types can be created and edited using the REST interface and master data can be assigned as text, number, date or document. Attaching and separating components to and from a machine is also possible.

Six reasons how complex machines and systems can be easily managed at module and component level. And that's just the beginning!

Let's take a look into the future of our roadmap: If we want to establish holistic component management, then not only is it important to record the initial configuration of the machine (settings of sensors, measured output values, etc.) in the master data, but also the tracking of changes in configuration that occur during commissioning or throughout the lifecycle of each component. These changes can be adjusted directly to the component is possible, but uncommon. Instead, the configuration is checked directly during routine maintenance or projects using predefined checklists. A direct comparison and automatic tracking of changes in the master data history for each component is therefore very helpful. In this context, service jobs and software updates related to components play an important role. 

After all, filter and analysis functions help not only service and after sales support technicians, but also product development, in order to easily identify common problems, whether related to hardware or software, to solve them efficiently and prevent them in the future. Systems and machines, including components, are continuously improved. 

Are your machines and systems also modular? Have you not been able to track key components so far? Put an end to it now! We will show you during a live demo how you can implement this specifically for your systems. Arrange an appointment with our team now!

Are you ready to put your digitalization strategy into practice?