Interview Managing Director Dunkermotoren Uwe Lorenz
1. Despite initial easing in public life and falling case numbers, the corona pandemic continues to dominate our private and business lives. How does your company experience this time?
In the first quarter of the year, incoming orders and sales were at their usual high level, then Corona led to a critical supply situation for many supplier components. With a certain time lag, there was then also a significant slump in demand in some target markets. As a consequence, short-time working was then necessary, albeit on a small scale. We are currently registering a slight increase in demand and are confident that we will emerge from the crisis stronger than before.
2. Due to the current situation, the health care system has to meet enormous demands and therefore also technical needs. How does this affect your medical and laboratory technology division?
We supply motors for many devices in medical technology, including ventilators and sewing machines for the production of protective suits. At the beginning of the pandemic, there was an increase in the number of call-offs and enquiries in this business unit, but this returned to normal levels after just a few weeks.
3. In Dunkermotoren's corporate philosophy, customer orientation and innovative thinking and acting are at the top of the agenda. How do you bring these two aspects together in terms of product development?
In recent years, Dunkermotoren has brought a large number of new products and functionalities onto the market, which offer our customers an innovative and economical drive topology in their machines and systems, and thus real added value. The basis for a large part of the innovations is the "Motor Control Platform", which is currently being integrated into all servo motor series. This ranges from the simple and cost-effective "dMove" 4Q control electronics to the "dPro" motion controller with high-resolution encoder, vector control, Ethernet interfaces and safety functionality.
4. What is behind the terms, Artificial Intelligence and Swarm Intelligence as the basis for Industry 4.0, for Dunkermotoren's motor solutions?
Swarm intelligence is strongly associated with IIoT (Industrial Internet of Things) and decentralized systems. We are very active here with our intelligent motors. The main thing is that every motor or drive network itself carries the application in its stomach. Necessary real-time decisions for reacting to the environment are made by the drive itself and coordinated with other drives. A separate PLC is no longer required in these applications.
Artificial intelligence comes into play when drives transfer their status data, such as temperature or current curves, to the cloud and patterns are derived there. This makes it possible to recognize when defects or anomalies are imminent. This information can then be fed back to the drive itself or to management systems via bookable services in order to initiate the necessary reactions.
5. What requirements must a modern drive solution meet, in a nutshell?
It must have decentralized intelligence and sensor technology as well as a communication interface. This is the basis for many possibilities and features, including those mentioned in the previous section. In addition, "classic" values such as energy efficiency, power density, performance and economy continue to count.
6. Looking at the developments in the various user industries for drive technology products and systems, which industries do you think will be among the most important in the coming years?
At Dunkermotoren, our target markets include intralogistics, mechanical and plant engineering, medical technology, agricultural technology, railway technology and building automation. This gives us a healthy mix of promising industries and a low dependence on individual applications.
7. What medium and long-term corporate development is Dunkermotoren focusing on?
Since 2019, a team at Dunkermotoren has been working exclusively on connecting Dunkermotoren's servo motors simply and securely to the Internet and, based on this, realizing added-value functionalities. To be able to solve this together with strong partners, Dunkermotoren has also joined the "Open Industry 4.0 Alliance" and "MindSphere World" associations. In addition, the focus is on growing together with our sister company MAE from Italy. With a total of 1,800 employees, we will then be able to offer our customers stepper motors and blowers in the future.