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Our view of the news

ASCon Systems is a Gartner “Cool Vendors in Digitalization Through Industry 4.0”

Analysts at Gartner list ASCon Systems in a global selection of four “Cool Vendors 2018” for “Digitalization Through Industry 4.0”. It’s another major success for the Stuttgart-based startup, established in 2017 by the team of DELTA Management Consulting GmbH. The editors of CENIT Magazine spoke with Mathias Stach, co-founder and Director of ASCon Systems GmbH, Dr. Raimund Menges, founder and Director of DELTA Management Consulting GmbH, and Kurt Bengel, CEO of CENIT AG to ask them for some background information and their views on this news item.

Mr. Stach: Just making it onto the shortlist must have been a major success for you. What were your thoughts when you learned that ASCon had actually made the top four? What does this distinction mean to your company?

As you would expect, this has great significance for us because it increased our visibility on the market overnight. Because of Gartner’s standing, this applies to the world of IIoT exerts (Industrial Internet of Things), but also to the management level. During the screening process, we already found ourselves among an impressive field of competitors. Along with another German company and providers from China and Canada, we are now one of the “Cool Vendors 2018”. So you can imagine that we celebrated a bit! Pride in what we have achieved is also a motivation to keep striving towards our goal – that anyone who wants to take manufacturing in the Industry 4.0 direction knows us as the right provider in the Digital Twin field!

For its “Cool Vendor” list, Gartner analyzes market innovations around the globe. What makes your solution so unique that it finished right in front of the Industry 4.0 world?

The ASCon Digital Twin is an IIoT platform that lets businesses tear down the wall between the physical and digital worlds that still exists in manufacturing today. Our solution is based on a real-time core and a semantics engine. In the respective context, it aggregates and integrates the great oceans of data generated by IIoT. This turns Big Data into Smart Data – in real time as well as historically. Each object and each process is associated to a persistent digital file that fleshes out as the lifecycle progresses. Context- and role-specific views of complex product and plant structures provide transparency, simplify decision-making and enable efficient collaboration.

Gartner confirms our USP in two main fields of excellence: Our solution can map complex production systems in a single model, and incoming signals are processed so rapidly that it enables true manufacturing control.

The ASCon Digital Twin drastically simplifies the introduction and operation of Industry 4.0. We are truly able to say that no major provider on the market has anything comparable to offer.

Gartner’s analysis says: “ASCon Systems will appeal to CIOs of manufacturing enterprises planning to implement I4.0 use cases requiring standardized, aggregated and virtualized product and asset data.” Can you give us some typical use cases? What challenges can a CIO overcome with the aid of an ASCon Digital Twin?

The ASCon Digital Twin is a bridge between PLM (product development, planning and virtual commissioning), analytics (big data/AI) und real-world production.

Among other things, digital twins serve to reliably safeguard production facilities from the planning stages on, and to monitor and optimize their functionalities in ongoing operation. That makes them a major prerequisite for digital transformation of manufacturing in the context of Industry 4.0.

The ASCon Digital Twin offers a means for creating a digital mirror image of production facilities including virtualized controls. This mirror image is connected to the real-world plant via an IoT (Internet of Things) platform.

An example of an Industry 4.0 use case with considerable benefits for overall plant efficiency would be real-time status-quo monitoring of production lines, including feedback to the quality control loop.

Dr. Menges, Mr. Bengel: In April you announced a new strategic partnership between your companies. With CENIT and DELTA on board, ASCon can achieve far greater market presence. How would you describe the benefits of this constellation from the customer’s point of view? How do the competencies of the trio complement one another?

Kurt Bengel: In digital transformation, it is essential for manufacturing companies to start quickly and work on digital continuity right now. To achieve that, they need partners who can stay focused on the overall strategy. At the same time, these partners have to provide the implementation skills that production needs. We call this “think big, start small, start now”, and it’s an approach that’s given us a successful market position.

From the customer’s point of view, our collaboration with DELTA and ASCon Systems has increased our consulting range as well as our implementation capabilities. We were able to expand an already effective network of experts – and as a businessman I can tell you that these days it’s a challenge to find consultants with this skill set. Thanks to the cutting-edge technology of the ASCon Digital Twin, we can also offer our customers an excellent Industry 4.0 door-opener. So I see many advantages.

Dr. Raimund Menges: It’s often been said that many of the solutions and technologies we now need for digital transformation have been around for a long time – longer than the iPhone, in any case. But these have to be implemented in order to reach digital continuity. Additionally, we need major innovations to reach the goal of real-time production capability. The ASCon Digital Twin is such a component. To bring together all the required changes, our customers need partners with comprehensive understanding, experience and expertise. And, to be sure, they need a good network. Because, let’s not fool ourselves, the magnitude of the challenge means that everyone involved must be ready to think and act outside the box. With CENIT, DELTA and ASCon at their side, manufacturing enterprises have access to such a high-performance partnership.

Mr. Bengel, Gartner’s “Cool Vendor” list is a globally recognized award for excellence. But your partnership is only a few weeks old. Are you already in a position to offer the ASCon Digital Twin in all the countries in which you are active?

Kurt Bengel: We began our first joint projects long before April 2018. But now we can really get down to developing efficient interfaces for the solution by ASCon Systems. In rolling out apps, in our internal communication and in our training activities, we will first focus on Europe.

Mr. Stach, Dr. Menges, Mr. Bengel, many thanks for this interview!