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Schaeffler is creating the technical prerequisites for digital transformation through its partnership with IBM and the further development of its IT infrastructure. Powerful algorithms sift through the wealth of data from industrial applications within a matter of seconds, learning systems with artificial intelligence will complement human expertise in the future.
Dr. Pankaj Joshi has been working for Schaeffler as a data analyst since mid-2016. The photonics specialist contributes his expertise to support the development of new services and business models.
Delhi, Stockholm, Ghent. And now Herzogenaurach. It was no coincidence that Pankaj Joshi, who holds a doctorate in photonics engineering, decided in favor of Schaeffler in mid-2016. The data analysis expert was specifically looking for an employer for which he could use his knowledge to make a difference. “Schaeffler holds a huge treasure: countless data, both from applications in the industrial business and from its own production,” says Joshi. Unearthing this treasure, however, is laborious work. For example, Schaeffler has been active in the area of “Condition Monitoring” for many years now. The data obtained in the past – such as that from the monitoring of wind turbines – are to be used to establish correlations between the operating conditions, maintenance intensity and the key components supplied by Schaeffler. “To achieve this, we need not only consistent data, but must also ask the right questions,” explains Joshi. “That is why I work very closely with the wind power specialists from Schaeffler Industrial.”
Powerful algorithms that scan billions of sets of data in a matter of seconds are to be made available to answer these questions. In the fall of 2016, Schaeffler entered into a strategic partnership with IBM to build the necessary know-how. This involves much more than just utilizing the digital platform that will henceforth be used as Schaeffler’s central data hub. Schaeffler and IBM will also collaborate on advancing the development of networked solutions and technologies for the analysis of industrial data. In the future, learning computer systems with artificial intelligence are to complement human expertise in many areas – for example, when it comes to optimized energy consumption or logistics at Schaeffler plants.
To be prepared for the challenges of the future, Schaeffler continues to forge ahead with the development of its IT solutions, complementing its portfolio where appropriate for digital transformation. The customer-friendly display of data evaluations is of great importance in this context, such as when it comes to setting up a new service platform for Schaeffler. This will primarily be used to offer condition monitoring services. “In the past, our experts prepared the data for the customer. Now it is crucial to automate data evaluation and make it available to the user online in an easily comprehensible form,” explains Jürgen Wernsdörfer, one of two project managers responsible for Schaeffler’s digital platform. His colleague, Christof Heurung, adds: “Moreover, it is imperative for the applications to run reliably and securely on various mobile devices and be usable everywhere, not just in the Schaeffler network.” And in fact, there are now already plants where maintenance specialists are able to access relevant SAP data via their smartphones, for example.
At Schaeffler it is possible to apply IT knowledge to the real, physical world.
From data analysts to IT specialists for mobile computing, Schaeffler is increasingly creating jobs for digitalization experts. “We will be recruiting on a massive scale in this field in the coming years,” explains Ingo Krauß, the responsible HR Manager at Schaeffler. Many applicants join the company directly after obtaining their university doctorates, while others come from small start-ups or even from the digital labs of DAX companies. “We have exciting tasks and challenges to offer,” says Krauß. “At Schaeffler, these people can apply their IT knowledge to the real, physical world.” Nevertheless, Schaeffler is not only focusing on the recruitment of external specialists, but also aims to intensify its own training and further education opportunities. To illustrate this, in mid-2017 a new trainee program will be launched that explicitly focuses on digitalization. For whether in Delhi or Herzogenaurach, digitalization expertise will be indispensable for the working world of the future.
Number of digitalization and IT specialists Schaeffler plans to hire in the coming years.