Automate to Innovate: Manufacturing efficiency emerging from COVID-19
July 29, 2020 at
It’s funny how history continues to repeat itself; it re-emerges with the same premise, but adapts to what is relevant at the time. For instance, in the ’60s and ’70s, milk and other perishables were delivered straight to our doors and then the service just vanished. Today, delivery of groceries—or anything for that matter—transcends in-store sales.
Predicting how the market will react to new ideas isn’t easy, even with sophisticated forecasts like AI analytics and algorithms. There is never a guarantee. However, what about the people who created the products we didn’t even know we wanted—was it based on a hunch? What pure brilliance.
An understated example of foresight into the idea of mass customization and modularity is Ernst Blickle, the co-founder of SEW-EURODRIVE. In 1945, Mr. Blickle took over management at SEW-EURODRIVE. He was a forward-thinking entrepreneur who was able to identify that the market needed drive solutions that were industry specific—even before the market realized it. Status quo at the time was building customer-specific gear unit-motor combinations that delayed delivery times, required custom tooling and came with huge price tag. All major pain points for growing industries.
His solution was modularity: Mr. Blickle developed a flexible and affordable modular system of gear units and motors that could be implemented in industrial series productions with low unit costs. This process allowed his products to be fitted and configured to the exact specifications the customer requested—without any major disruption in the assembly process.
FAST FORWARD to 2020—the founding principles are once again at the forefront of today’s industrial demands.
SEW-EURODRIVE’s new systems solution branch, MAXOLUTION®, inherits the same guiding values discovered by Ernest Blickle—but adapted for today’s smart factory. MAXOLUTION® is an Industry 4.0 system solutions provider that designs, manufactures and services flexible and modular advanced manufacturing processes for a wide array of industries.