Any vendor looking to poach the clients of a competitor is wasting its time, writes Martin Olsen for iStart …
The mid-market ERP space is fascinating right now. Oracle (an enterprise player) just bought NetSuite for $9.3 billion. Sage (which likes to buy and rename software) just purchased Intacct for $850 million. Microsoft (dominates mid-market ERP on-premise software) spent hundreds of millions building Dynamics 365 Financials.
Mid-market companies are often defined as companies that have between 50 and 1000 employees, or sometimes as those with revenues between US$100 million and $3 billion. This is a very large market segment with well over 200,000 USA-based businesses in that category alone. If you add in the top-end of the small market down to companies turning over $50 million, the market gets wildly larger.
This context is necessary to appreciate the size of the mid-market that ERP vendors are addressing. These companies have complex business processes and compliance requirements requiring the purchase of software solutions to manage and keep control of the business.
IPWEA is the professional organisation providing member services and advocacy for those involved in and delivering public works and engineering service in Australia and New Zealand.
Previously known as the Institute of Municipal Engineering Australia (IMEA), the organisation is expanding its traditional local government engineering focus to the broader public works and thereby covering all tiers of government as well as the private sector, where we have over 30% of our membership. Almost all of Australia and New Zealand's professional consultancy firms which specialise in public sector infrastructure including roads, water, power, rail, ports and airports - are members of IPWEA. Our private sector members bring thought leadership, innovation and a commercial focus to IPWEA's industry leadership.
The evolvement of IPWEA maintains the traditional expertise of local government engineering but by broadening the base of expertise and experience, adds a new dimension to public works professionalism in Australia and New Zealand.
RocketLab are looking for summer interns to join their New Zealand team from November 2017 - February 2018!
Exciting opportunities are available in the following teams:
Analysis - Guidance & Navigation - Production & Manufacturing - Avionics - Software - Propulsion and the Launch Range.
If you are a third or fourth year engineering student who is innovative, intelligent and completely enthusiastic about aerospace, then this is your chance to spend the summer learning from the best and contributing towards making space accessible to all.
View Positions Here . . . Please note the positions shown are published on the RocketLab webside and may not necessarily be intership related
Aluminium from end-of-life cars to be recycled into new Jaguar Land Rover vehicles£2 million project cuts waste and helps reduce carbon emissionsExtends existing scheme to recycle scrap aluminium from manufacturing processRecycling uses up to 95 per cent less energy than primary aluminium production
Jaguar Land Rover, the UK’s largest vehicle manufacturer, is expanding the use of recycled aluminium in its car bodies to cut waste and reduce carbon emissions.
The £2 million project, called REALITY, has found a way to enable the closed-loop recycling of aluminium from end-of-life vehicles back into high-performance product forms for new vehicle body manufacture in the UK by Jaguar Land Rover.
REALITY builds on the REALCAR project allowing tens of thousands of tonnes of aluminium generated in the manufacturing process to be recycled and reused as a closed-loop. Aluminium from other sources, including end-of-life vehicles, can now be graded and ‘born again’ in the manufacture of new cars.
This unique ‘closed-loop’ automotive recycling system helps to further develop the circular economy model to deliver both financial and environmental benefits.
REALCAR began as a partnership between Jaguar Land Rover, Innovate UK, Novelis, Norton Aluminium, Stadco, Brunel University London, Zyomax and Innoval Technology. The original project and subsequent work with suppliers enabled Jaguar Land Rover to reclaim more than 75,000 tonnes of aluminium scrap and re-use it in the aluminium production process in 2016/17.
Implementing closed-loop aluminium recycling has involved cutting-edge chemistry, new infrastructure and investment of more than £13 million. It is driving a new culture that treats waste material as a high-value commodity. Quality will remain paramount, and the project has evaluated aluminium grades at chemistry and microstructure level to increase tolerance to recycling.
The project, part-funded by Innovate UK, has involved more than 10 press shops (Jaguar Land Rover and external suppliers) with aluminium being remelted by Novelis.
Simon Edmonds, Director of Manufacturing and Materials at Innovate UK, said: “Innovate UK is proud of our support for the REALCAR programme, and this exciting latest stage of the project, REALITY, is another excellent example of collaboration between large and small businesses in the supply chain, supporting them to scale up and become more productive. These projects have been a model in terms of professional delivery of complex research and development.”
Work continues to will refine the process of turning aluminium from ‘end-of-life’ cars into new vehicles. The REALITY project will continue to deliver significant sustainability benefits, with aluminium recycling requiring up to 95 per cent less energy than primary aluminium production. Innovate UK awarded a grant of £1.3 million to the project in 2016 as part of its Manufacturing and Materials Round One funding competition.
The new project will consider advanced sorting technologies and evaluate the next generation aluminium alloys for greater recyclability. Innovations in the sorting and separating technologies applied to automotive end-of-life waste streams will also help other sectors, including packaging and construction. Resource recovery specialist Axion has joined the project to develop the sorting technologies for recovery of a high grade recycled aluminium. The project partners are Jaguar Land Rover, Axion Recycling, Innovate UK, Novelis, Norton Aluminium, Brunel University London, WMG University of Warwick and Innoval Technology.
REALITY supports material stewardship as part of the Aluminium Stewardship Initiative (ASI) Performance Standard, to actively encourage the most effective recycling approaches for aluminium. Jaguar Land Rover is an ASI member (https://aluminium-stewardship.org/).
For more information on how the REALITY project is an evolution from the REALCAR project, visit: https://youtu.be/2493lsmnCHM
Jaguar Land Rover will invest £4 billion annually to extend its model range and manufacturing footprintThe World Car of The Year, the Jaguar F-Pace, contributed to the resurgence of the Jaguar brand which saw an 83% increase in sales year on yearOver the past six years, Jaguar Land Rover has doubled sales and employment, more than tripled turnover, and invested more than £15 billion in new product creation and capital expenditureJaguar Land Rover is one of the UK’s largest exporters and generates around 80% of its revenue from exports
Have you ever had a great idea and wished you could figure out how to get it to market, but you weren’t really willing to “bet the farm” on it? As someone who has been in that position on several occasions, I can share a few insights.
First, I’ve never been tempted to contact one of those firms that markets heavily about how they help novice inventors develop ideas and provide lots of support at every step of the way. I’ve generally assumed, perhaps unfairly, that they’re much more interested in the fees they’ll collect than in really helping me succeed. This article was written by Douglas Hoon back in March 2016 for Machine Design
Second, I’ve never sought out angel investors or venture capitalists as a way to fund the process. They provide much more mainstream approaches, but such investors will rightly expect that you will be totally focused on achieving certain agreed-upon milestones on schedule. And they will be quick to walk away if they see the opportunity fading. It’s a high-risk, high-reward, time-critical approach that makes sense if you’re already financially independent or young enough and without major family obligations that you can weather a spectacular failure and move on with your life. Or you really like to gamble.
My approach has always been to do my inventing “nights and weekends” as a complement to a regular job that pays the bills, investing my own funds on a schedule I can afford and putting in a few hours a week slowly pushing the idea. Not every idea is a success, but with this strategy it’s possible to eventually succeed financially if only one in 10 ideas sees some level of commercial success.
Like many in the Machine Design audience, I have a small basement shop and some design tools that let me tinker and pursue ideas while avoiding the expense of real-estate rental, hiring employees, and bank loans or other debt. Thus, when some of my efforts proved to be “ahead of their time,” I’ve been able to weather the long haul until the market catches up. During that time, I am able to keep the idea alive while maintaining full ownership of the IP, persisting in overcoming the obstacles that will intrude, learning more about the markets involved, and laying a solid foundation for success. That old adage that success is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration is true, and you need to give yourself the opportunity to actually invest that 99% without worrying about investor demands or running out of money.
In the process of acquiring 10 patents and writing over a dozen additional provisional and non-provisional patents, I’ve gained a lot of insights that you may find useful.
• If you work for a company, especially one involved in design, manufacturing, or consulting, there is a strong possibility you were required to sign an agreement that assigns the rights to any invention you conceive to your employer. Sometimes this provision extends for patent filings that occur 90 days or more from the date you leave the company. So before you do anything, talk to your boss or someone in your HR department to find out if you can carve out some type of exception to that policy. Companies are often willing to let you individually patent ideas that lie outside their competitive area of interest. If you can’t do that, and you’re unwilling to launch your own business, there is little reason to pursue this strategy.
• Your only protection as the inventor of a product is a patent. And the only circumstance under which most potential customers/acquirers/licensees of your idea will even talk to you is if you have at least applied for a patent. They don’t want to be embroiled in any charges that they’ve stolen your idea. A patent application, with its definitive time stamp, sets clear boundaries on who owns what.
• Patent lawyers are really expensive. Until you’re sure you have something likely to provide a return on what could be a substantial investment, figure out how to use the many tools available on U.S. Patent Office’s website www.USPTO.gov. It’s especially important that you learn how to use their advanced search tools for patents and published applications.
• Our patent system is based on the “first to file” principle. Fortunately, you can file a provisional patent application on your own, without help other than reading the guidelines on the USPTO website, as soon as the idea crystalizes in your mind. The cost for a first-time inventor filing under “micro entity” status is only $65. If you don’t qualify for that rate, the fee for a “small entity” is $130.
Provisional patent applications are good for one year. That time window lets you explore an idea more fully with reduced risk that it will be stolen. This exploration should include your own efforts to determine whether the idea is truly novel or so close to someone else’s patent that it is not worth pursuing. It should also include reaching out to potential customers/acquirers to determine whether there is any significant level of interest, i.e., do you have a product idea people will actually pay for? And finally, this one-year window gives you an opportunity to create a prototype, even a crude representation, to determine whether the idea will actually work. For this latter goal, I’ve found the 3D printer on my home desktop to be priceless.
• Submitting a provisional patent requires that you be able to adequately document/describe your idea in both words and figures. If you’re not a good writer, get help from friends or family. And think carefully about all the different ways your idea’s general functional characteristics might be realized. Your provisional patent not only registers the priority date for your idea claims, it also limits what you can later claim (without losing your priority date) in a subsequent non-provisional patent application.
The drawing portion of the application can be made much easier if you can create a range of drawing views from one of the available drawing software packages–preferably a solids modeling program. If you know how to use one of these programs, great. And if your employer will let you use company software for a personal project like this, it can be a big cost saver. However, should you need to acquire your own design software, there are several alternatives worth looking at. SolidWorks is a superb choice for small inventors, but it costs about $5,000 for the initial license and has substantial annual subscription fees. Other, more recent 3D solids programs, are less expensive. AutoDesk’s Fusion 360 and OnShape are two that come to mind. There is actually a version of OnShape you can get for free with the only limitation that your cloud-based file storage cannot exceed 5 GB. Patent drawings at the provisional level don’t necessarily need to conform to any particular format, but the USPTO publishes a definitive drawing format guide you should get in the habit of using.
• After you decide your idea is worth pursuing beyond the provisional patent level, legal protection starts to become more expensive. If there is a chance your idea will have broad appeal, especially on an international level, the investment in a patent attorney is certainly warranted. If, however, you determine there is a small market, but one worth pursuing for a small business, maybe something you could do almost at a hobby level for the enjoyment and small additional income it could afford, then you might think about prosecuting the non-provisional patent yourself. The USPTO lets individual inventors file pro se. I’ve done it once under just this set of financial considerations. The process is still underway, so I have limited experience to describe the plusses and minuses.
• One strategy I’ve used on several occasions is to solicit help in the patenting process from a larger firm interested in licensing the rights to the invention. Under these terms, they typically fund the out-of-pocket expenses for all legal fees. Inventors are generally expected to contribute their time to support development of the required patent specification and drawings with no compensation other than for direct expenses.
A natural extension of this strategy is to also solicit help from the licensing firm to defend the patent once it issues. This is potentially a huge factor in your overall business strategy because the value of a patent is only as good as your ability to defend it against potential infringers. As an individual pitted against a multinational corporation, you would have almost no chance of enforcing your rights. With the help of a larger firm, the odds go up substantially. Most agreement language around this type of provision will give the licensing firm “the right, but not the obligation” to defend the idea. Typically any damages won in a patent trial go to whoever funded the suit, and in the case it would be the licensing firm and not to you. That’s okay because your interest is in protecting the royalty stream from the license and if that continues, you win too.
I find the whole process of invention, design, and marketing of ideas to be fun and a great sideline to my normal work life. As hobbies go, it’s one of the few with the potential to actually supplement your income rather than be a steady economic drain. Like every hobby, it gets easier as you develop skills and more experience. It’s also a great way to keep my mind active and something I hope to do well into what would otherwise be a quiet retirement.
GERMANY: | An alliance of German manufacturing technology firms is setting out to establish a global platform for the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), with the launch of ADAptive Manufacturing Open Solutions (ADAMOS).
The group want to establish ADAMOS as a global standard for industry and to attract other machine builders to the initiative. The companies involved are machine tool builder DMG Mori, degreasing/cleaning specialist Dürr, metrology specialist Carl Zeiss, software expert Software AG and IT specialist ASM PT.
The open IIoT platform ADAMOS is non-proprietary and brings together the most up-to-date IT technology and industry knowledge. “It enables engineering companies to offer tried-and-tested solutions for digitally networked production to their customers with little effort. Machine tool builders, as well as their suppliers and customers will benefit from this as ADAMOS is a platform service that offers data autonomy and access to leading software solutions,” the official release says.
Says Christian Thönes, chief executive officer of DMG Mori AG: “Regarding digitisation the machine and plant building industry has to set its own standards and drive development. This can only work with strong partners. That is why we are offering an open network with ADAMOS together with leading machine building, production and software/IT know-how – from machine builders for machine builders, their suppliers and customers.”
Dürr AG’s CEO, Ralf W. Dieter adds: “As a machine builder, we know our customers’ requirements and know what is important. In the ADAMOS App Factory, we bring industry knowledge for intuitively operated applications together with the design of digital marketplaces. The ADAMOS App Factory is a cooperation between machine builders and software companies that is closely linked with the partners.”
Speaking for Software AG, Karl-Heinz Streibich, EO states: “Software AG’s technology leadership and digital expertise is based on a total investment of more than one billion euros. Our industry neutrality and global presence combined with the know-how of leading machine and plant builders worldwide form the foundation of ADAMOS.”
Thomas Spitzenpfeil, member of the executive board (CFO/CIO) of Carl Zeiss AG, offers: “With ADAMOS, strong partners are working together equally on pushing digital connectivity. Together we are developing technologies for the factory of the future. Companies that use the IIoT applications from ADAMOS, will be making use of innovative services and thus increase the efficiency, transparency, reliability and availability of their systems significantly.”
Günter Lauber, CEO of the SMT Solutions Segment of ASM PT, concudes: “The growing interconnectivity of production means that not only our customers, but also we ourselves have to change our thinking. We create the conditions for this at ASM PT with innovative solutions for various line and factory workflows for electronic manufacturing – whilst complying with the highest IT security standards. Through ADAMOS we are combining this knowledge with leading machine building, production and software know-how.”
ADAMOS GmbH and ADAMOS App Factory will launch world-wide on 1 October 2017.
Features of ADAMOS include:ADAMOS focuses on close cooperation and the exchange of know-how and reduces effort and cost by making centrally developed solutions and services available to all participants. As a driver of innovation, ADAMOS will constantly be developing new IIoT applications. There is no dependency on external software providers with ADAMOS. Machine building customers obtain machines and IIoT / software solutions from the same source and have sovereignty over their data. This secures the leading position of machine building companies in the digital era. ADAMOS offers a digital portfolio with applications specific to machine building as well as domain- and industry-specific applications. ADAMOS can be deployed internationally, can be quickly implemented and is available as a cloud or “on premise” solution via stationary servers. ADAMOS uses standard solutions and interfaces and is therefore operationally reliable. As a “white label” solution ADAMOS allows participating machine builders to have their own individual IIoT presence. This means that the partners use the central ADAMOS platform but the front-end the customer sees can be designed with the partners’ own ‘look & feel’.
The ADAMOS App Factory concentrates the technological know-how and the industry knowledge of the partners for fast and joint development of apps. More comprehensive applications for planning, predictive maintenance, machine cockpit/dashboarding and maintaining assistance will be made available in the cloud from the beginning of 2018.
ADAMOS GmbH is registered in Darmstadt and the launch companies are all equal partners. In addition, other machine and plant builders can take advantage of ADAMOS’s range of services as partners. Each partner markets the ADAMOS range independently. ADAMOS GmbH operates as a platform service and thus makes leading IIoT tools and functions available to all the platform users. Marketing of individual IIoT solutions is carried out by the participating partners.
Engineering software firm Aveva has agreed a multibillion-pound tie-up with the software arm of France’s Schneider Electric.
The deal, which comes after two failed merger attempts in the past two years, will create an industrial software giant with combined revenues of around £658 million and earnings of some £146 million.
The merger will be structured as a so-called reverse takeover, with Schneider folding its software business into Aveva’s operations in return for a controlling 60% stake in the enlarged group. But Aveva will keep its headquarters in Cambridge and remain listed on the London Stock Exchange.
Philip Aiken, chairman of Aveva, said: “The transaction will be transformational to Aveva, creating a global leader in industrial software, which will be able to better compete on a global scale.” He added: “Aveva will significantly expand its scale and product portfolio, increase its capabilities in the owner operator market, diversify its end user markets and increase its geographic exposure to the North American market, in line with our strategic goals.”
It comes after the pair first began merger talks in July 2015, but those discussions broke down after Schneider was unable to separate its software assets, while a further attempt a year later also collapsed. Under the terms of the latest deal, Schneider will pay £550 million cash in almost identical terms to the previous talks.
Aveva was founded 50 years ago after being spun out of Cambridge University. It provides engineering software to owners, operators and engineering contractors across the power, oil and gas, marine and paper and pulp sectors. The group employs more than 1,700 people across 30 countries and has a customer base of more than 4,000.
Schneider’s software arm has a global footprint spanning North America, Europe, the Middle East, Asia Pacific and Latin America and has around 2,700 employees worldwide. The deal is expected to complete around the end of the year.
| A The YorkshirePost release || September 5, 2017 |||
IIoT platform “toii” is an in-house development that connects machines of different makes and generations
Due to predictive maintenance the platform is also supposed to forecast the necessity of machine services in the future
Processes can be planned and coordinated optimally and flexibleA milestone for the digital transformation: thyssenkrupp connects the machinery of the materials division via a new digital platform. Thanks to toii all machines can communicate with each other. Due to predictive maintenance the platform is also supposed to forecast the necessity of machine services in the future. The name chosen by the business area is a double play on words - it spells IIoT backwards, the abbreviation for “Industrial Internet of Things” - and it is pronounced like the word “toy”, an indication of how the new platform makes linking heterogeneous machines to existing IT structures “child’s play”. toii was developed completely in-house by company software engineering experts and tailored to the specific requirements of Materials Services.
One platform for each and everythingThe machinery belonging to the business area, which focuses on global materials distribution and processing services, is highly diverse: The machines perform a wide range of tasks, were made by various manufacturers and differ in age. Now toii makes it possible to connect bandsaws and bending machines, mobile objects like cranes and forklifts and even complex production facilities such as slitting and cut to length lines and sophisticated processing solutions through milling machines and laser systems digitally in line with the Industrial Internet of Things. The digital platform allows the machines to share data and communicate with one another and with the IT systems. Processes can be planned and coordinated optimally and flexibly – across locations, worldwide. As a further major benefit, the platform simplifies data analysis. Which product has been produced when and in what quantities? Which machine needs maintenance? What could be developing into a problem? What additional materials need to be delivered? The system answers all of these questions and many more by gathering and analyzing data. The results are just a mouse click away – clearly structured and easy to understand.
“We’ve created an end-to-end solution that is tailored specifically to our needs. It will enable us to accelerate the automation of our production operations and make our processes much more efficient,” says Hans-Josef Hoß from the board of thyssenkrupp Materials Services. “We are now taking the digital transformation to the core areas of our business: our production shops, our machinery and equipment, and our materials. Our customers will feel the benefit – and so will we.”
toii has already successfully proven its worth in several pilot projects. For example, at Materials Processing Europe in Mannheim, a new, highly complex cut to length line that cuts sheet from coil was fully connected with the platform. The result: toii transfers work orders directly and in real time from the SAP system to the machine and controls its settings from sizes and weights to volumes. The platform also automatically retrieves the machine information required by SAP. As a result, the status of production and the finished products can be viewed at any time. Other machines have also already been digitally connected and automated using toii, for example measuring the thickness of metal strips for effective quality control and automatic blanking. In the latter case, the platform even made it possible to fully integrate the blanking operation into a production line. In other areas, from high- bay storage to mobile construction machinery, toii is improving efficiency as well.The platform is an in-house development, highly scalable, and can integrate up to several hundred machines a year. An international Materials Services team of IT professionals from Germany, India and the USA worked together to develop toii. Alongside various projects in Germany, there are already plans to deploy the system in the UK and the USA. All data are currently hosted on a central server in Germany. But to be able to comply with all data protection law requirements, local servers will also be created in the UK and USA as part of the further roll-out.thyssenkrupp Materials Services is systematically driving the digital transformation of the business area throughout the entire value chain. In many areas, connected collaboration and interactive processes are already well established – from logistics, warehousing and line utilization to purchasing and administration. The focus is on customers and their individual requirements. The aim: to continuously develop and implement made-to-measure digital solutions that allow for smarter and more effective collaboration and open up completely new possibilities.About thyssenkrupp:thyssenkrupp is a diversified industrial group with traditional strengths in materials and a growing share of capital goods and service businesses. Over 156,000 employees in nearly 80 countries work with passion and technological know-how to develop high-quality products and intelligent industrial processes and services for sustainable progress. Their skills and commitment are the basis of our success. In fiscal year 2015/2016 thyssenkrupp generated sales of around €39 billion.
Together with our customers we develop competitive solutions for current and future challenges in their respective industries. With our engineering expertise we enable our customers to gain an edge in the global market and manufacture innovative products in a cost- and resource-friendly way. Our technologies and innovations are the key to meeting diverse customer and market requirements around the world, growing on the markets of the future, and generating strong and stable earnings, cash flows and value growth.
About thyssenkrupp Materials Services: With around 480 locations in over 40 countries, the Materials Services business area specializes in materials distribution, logistics and services, the provision of technical services as well as services for industrial plants and steel mills. In addition to rolled steel, stainless steel, tubes and pipes, nonferrous metals, specialty materials and plastics, Materials Services also offers services from processing and logistics to warehouse and inventory management through to supply chain and project management.
| A Thyssenkrupp Materials release || August 21, 2017 |||