Without fail, the phrase “back in my day” is followed up with tales of the way things used to be. Sadly, though, these tales are often in response to the discovery of a modern convenience. “Back in my day, when Google didn’t exist, if we didn’t know something, we had to go to the library.”
For old-school fabricators, there are a lot of opportunities to toss around a “back in my day.” And most likely, a lot of these stories involve some sort of machine downtime. “Back in my day, we could solve almost any problem with a pocketknife and a roll of duct tape.”
Fortunately, in this era, tools are constantly being developed to help fabricators keep their critical equipment up and running. Take TRUMPF Inc. customers as a major example. For them, gone are the days of calling in a service ticket when a machine goes down. In fact, a new modern convenience called MyTRUMPF serves as a preventative and proactive tool to keep machines from ever going down in the first place.
A singular resource
MyTRUMPF is a website and accompanying mobile app that – for lack of a better cliché – serves as a one-stop shop for all things related to a customer’s TRUMPF equipment. Christine Benz, director of TruServices at TRUMPF, describes it as a customer experience platform.
“We want to provide whatever our customers need from us through the MyTRUMPF website, so there is no hunting around for information,” she says. “We want to provide that information conveniently in one place, on one platform.”
That one-stop-shop experience starts by giving customers a view of all of the TRUMPF equipment they have on their shop floors right on the start page. “They see a very customized view,” she says. “Essentially, no MyTRUMPF platform looks the same.”
To begin exploring MyTRUMPF, customers just need to request a login and username, which are free of charge. With this free platform, they are able to see a wealth of information, including each of their machines, their serial and warranty info, and service agreement details – a snapshot of their entire machine portfolio.
“From there, they can find everything they might need for their machines through the eShop, which features exploded drawings of each machine,” Benz explains. “When a customer needs to order a new part or consumable, MyTRUMPF only lists the options that fit into the specific machine they clicked on. There’s no danger that they might order the wrong part or consumable for their machine. That uncertainty is gone.”
Customers can also find exclusive promotions and offers for spare parts, service, tooling and beyond as well as a weld guide, punch guide and bend guide. These guides have been developed by TRUMPF technical experts for customers that need practical, real-life advice on how to produce or weld a certain part most efficiently. And the catalog keeps growing.
Customers can also access a download center where new software versions can be found and downloaded with one click. The service app is another popular feature on the MyTRUMPF platform – so popular that it garnered its own app, giving customers the option to tap into the TRUMPF service and support department and its technical experts through the platform on their laptops and PCs or remotely on their smartphones and tablets.
“The service app can sometimes be considered as a reactive portion of the platform – something you take advantage of when there is a problem,” Benz says. “MyTRUMPF as a whole platform, however, is something that we think of as proactive. For example, customers have access to the TRUMPF training catalog to enroll operators, programmers and maintenance staff into classes that will make sure their machines are well maintained and operated correctly. The know-how gained, in turn, serves as another tool toward preventing downtime.”
Preventative and predictive
Back in the day – and even just 10 years ago – if customers needed help, they needed to pick up the phone and call the technical service department. As of October 2023, however, more than 50 percent of all service cases came in through the service app or the MyTRUMPF platform.
Another area of the platform that’s seeing increased usage is TRUMPF’s Condition Report feature, an exciting AI tool that drives downtime-free operations. For customers that have their machine connected, historical machine data is accessible and actionable – and in the simplest way possible.
“Looking at the big picture, the Condition Report feature gives customers a snapshot of their machine’s health – how healthy it is or if there is anything that can be done to prevent downtime or to make sure that machine health isn’t negatively affecting productivity,” Benz says. “This data has been available to customers for a few years, but it’s an ongoing development. As more machines are connected, more data can be collected and, therefore, the smarter the system gets in predicting problems.
“If we see a certain pattern, or rather, if the AI predicts that a pattern could wind up being a problem, we proactively send the customer a technical guide,” she explains. “These technical guides direct customers to look at XYZ or adjust ABC. Typically, these are simple things, like changing the cooling water or replacing a certain filter, but with an end goal of really increasing uptime.”
In a nutshell, this predictive data shows customers if or when there is action needed to prevent problems from occurring. As time passes and the AI model collects more data, the more technical guides TRUMPF can deliver to its customers. Currently, about 80 percent of TRUMPF customers are taking advantage. To be connected, machines should be, roughly speaking, 10 years old or newer. Older machines, however, can be retrofitted.
“Our customers see the huge benefits of this feature,” Benz says. “If there is a filter, for example, that needs to be replaced, you get a technical guide sent to your phone with step-by-step instructions as to how to change it. It’s a huge benefit, and it’s so easy.”
Unlike the old days, there’s no need to wait for the spare part to arrive while the machine is down. And there’s certainly no reason for any lost productivity time – especially when it’s all free of charge.
More to come
The future of manufacturing and especially predictive maintenance are constantly being enhanced by adaptive AI technologies. And, the ways it will be leveraged are yet to be seen. Currently, however, customer data is already being used in creative ways.
“We have fully automated systems, and our customers want them to run 24/7,” Benz says. “During the day, it’s a manned shift, but second and third might be lights out. With AI and machine learning, we can let the customers know which programs are most likely to run hours at a time with no problem and which programs are more likely to need human interference.
“Tip-ups are a good example of that,” she adds. “They can cause significant machine downtime, but they are something that we can track and predict. We can share that information with the customer, or they can look it up in the Condition Report. They can schedule their jobs in a way that they can receive the best productivity.”
On the horizon, TRUMPF is planning future releases to MyTRUMPF, including an enhanced Bend Tooling eShop, which will be more interactive and user-friendly as well as a Punch Tooling eShop, which will make it as easy as possible for customers to find the right tooling for their needs.
“If a customer orders a punch tool on Sunday morning – without any human interaction, mind you – it gets pushed into production, so when the team at TRUMPF comes in Monday morning, it will be ready for shipping,” Benz says. “There is almost an infinite number of tooling, so the beauty of the Bend and Punch eShops is that customers can create their own customized tools with ease.
“With all of the modern conveniences in this world, our customers should have this capability,” she concludes.