Alexandre De Kalbermatten, project manager at BOBST, answers our questions and explains how Liip helped the world market leader make its machinery more intelligent.
TooLink aims to boost the productivity and flexibility of the machinery produced by BOBST. The solution gives operators greater control over (remote) production and thus enables better decision-making. We take a look back at this innovative project, for which we developed a mobile app that interacts with the RFID chips located on the production tools. Welcome to the world of the Internet of Things (IoT) and Industry 4.0!
What is the TooLink project?
TooLink is a huge project designed to enable increased connectivity between a machine’s different production elements. The aim of this is to automate processes (such as pre-production settings or machine maintenance) and integrate as much data as possible into our cloud platform BOBST CONNECT. For example, thanks to the development of the mobile app and the use of RFID chips, TooLink provides connectivity to the cutting tools inserted into our packaging production machines, which means that these machines can automatically adjust their settings according to the added tool.
TooLink is one of the first projects to reflect BOBST’s digital vision fully. This vision is based on the four pillars of connectivity, digitalisation, automation and sustainable development. We also want to expand this digital approach to the entire workflow for the packaging production chain.
What was the trigger for this project?
BOBST, a world leader in its market, has always supplied cutting-edge equipment. We want to ensure maximum satisfaction and the best possible performance for our clients.
This means that we are constantly listening to what the market has to say. As part of our research into innovation and Industry 4.0, in 2019 we identified an opportunity for a solution such as TooLink. We are fortunate to be able to rely on our talented teams to identify these opportunities and plan how we could implement such innovative solutions.
Why did you choose Liip as a partner?
Our approach could be summed up as ‘think global, act local’. Our clients are spread across the world, but our headquarters are in Switzerland.
We therefore wanted a local company that could provide us with a global digital solution that would meet all of our clients’ expectations.
Liip also stood out thanks to the quality of the services you had provided to other local companies, as well as with your competitive pricing. We were then won over by your agile approach (which we also use for all digital development at BOBST) and your team’s responsiveness in terms of both communication and development time.
What was the biggest challenge?
The biggest challenge was coordinating the external and internal teams so that everyone could work together effectively and efficiently.
We wanted the mobile application to be developed in record time. This meant that everything had to be extremely well defined.
We wanted to do things as precisely as possible right from day one.
What was your biggest learning?
Before joining BOBST, I had had several opportunities to work with development teams abroad, but I had never worked with a team based in Switzerland. No one will dispute that you need to adapt to local culture in order to be effective at work. This is one of my strengths – having lived in six countries across three different continents. That being said, I find that working with people from the same area almost relaxing.
What has been the impact of the project?
Cutting machinery has been connected to the internet for more than ten years. TooLink now adds an additional level of connectivity by connecting up the sub-assemblies of the components within this machinery. Meaning that some processes (such as calibrating a machine) can be automated and errors avoided.
TooLink therefore increases the productivity of our machines and offers our clients greater flexibility.
TooLink enables a multitude of other services to be deployed within the cloud. The impact of the TooLink project is already significant and will become even more so in the coming years, as it is closely linked to the digitalisation strategy for all of our products.
How would you describe your collaboration in three words?