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and customers ultimately lack sufficient determination when making the necessary decisions and investments.” Because digitalisation penetrates every area of a process plant: from development using simulation to digital twins of assets and plant, from field level to ERP, predictive maintenance and process optimisation, it offers a whole raft of opportunities for migration and optimisation. These information flows are also the key to new levels of contact between process operators and plant or component providers. Contactless information sharing is becoming a competitive advantage for everyone involved. The time is now right to accept the services and information streams available, and to be there for each other with data systems as a means of developing new strengths. Coronavirus is making us completely reassess digital transformation.


TOOLS DRIVING A REVOLUTION The tools involved are not new, but they need to be viewed differently. New relationship between suppliers and users - “Digital twins” and “cloud solutions” - are not the central elements in this digital transformation. These are just tools that have made the path to the


Fourth Industrial Revolution possible. What is at the heart of Industry 4.0 is a completely new and challenging relationship between suppliers and buyers. Optimising this relationship will ultimately determine which companies win the competition for customers. As in the case of companies such as Amazon, when it comes to consumer goods the most important elements in the competition for customers are an extremely short response time to all buyer enquiries, more customised products and services, and more careful use of available resources as an economic variable.


Digitalisation in all areas of industry provides businesses with more and more effective tools for this competition for market share. Rich experience with digitalisation in sectors mainly involving discrete manufacturing has steadily flowed into the process industries. Despite a tightly woven data network in the form of process control systems, industries based on process engineering have had trouble, until recent time, in turning the benefits of digitalisation to good use in a competitive environment, and as a result, in adding value. However, both powder and bulk solids processes, in particular, which normally run in batches, are ideally suited for implementing digital transformation in the process industries. Manufacturers of process plant and processing components are now going a step further in incorporating both process product customisation and the plant itself into data structures, and putting the products and services imposed by the digital transformation to good use. The current state-of-the-art, for example, is represented by solutions for process-optimised operation of grinding systems with most focus on performance, throughput, product consistency and availability. For example, to make further use of the expertise of Netzsch Vakumix, a regular participant in POWTECH, plant operators are already able to draw on globally available online monitoring and support for complete systems. Simulation tools make operator training possible in this way, using a realistic functional copy of the plant and the process. Servicing, preventive maintenance, plant audits, general and simulation training, and migration and process optimisation are also all offered as online solutions.


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