16.08.2022 / Felix Stirnimann

Digitize and Automate Processes With Smart Services

In the wake of Industry 4.0, Finishing 4.0 and Smart Factory, Smart Services are also becoming increasingly important. We are thus virtually igniting the next stage of MMServices and using digital tools that allow our customers and Muller Martini, for example, to monitor the condition of the machine.

As early as 2010, Burkhard Kühne, then Head of the Postpress Department at our customer Druckhaus Kaufmann in Lahr, Germany, said in an interview for a case study on the subject of service: "I can well imagine that in the future the machine suppliers will do online evaluations for us in a proactive sense, identify any problems at an early stage and thus help to improve our processes." 

I have to admit: The man had foresight. Because years later, Burkhard Kühne's prophecy has found its way into the graphic arts industry under the term "Smart Services".

Prevention is cheaper than cure 
Admittedly, the goals of an efficient service program have been roughly the same for years: Avoiding machine damage, breakdowns and production stoppages, minimizing risk, reducing costs. In short, graphic arts companies depend on high availability of their equipment.

In the past, service was understood to be largely reactive: our service teams would wait for a phone call, then a technician would set off, travel to the customer's site and fix the damage on the spot. Today, the path leading to these goals has changed dramatically, and there is a much more proactive approach to service – not least because of the great pressure on prices and the ever-tighter deadline windows at our customers.

It was also in 2010 when we launched our MMServices label, standardizing our service processes. The eight modules MMStartup, MMSupport, MMInspect,MMUptodate, MMParts,MMSelect, MMImprove and MMServices.Print have since ensured efficient life cycle management by means of continuous maintenance and inspection of the machine fleet. MMServices also includes a high and fast availability of spare parts as well as a well-founded training and further education of the personnel. The aim is to be able to fully exploit the potential of your machines with optimum service and the motto "prevention is cheaper than cure".

Industry 4.0 – Finishing 4.0 – Smart Factory – Smart Services
In the wake of Industry 4.0 and the Finishing 4.0 development strategy derived from it by Muller Martini at drupa 2016 (keyword: low manufacturing costs even with increasing individualization of print products) and Smart Factory (motto: how to turn your analog print shop into a digital one), Smart Services are also increasingly coming to the fore.

But what does Smart Services mean for Muller Martini and its customers? An initial Smart Services element was the inspection tool from our MMServices program, launched almost a decade ago. After an inspection by our experienced technicians – in which the tool guides them in a structured way through the points to be inspected – they receive an evaluation that highlights problem areas and potential. This means they have to worry less about a possible production stoppage and can produce even more efficiently. 

Fast problem analyses increase production reliability
A central element of MMServices and a prerequisite for Smart Services is also the Remote Service Portal. With the online connection of your remote-enabled machine, you have a direct line to local service experts or specialists at the plant during normal working hours. The fast problem analyses significantly increase your production reliability.

The Web Diagnostic developed by Muller Martini was added later. It provides a deeper insight into the machine and enables our service technicians to view the machine control system remotely, right down to the level of individual sensors or IO signals. This makes error analysis and problem solving massively faster.

With Smart Services, we are now igniting the next stage of MMServices. Because today our customers are demanding even faster, even better and even more proactive service, while we at Muller Martini want to meet customer needs with efficient use of resources. The linchpin here is the digitization of processes. This makes it possible to make information visible, create documentation, recognize service histories and generate and evaluate data.

MPOWER – where customers and Muller Martini meet
As with Finishing 4.0, with Smart Services we use digital tools – as Service 4.0, so to speak – that allow our customers and Muller Martini to monitor the condition of the machine as well as other important information about the machine, such as operating instructions, layout, spare parts catalog or service calls. This means that you and we are better and more comprehensively informed, can make faster decisions, keep productivity high and minimize unplanned downtime, which ultimately leads to higher output from the individual machines. Web diagnostics enable significantly faster problem detection thanks to visualization and therefore also for faster problem handling.

The platform on which the customers and Muller Martini meet is MPOWER. Although this has been around for a few years, it has now undergone a significant upgrade and has been transferred from a local installation (on-premise) to a cloud solution. What does this mean in practice?

Cloud-based is better than on-premise 
The local software installation had several disadvantages:
  • The rollout is costly because individual installations are required for each customer project. 
  • Individual contact must be made with each customer for an update. 
  • Updates were therefore often not carried out in the past, so that additional functionalities were lost. 

A cloud-based solution, on the other hand, has many advantages for both sides:
  • A central update affects all customers immediately.
  • Maintenance windows are announced uniformly. 
  • The initial effort is much lower. 
  • Customers can also purchase test and trial licenses before deciding on a full version.
  • Thanks to access to customer data, Muller Martini can proactively identify potential for improvement, provide customers with valuable tips and incorporate findings into the development of new machines.

During remote support via a service desk using a cell phone or video sharing, Muller Martini simultaneously sees what our customers also see. The fact that our service technicians have the stored service cases at their disposal makes it easier to solve problems. 

In short: with Smart Services, we create transparency, make information available, enable analysis and optimization, and shorten the time windows for the delivery of spare parts, because it is quickly apparent which spare parts are needed.

The most efficient way for 24/365 service support
The MPOWER customer portal is therefore the entrance door to the Muller Martini world for you. The individual customer portal with integrated eShop gives you simple and secure access to many functions – with just one login and without having to install anything. Via the cloud-based communication platform, you have access – although the functions may vary depending on the country or machine generation – to spare parts orders, service activities, access to spare parts catalogs, operating instructions and production data. You can conveniently monitor your plant via tablet, computer or smartphone and take immediate action in production.

MPOWER is the most efficient way for 24/365 service support. The eShop is the fastest and most convenient way to order spare parts from Muller Martini. Around the clock, you can check prices and availability of items, request quotes, place orders and track delivery status at the touch of a button. Our original spare parts meet all quality requirements for your machine and are delivered as quickly as possible.

With the practical eCall function, you receive service and support at the touch of a button. With a simple click of the mouse, the service order is started and our service specialists take care of your technical problem immediately. In the MPOWER portal, current service requests are clearly displayed with their respective status. This significantly reduces the time between the occurrence of a problem and its resolution.

Because all Muller Martini companies work with the same, highly integrated processes, the data is transparent, standardized and comparable. In addition, second-level support – i.e. our plants – is also fully integrated and can help immediately if necessary.

The next level: Connex Info Cloud
With Connex Info Cloud, we have a new MPOWER module that makes our customers' production even more productive and even more cost-efficient. This is because Connex Info Cloud enables you to analyze your production in a targeted manner, identify optimization potential in your production and increase your planning reliability. 

Connex Info Cloud consists of three modules:
  • The Dashboard module allows real-time evaluation of production data, visually displays a large selection of Key Performance Indicators (KPI) and enables freely configurable tiles.
  • The Reporting module provides accurate data on production with bar and pie charts.
  • The Analytics module offers a targeted evaluation of the data according to individually configurable filter options and allows you to analyze the data in detail and identify optimization opportunities.

Connex Info Cloud offers you several advantages: 
  • Easy installation: this is done remotely without the use of a service technician.
  • Cloud-based solution: access to your production data stored in the cloud via Internet access (using a PC, tablet or smartphone).
  • Regular updates: new releases are distributed to you remotely, ensuring you always have the latest version without extended downtimes.
  • Modular system: each customer pays only for those Connex Info Cloud modules that he really needs. 
  • MIS interface: with the MLINK, each customer also receives a direct interface to his own Management Information System (MIS) and can thus load the production data as JMF into his own system.
  • User-friendliness: the intuitive system enables quick analysis options that can be customized by the customer himself as required. 
  • High security standard: Connex Info Cloud is hosted in Switzerland by Aveniq, a company belonging to the Muller Martini Group. Customers can only access their own production data, and the security and confidentiality of the data is guaranteed by Muller Martini.

As the managing director of a German bookbindery in Berlin said after we launched MMServices in 2010: "I am convinced that networking between machine manufacturers and graphic arts companies will become increasingly important in the future. As the dependencies between suppliers and bookbinders are becoming greater, mutual networking is the key to success. For us bookbinders, this brings immediate help in the event of a malfunction, and for the manufacturers, important insights for future developments." This has also been a vote with foresight.

Felix Stirnimann,
Global Service Business, Member of the Executive Board, Muller Martini
16.08.2022 Felix Stirnimann Global Service Business, Member of the Executive Board, Müller Martini