IIoT / Industrial Automation: A Software Solution for the Smart Future of the Metal Industry

Client location Groß-Umstadt, Germany

Business area Industry

Product Software

Delivery center Brasov, Romania

Project type Development

About the client

MesserSoft is a global solutions provider for the metalworking industry. The German company has a 120-year history of providing a wide variety of products and services to its customers, including machines, tools, software, and maintenance. They’re also the leader in the thermal cutting industry, creating smarter, faster, and more reliable solutions.

The client offers three main software solutions to its customers. OmniWin and OmniBevel are desktop solutions used for machine cutting tasks. Their third tool, OmniFab, is a customizable IoT software suite that assists customers with order-related production. It integrates MesserSoft’s mechanical engineering technology into their day-to-day business operations, automating processes, making results transparent, and increasing machine availability. In the end, the result is a solution that boosts efficiency and provides a competitive edge.

MesserSoft’s innovative software programs effectively streamline processes and are the link between machines and commercial products.

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The challenge

MesserSoft’s main goal was to build a software solution for the future — the fourth industrial revolution. Industrial Revolution 4.0 is the trend toward automation and data exchange in manufacturing technologies and processes, which include cyber-physical systems (CPS), the internet of things (IoT), industrial internet of things (IIOT), cloud computing, cognitive computing, and artificial intelligence (AI).

The client had ambitious plans for growth and innovation, but lacked in-house expertise in web development, Cloud platforms, and initial infrastructure for product development. They decided to look to external partners for assistance.

MesserSoft reached out to us to help build a new component for OmniFab — Machine Insights. This component provides essential, real-time information about cutting machines, their usage over time, and detailed reports for specific cutting jobs.

One unique challenge for the Pentalog team was learning more about a domain new to us — the metalworking industry. During project kick-off, MesserSoft’s Product Owner helped connect us to the industry by providing a glossary of terms and diving deeper into machine-specific operations.

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Industrial Automation Software Solution - MesserSoft

The solution

Our journey, which continues today, started in July 2017 with a dedicated Agile team composed of four full-stack Java developers, one Tester, and a Scrum Master, all of them based in Brasov (Romania). It was the client’s first time working in an Agile way with Scrum as a framework.

Pentalog’s team developed the Machine Insights web application from square one. Features such as real-time machine monitoring, machine utilization, and process duration allow users of this software solution to measure machine performance through reports and statistics for improved productivity.

Along with software development, we also provided MesserSoft with an additional service: Agile coaching. While the company’s Product Owner is well-versed in MesserSoft’s business practices and the metalworking industry as a whole, he also wanted to learn more about the long-term benefits of Agile methods.

The Product Owner relied on our experience and very quickly saw the benefits of our iterative and incremental process for building products. At the beginning and end of each sprint, we demonstrated a working element of the software, which helped us to gain the Product Owner’s trust and allowed him to collect early feedback from future customers.

The team worked together with the Product Owner to choose the best architecture and technology, making assumptions that later were validated by the customer’s interest in the product.

In June 2019, we started developing the mobile version of Machine Insights with two mobile developers: one freelancer and one colleague from our Iasi delivery center. We submitted a minimum viable product, which published in app stores in October 2019. Preparation and trust were the keys to success for this project. Our technical team was involved with the project from the very beginning, and MesserSoft trusted us to deliver high-quality service.

In addition to the Agile Team, DevOps joined the project to help with setting up environments, support, logging and monitoring solutions. A UI/UX designer worked closely with the Product Owner to define user interactions and experience and design the web and mobile applications.

The results

  • The first critical phase happened after just two months of product development. The Product Owner attended two trade fairs (Schweissen & Schneiden 2019, Essen; FABTECH 2017, Chicago), where he presented an initial version of the product. Feedback was very positive, so we continued to implement new features.
  • The second significant phase was in March 2018, when we delivered the application to the first pilot customer in the U.S., one of MesserSoft’s largest customers.
  • More customers were interested in the application, so we offered multi-client support and deployed the app to the AWS cloud.
  • Future of Cutting” was the motto of the first Technology Days, October 23-25, at the MesserSoft European headquarters in Groß-Umstadt. Machine Insights was part of Messer’s demonstrations and suite of products.
  • We reached a point where more than 10 customers and approximatively 30 machines connected to the AWS cloud.
  • Meanwhile, we released the Machine Insights minimum viable product (MVP) mobile application in the App Store and on Google Play at the end of October 2019, which also received good feedback.
Daniel Radu
Customer Success Manager

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