Anja Vedder and Marc Vollmer meet with 5-ht to discuss Industrial Analytics recent developments and it’s IoT solution for the heavy industry

Smarter monitoring of production facilities with AI

The use of artificial intelligence has also reached the production facilities of pharmaceutical and chemical companies. Berlin-based startup Industrial Analytics has developed a solution to better monitor industrial plants: Physical models in combination with AI make it possible, for example, to detect malfunctions at an early stage and thus carry out precisely tailored maintenance. In an interview with 5-HT, co-founder and CEO Anja Vedder and Technical Sales Manager Marc Vollmer explain how the Industrial Analytics solution works and what sets it apart from other systems.

In short, what does Industrial Analytics do?

Marc Vollmer: We operate in the field of digitalization, machine learning and Internet of Things. Industrial Analytics implements digital high-tech products to monitor complex industrial plants easily and reliably. In doing so, we identify potential for greater efficiency, for example by enabling predictive condition-based maintenance.

Why is condition-based monitoring of plants so important?

Marc Vollmer: Condition-based monitoring allows users to identify new, previously hidden potential. Specifically, for example, plant processes can be optimized so that a higher output is achieved with the same input. With the help of root cause analyses, the causes of malfunctions can be found more easily. In addition, anomalies can be detected in good time. For example, maintenance cycles can be designed dynamically, which drastically reduces maintenance costs. At the same time, this increases plant availability.

For which plants and industries is the system suitable?

Marc Vollmer: Our solution is suitable for large industrial plants, such as those found in process engineering in refineries or in power and heat generation. Customers are typically operators of such plants, service providers and OEMs who supply the plant components for them. The customer base covers the oil & gas, energy & utilities, and also aviation and shipping industries. Our solution can also be used to good effect in the chemical and pharmaceutical industries.

How can your software be relevant for pharmaceutical and chemical companies?

Marc Vollmer: Every pharmaceutical and chemical company is equipped with a variety of machines and systems. Turbomachinery such as turbines and compressors, for which we have particular expertise, are often at the heart of production processes. For Evonik, for example, we created a Polymer Performance Predictor (PolyPeP) as part of the Ruhr Data Challenge 2019: For this, we developed an algorithm that is able to determine the optimal composition of lubricants. We are currently working on a digitization project with another large company to discover new potential in the context of maintenance.

How does your software work?

Marc Vollmer: The software uses physical and process-based models of the plants to simulate their behavior. These models are trained with the help of artificial intelligence and thus constantly learn as soon as new situations arise. The real state of the plants is continuously recorded via various sensors. This enables us to detect when the real condition develops differently than would be expected according to the calculations of the models. As a result, potential faults can be detected at an early stage and specific instructions for action can be given proactively.

How does the software differ from other existing solutions for monitoring machines and plants?

Anja Vedder: First of all, some companies currently have no monitoring system at all. If a system breaks down, it breaks down, and only then do you take care of the problem. That costs a lot of time and money. Those companies that already use monitoring systems today often use solutions that date back to the 1980s. User experience or intelligent interfaces were not yet an issue back then, and false alarms often occurred. The providers on the market today often offer purely statistical, data-based solutions without a holistic approach. We differentiate ourselves from them through our high level of technical expertise – with experts in AI, vibration analysis, rotor dynamics, sensor technology and signal processing. Our founding team has worked for years at an OEM that manufactures the machines we deal with, so we are very familiar with our customers’ equipment. In addition, we are now OEM-independent, and our solution can be integrated very flexibly into customer-specific systems. In doing so, we work intensively with our customers because we know that there can be barriers to entry when it comes to the topic of digitalization.

How did Industrial Analytics come about?

Anja Vedder: Industrial Analytics was founded in November 2017. The six-member founding team had previously worked in the industry for many years at a renowned turbomachinery manufacturer. However, due to a lack of agility and commitment within the group, digitalization topics could not be advanced there to the necessary extent. Due to the high demand and the desire of customers for an independent partner, the decision was made to found our own company.

What is the current status of developments?

Anja Vedder: We were able to successfully close a financing round last year and are now in a position to grow further and expand our operational business. In the last three months, we have been able to recruit many employees, whom we have been able to integrate productively very quickly. In terms of research and development, we continue to be very active in terms of research projects and co-innovation. Among other things, we are currently looking at the trend topic of fleet management, which is particularly relevant for companies that have a wide range of plants, possibly spread over several locations. This requires particularly good monitoring. That’s why we’re working on a solution that enables an overview of such a wide variety of plants and locations.

What are your next goals?

Anja Vedder: We want to further strengthen our position in the DACH region, continue to expand our network and acquire new customers in order to grow sustainably. At the same time, we are constantly ready to take on new challenges. In five years, we hope to have successfully expanded into the European market and have relevant partners in the Middle East and Asia to help us continue to grow our brand awareness and market share. How did you join the 5-HT network and what do you expect from it?

How did you get into the 5-HT network and what do you expect from it?

Marc Vollmer: We got in touch with Dieter Büttenbender, who is a mentor in the network and in the 5-HT X-linker startup program. After our phone call with Frank Funke from the 5-HT Digital Hub, we are part of the network and were already able to make important contacts with companies at this year’s 5-HT X-linker. We are very excited to see what develops from this and look forward to the upcoming innovative pilot projects.

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