Michael Eder is the Global Chief Digital Officer in the High Performance Metals Division. He sees increasing process digitalization as evolutionary, although the subject is much broader than many suppose at first glance.
Digitalization brings with it many expectations, as well as some uncertainties. Michael Eder, Global Chief Digital Officer in the High Performance Metals Division since April 1, 2016, stresses that, “Digitalization is primarily evolutionary in nature—we have been automating and digitalizing for decades. Now, however, innovative methods and technologies offer us new opportunities which can also revolutionize our industry.”
It is a subject with which this engineer and doctor of business administration is familiar. He has already worked intensively on digitalization processes for his previous employers, the former VAI as well as a management consultancy. He understands digitalization in broader terms than generally perceived: “It’s not primarily about personnel efficiency and self-controlling facilities in the production process. It’s about far more than that, including enhanced work and process safety, the more economical use of resources, improved quality, optimized interfaces, and the chance to use new business models to create additional benefits for our customers, which in turn allows us to retain our global market leadership in various industries.”
"It is vital that we recognize digitalization as an opportunity."
Continuing to drive digitalization
A collective understanding of the relevance of digitalization and Industry 4.0 has been gained relatively quickly and, under his leadership, is being continuously developed.
One of the first milestones was to create a “digital organization”, a network of experts drawn from central resources, the production sites, and Value Added Service Regions. Here, in subject-specific communities, work is going on into research areas such as process predictability, robotics in harsh environments, and the application of new display technologies (Augmented Reality). Michael Eder and his team are also working intensively on important “enablers” of the digital transformation, such as establishing standards and tools, and defining qualifications and qualification measures needed in the division. When it comes to digitalization, our employees are again the key to the success of the company.
More competence(s) in Kapfenberg
The first successes are already evident. It has already been possible to provide targeted support for current major investments in the division, as well as to design the first core projects such as a smart factory.
The next major milestone was the opening of a competence center dedicated to digitalization. The team at the center will play an essential role in driving the digital transformation within the High Performance Metals Division, and a decisive part in shaping the future of the division.