The first ever hackathon featuring umati, the connectivity initiative of the mechanical and plant engineering industry, "MindSphere", the Siemens IoT-as-a-Service solution, and the Digital Industries World e.V., IIoT community was held at the end of September 2022 in Mindelheim. 32 digitalization experts from 10 engineering and startup companies were hosted by Grob-Werke GmbH & Co. KG in Mindelheim. Under the banner of "IoTize the Industry", they worked together to develop the free exchange of data between machine and software systems.
For Dr. Alexander Broos, Head of Research and Technology at the VDW (German Machine Tool Builders’ Association), Frankfurt am Main, and umati project manager, the event was a complete success: "It was great to see so many creative minds gathered in one place and working together on real-world challenges. If we are serious about connecting machines in an intelligent way, our top priority is to bring the relevant people together." Ulf Könekamp, Chairman of Digital Industries World, agrees: "Only together are we strong – and can initiate important changes for the future. We are delighted that the hackathon was able to help produce solutions across different companies and departments."
In a total of five teams, the participants were able to learn from each other and compare notes. The main focus was on exchanging actual data (such as GPS or vibration data from machines connected to the umati demonstrator via OPC UA) between different systems, e.g. via MindSphere. The aim was to generate initial added value from this data in order to optimize availability or capacity utilization in production, for example.
The result was a wide variety of different solutions. One of the most important realizations was that cross-company collaboration is to everyone’s advantage. In addition, participants reported a very steep learning curve over the two days, meaning that the time was used even more productively and efficiently than usual. One of the most remarkable achievements was the fact that a number of first prototype applications – including remote access to machine status lights, GPS tracking and multisensor evaluation of vibrations – were generated practically out of nowhere. A further important aspect was that the organizers were able to use the event to obtain useful feedback on the technologies used.
The general feedback to the organizers was extremely favorable – both in terms of the substantive possibilities and also the organizational framework. "The hackathon was an extremely rewarding and well-planned event based on intensive and effective teamwork. We are glad that we could be part of it. We warmly recommend all other companies to take advantage of this outstanding opportunity for dialogue and networking," emphasizes participant Dr. Donatus Weber, Director of Digital Services at Kampf Schneid- und Wickeltechnik GmbH und Co. KG in Wiehl. umati and Digital Industries World are planning to promote this by organizing a number of hackathons at different locations in the coming year – including at EMO Hannover 2023 next September.