- It will not be long before customers of the subcontracting industry, large corporations operating on the export market, will require their subcontractors to provide real-time information in digital format. If you cannot do this, you are out of the loop, Jani Akkila, CEO of Process Genius Oy anticipates.

In efficient production, all information should move smoothly and quickly. You should remember to pass on important matters, ask and answer questions, recall the fundamentals, manage documentation, engage in development, maintain dialogue with customers, and react to critical details of the production process sooner rather than later. You should, but the physical factory is large and vital matters are sometimes not communicated. Even walking concretely to the middle of the factory hall does not help: the field of vision remains limited.

In order to succeed in the competition, production must be made more efficient. Traditional operating methods in the subcontracting industry will change rapidly in the future, Managing Director Jani Akkila from Process Genius, Joensuu, estimates.

Number one in Digital Twins

Process Genius is Finland’s leading manufacturer of Digital Twin Smart Factory user interfaces. The company’s Digital Twin is a concrete, 3D copy of the factory to scale. The real-time digital double transparently communicates massive amounts of information on matters such as machine utilisation rate, performances, disruptions, maintenance, safety, and quality with temperature and humidity monitoring.

– We aim to improve productivity through a method that is transparent and equal for everyone. An understanding of the whole system increases, and the team has a common tool for continuous improvement. The success is visible. It also shows with honesty and integrity if production stops for some reason, Akkila explains.

“Large clients will inevitably require transparent and real-time information from their subcontractors about everything that takes place in the production process.”

Process Genius has productised its digital twin into a PGPlant tool. According to customer feedback, the solution’s coverage and cost-effectiveness are in their own class.

A new standard

Process Genius wants to address particularly SMEs in the plastic and metal industry. Many of them build their future as part of a network of a principal engaging in export. One of the most important building blocks for the future is digitalisation. Digital twins are becoming a new standard.

– Large principals will inevitably require transparent and real-time information from their subcontractors about everything that happens in the production process. This claim shall apply to all parts of the export industry chain, such as pieces, parts and sub assemblies.

Akkila describes the digital understanding of subcontracting SMEs as two-fold.

– There is the “does not apply to us” group, and those who have seriously started using digitalisation as part of the company’s operational activities. The number of subcontractors in the plastics and metal industry is also growing in North Karelia, and export in the area relies strongly on these sectors.

Digital path takes you forward

The business idea of Jani Akkila and his partner Antti Häkkilä, who had been working in international sales for years, crystallised in 2012. They started off by supporting the sales, service and market network of the processing industry with the help of 3D models.

A couple of years after the company had been established, news about digital co-operation between Process Genius and Fortum in connection with Fortum’s pyrolysis plant in Joensuu made the headlines. In 2016, Process Genius won the award of the best Internet of Things solution in Boston. In those days, the company’s cooperative partner was Elisa, and Process Genius visualised the processing data of its dozens of automation systems into a single 3D view.

Process Genius employs 21 professionals in the field. According to Akkila, the financial year ending in February 2020 will be the company’s first year with a positive result. Process Genius is about to join the league of companies with a million-euro turnover.

– Through development and piloting, the company has become a profitable business. At the same time, digitalisation has been adapted from the hype phase to operational use.

Text: Sirkka-Liisa Aaltonen/Viestintä-Ässä