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Achieving customised interfaces – a 5-step model
Andreas Huhmann
Andreas Huhmann
Strategy Consultant C + N, HARTING Stiftung & Co. KG

Past issues have seen us place the strategic focus of our on fundamental aspects of Integrated Industry. Thus, we discussed technological trends and enabling technologies. Another edition saw us discuss the importance of partnerships for Integrated Industry. Now, it's about linking these topics, describing the opportunities given by Integrated Industry technology and generating your solution together with us. We're taking the next step in Integrated Industry together with you as part of a new digital Lifecycle Journey.

What does the digital transformation mean in terms of implementing customer projects? Which new market expectations result from new business models and their associated changes? These questions are addressed in our current magazine, with a focus on the HARTING Technology Group. We want to bring to life and concretise buzzwords like "digital services" based on a 5-step model. The five steps are intended to illustrate the services HARTING offers its customers in the context of digitisation, the benefits customers can derive from them, and, finally, how to successfully implement them. In doing so, our objective is to offer a detailed assessment of how digitisation influences solution design.


Step 1:

Han® Configurator – At this first stage of the model, the HARTING Digital Business Platform (HDBP) provides new ways to design connectivity solutions for concrete applications based on a modular approach. bundles all the processes and interfaces that the technology group displays on the internet. There, the Han® Configurator is a core element in the creation of individual solutions. Based on functional requirements like current and voltage the configurator automatically compiles proposed solutions with corresponding parts lists. When assembling the individual components, the Configurator offers functional dependences and can consequently factor in the individual requirements of the application. The Configurator is a digital tool with connector intelligence and generates solutions based on the user's application knowledge. The HARTING Digital Business Platform can be viewed as an entry point that leads to further solutions in the future as well.

Step 2:

Modification of a product – In the second stage of the model, alterations are performed on an already developed product. Individualisation takes place e.g. in the form of printing and colour changes, additional holes for more cable exits, or by way of mechanical reworking. This permits a product to be individualised so that it fits perfectly into the overall solution with respect to its function and design. Simple modifications will also be possible in the future in the next build-out stage of the Configurator, with a correspondingly integrated production process and the usual HARTING quality. This is where something new emerges – a toolkit of real components becomes a toolkit for its own ideas, of all possibilities.

Step 3:

HARTING Customised Solutions – The third stage describes the individual engineering solution for a customer that is provided by the HARTING Technology Group. While the Configurator should be viewed as online support when defining the interface in modular fashion, in this step the product and application know-how of the division comes into play with respect to specific implementation in the customer application. Hence, the creativity of human thought is in the foreground, although the initial entry into the process may very well occur via the HDBP.

Step 4:

Co-engineering – the clear difference between this step and the individual engineering solution lies in the stronger involvement of the customer. While in step 3 the product is designed according to customer requirements, here the customer is already involved in an agile design and development process and provides regular input. The result: the overall solution will be optimised including his own design. The customer works for the application together with idea providers and experts. This leads to a new role: the customer becomes a co-creator. For these highly complex networks, digitisation is the means of controlling processes.

Step 5:

MICA.networks – solutions generated jointly within the partner network. Here, we tangibly present the partnership with TEConcept GmbH, from which the MICA with the implemented IO Link Master emerged. In conversation with the CEO of TEConcept, Dr. Franz-Otto Witte, we clarify the opportunities and challenges of a cooperative partnership which arose based on the MICA. network. Discussion in partner networks is always at a peer-topeer level. Classical roles disappear, dynamics emerge, and the seemingly impossible becomes possible. The digital platform is mandatory here as well, so that everyone's in the same boat.

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