Ralph Arbeid: Future of drum automation

1. How long have you been leather/tanning industry?
I started in the leather business in 1973 and my connection with Hüni started in 1987 when I concluded a restructuration contract with the USSR for their tannery in Dzjambul, Kazakhstan. Being a UN leather value chain consultant. Step by step my relationship with Hüni grew stronger until Hüni CEO asked me to cooperate actively for sales in Asia and Africa. All in all I visited 117 countries for business and vacation.

2. And what did process of drum automation development look like during all these years?
The first automation I had seen was in Incas tannery when they were running processes with plastic punch cards. Maybe it was M1, but I am not sure.

3. Do you see some challenges in the future regarding automation?
Automation as we see it now seems a big deal, but in reality, I think that there is a lot of road to cover in the near future. Make systems more reliable, faster, and ultimately integrated with an ERP system, leading up to industry 4.0.

4. What is your opinion about Industry 4.0 and its implementation and development in tanning industry?
Right now I fear that Industry 4.0 is just a slogan that is in fashion and few really understand what it means. Industry 4.0 is quite complex and encompasses a process and management integration aiming at automation, efficiency, cost saving of the process. We are looking at only a very small part of Industry 4.0 when we think about maintenance. Industry 4.0 is much more. However it is the future in manufacturing.

5. And with all these innovations going on, how can VR / AR affect further business development?
VR and AR I think are planning and sales tools. You want a new tannery, a new machine, then you can plan and realize it before hand in VR and AR before you actually construct the machine of tannery. You want to change a set-up, then VR and AR allow you to work it out and see how it will work in reality. In short you can plan and iron out complications or issues without destroying anything.