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Nov 8, 2022

Trends in after sales, leading the change with our innovations

Tuomas Teeri
Tuomas Teeri
VP, Technology
Petri Naukkarinen
Petri Naukkarinen
VP, Process and Data Management
As the world is electrifying and urbanizing, more and more metals and construction materials are needed, but the production needs to happen in a sustainable way. Sustainability is present in all the aftermarket customer discussions. Especially the biggest companies have the need to deliver sustainable mining and aggregates operations high on their agenda.

Our customers are constantly asking for solutions to improve their production reliability, throughput, end-product quality, process efficiency, spare and wear parts as well as safety and sustainability of their operations. Sustainability drives all research and development (R&D) and all our R&D projects have sustainability-related targets or benefits that need to be realized. Increasing the lifetime and circularity of our spares and wears as well as improving energy and water efficiency and safety, and producing less waste are among the key targets.

Innovations and technologies

We have tens of projects running which focus on sustainable after sales solutions, digitalization, material technology and internal efficiency. Different business lines have slightly different focus areas, but the main themes are the same: helping our customers to operate in the highest possible standard in a sustainable manner. We are constantly launching new products for the market: new spare parts, modernizations, wear parts and digital solutions – all coming together as Metso Outotec Life Cycle Services for our customers.

Downtime is expensive and safety is even more critical as it does not have any monetary value. We need to ensure that our products are clearly exceeding the minimum requirements, starting from engineering up to covering the whole lifecycle of the product.

The role of R&D and design for services

Designing for services starts in the very beginning of the product lifecycle. The after sales professionals work in close collaboration with our capital colleagues in the Aggregates and Minerals businesses to ensure that the product design is safe, and the service customer friendly. That work continues throughout the lifecycle of the product and is embedded also within our R&D.

Safety and serviceability are the key must-haves. Having the right working methods in place is one of the key focus areas. The riskiest events are usually related to lifting and replacement of spares and wears at customer site. Our offering needs to follow the design for safety and design for serviceability. Downtime is expensive and safety is even more critical as it does not have any monetary value. We need to ensure that our products are clearly exceeding the minimum requirements starting from engineering up to covering the whole lifecycle of the product. With product standardization we enable easy maintenance as well as parts, wears and services availability for the end-customers.

Our over 3000 Field Service experts globally ensure that the design for service feedback is also easily available for further development.

A look into the future

The second biggest innovation driver is digitalization, which relates to efficiency improvements at customer operations within both aggregates and minerals segments. The needs in our customer’s operations are clear: improving availability, productivity, total cost of operations and sustainability utilizing our technological, metallurgical, operational and service capabilities.

Remote monitoring and customer process optimization via our solutions are our key focus areas. We need to know what is happening in our customer’s operations to be able to continue developing our offering. One thing is to monitor their operations, but we also need to be able to offer improved solutions quickly. By combining our and the customer’s digital capabilities, it is possible to provide solutions that improve the customer’s production reliability and efficiency, safety and the overall environmental impact.

Artificial intelligence (AI)

AI does not happen just by applying some new digital tools. Systems and solutions utilizing AI are built based on our technical expertise and experience. In this case, AI usually refers to the prediction of something such as:

  • How a product or solution will work in a specific customer application
  • How many weeks the customer will be able to operate with installed products before the energy consumption increases
  • When the parts will wear out before a change is needed
  • Which out of many proposals is the best solution to fulfill the targets of a specific customer
  • How we should analyze, improve and use large quantities of data from which we can recognize commonalities that support us in providing recommendations or solutions that better respond to our customer needs or internal operational improvements?

There are many use cases for AI – many of which are already in development, but we will surely discover more as technology evolves.

We work closely with our colleagues in other Metso Outotec businesses in order to keep developing the best possible solution for our customers. Complemented with engineering efficiency and different internal tools to simulate, configure and automate our own design and operations as well as our Field Service capabilities, we can safely say that digitalization and automation plays a major role already now, but it will continue gaining increasingly more speed going forward.

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