"The idea behind bringing these assets together is to create an Industry 4.0 connected system whereby, if a client buys a number of Fluke devices and Pruftechnik devices, these can be communicated to the cloud through Fluke Connect, while eMaint tracks the measurements of these tools to create a visual dashboard of these three components into one place."
Fluke acquired Pruftechnik in 2019. Could you share more about the integration between the two companies and could you introduce the new entity, Fluke Reliability?
Today, Pruftechnik, eMaint and Fluke Connect form together Fluke Reliability. This entity brings under one umbrella Pruftechnik’s core product line, especially in handheld devices, together with eMaint’s computerized maintenance management system (CMMS) software, used to manage work orders, PM schedules, parts inventories, and, finally, the software tool of Fluke Connect, used in gathering and storing measurements from test tools and condition monitoring systems.
The idea behind bringing these assets together is to create an Industry 4.0 connected system whereby, if a client buys a number of Fluke devices and Pruftechnik devices, these can be communicated to the cloud through Fluke Connect, while eMaint tracks the measurements of these tools to create a visual dashboard of these three components into one place. As with any acquisition, integration takes time. Pruftechnik had 16 global subsidiaries, each with its own procedures and country regulations, so synergizing with Fluke is a complex but very fruitful process.
What are your views on the pace of digital adoption?
Right after the pandemic hit, we saw the global spearheading and fast-tracking of digital initiatives. Industrial players had to work 10 times faster than before to shift to digital tools, in two phases: in the first stage, the shift to remote work pushed massive data and assets migrations, as well as applying different technologies to oversee operations without physical presence. The second stage involved looking at how these adjustments could actually benefit the business, and digitalization came to the forefront of people’s minds. During this period, demand for wireless sensors peaked.
As a supplier of these technologies, we also needed to adapt. For instance, we used augmented reality goggles to guide a remote team at a large power plant in the Middle East where our people could not travel. Finding and applying these solutions was an eye-opener for us, as I’m sure it has been for many companies. Managers and C-suite executives no longer have the luxury to see digitalization as an option but as a necessity.
What drives innovation at Fluke Reliability?
Technology has been greatly democratized in recent years: items like wireless sensors used to be expensive, difficult to learn, and hard to get hold of, but today these are becoming cheaper and generally more accessible. Following this course of evolution, the next step in the development of sensors is to improve their effectiveness- be it by improving their reaction speed, improving their lifespans, or even their battery lives, which is an issue for many devices. Fluke Reliability works on these aspects to create more user-friendly software and continue that process of democratizing technologies. Ultimately, we want to make sure our customers understand and feel comfortable with the technologies we supply.
What opportunities for growth do you identify in APAC?
APAC has the largest growth prospect within Fluke Reliability, as it gathers the world’s fastest-growing economies and populations, driving further industrialization and investments. Asia also seems to have crossed the pandemic in a more stabilized way, though it is not protected from future shocks. With Fluke on board, we expanded our reach to India and China, two giant markets opening fantastic growth opportunities. China is our biggest market at the moment, followed by Japan and Indonesia, where we operate directly through our own subsidiaries. South Korea is also a very strong market, though we don’t have a direct presence there. The level of local infrastructure we establish in each country impacts our market penetration, and we noted we can achieve a lot more through our own representation and our own people.
What are the main objectives and priorities for Fluke Reliability?
We are proud to be part of Fluke, and Fluke’s parent company, Fortive, both household names in the industry with many success factors instilled within them. We are continuously training our employees to acquire new skills. Fluke Reliability brings a model of “connected reliability” that is unique to the industry because it invites collaborations. As the saying goes: it takes a full village to get new maintenance up and running, so collaborations will be essential in our future development.