A global task force for on site deployments

Christian Lenakakis, Head of Commissioning, Training & Service at Bihl+Wiedemann

Maximum system availability is one of the top priorities of modern production. Reliable devices, automated diagnostics and clean configurations are the best approach to this. But when things nevertheless come to a stop and troubleshooting by phone reaches its limit, the service team from Bihl+Wiedemann springs into action. Their manager Christian Lenakakis has given ASi MASTER NEWS a look behind the scenes.


ASi MASTER NEWS : Mr. Lenakakis, the number of installed Bihl+Wiedemann devices in the world has quadrupled in recent years. This must mean your service team is continually on the move.


Christian Lenakakis : No, not at all. Most problems reported to us can be handled by our Technical Support personnel by phone. In spite of the rapidly increasing number and complexity of the systems in which our products are installed, the success rate has for years remained constant at over 90 percent. This is also due to our new diagnostic software which significantly simplifies troubleshooting. Only when all else fails do we enter the picture – as a global taskforce for on site deployments. In addition to the service calls in emergency situations, we are also available for commissioning and training – but as of today this is all manageable in terms of numbers.


ASi MASTER NEWS : The low rate of service calls, of course, speaks well for the reliability of your devices and the capability of the telephone support. But why is your team not more in demand for commissioning and training?

Christian Lenakakis: This is due mainly to the fact that AS-Interface has, over time, become more complex but in no way more complicated. Although I must say that personally, I consider our training courses highly advisable even for those experienced in ASi, since the pressures of everyday work often leave little time for becoming familiar with the basics of the system. As far as commissioning is concerned, here we have invested much in recent years for example in quick start guides and video tutorials, which can be easily accessed on our website. They make it possible for our customers to independently commission most of the applications.


ASi MASTER NEWS : What exactly is the purpose of the diagnostic software you mentioned before?

Christian Lenakakis : It permanently monitors the fitness of the entire network, provides concrete recommendations at the push of a button when there is an issue and makes it possible even for non-specialists to quickly solve any potential problem themselves. If that works like it should, the user has spared himself a phone call to our support personnel. If it doesn’t work, the software provides our people all the relevant system data they need to quickly identify the fault and finally eliminate it.

ASi MASTER NEWS: What kind of cases are left then for your service team?


Christian Lenakakis : For example those situations where the ASi network is indicating faults, but the cause of the error lies in a completely different location. As an ideal team player together with other systems, AS-Interface is increasingly used in widely branched systems. And when external interference comes into play, this can also have an effect on ASi, even though the masters and slaves are actually working perfectly.


ASi MASTER NEWS : So you remain engaged even when it’s not your products that have caused the problem?


Christian Lenakakis : Of course. We have even gotten systems back up and running in which there was not a single Bihl+Wiedemann product installed. For us it’s all about the partnership with users: if we can help our customer to achieve maximum system availability using our expertise, we will do it.


ASi MASTER NEWS : What does your team for service calls, commissioning and training actually look like?


Christian Lenakakis : We are a team consisting of several colleagues whose normal work is in various departments. Depending on the nature of the deployment we then decide who – including myself – goes to the customer. This ensures that we always remain flexible and can respond quickly. ASi MASTER NEWS : Isn’t that rather unusual for a company of your size, having the team leader also take part in outside service calls? Christian Lenakakis : That may be, but at Bihl+Wiedemann it’s nothing special – here the tone is set from the top. I myself have also experienced service calls where I and Mr. Bihl stood together at the customer’s machine.


ASi MASTER NEWS : Mr. Lenakakis, we thank you for the interview.