Spin-off will further develop and market Variass IT architecture

News | March 1, 2021

In recent years, Variass has invested in its own IT architecture with which all data from the production environment can be accessed in real time. 'Now that Variass has reaped the benefits itself, it is time to let the rest of the market benefit from the knowledge gained', says director Henk Smid.

Management of the spin-off Arkoni
Koen Kijk in de Vegt and Arnold Veenstra are the directors of the spin-off Arkoni: 'By the end of this year we hope to have helped a large number of manufacturing companies to break through digital barriers'.

's core business Variass is developing, assembling, industrializing and manufacturing high-tech electronic and mechatronic solutions for customers. Now that 90 percent of the building blocks for an IT architecture are in-house and processes have been accelerated and optimized, the idea arose to market this low-threshold solution via a spin-off. 'Digitalisation, automation and robotisation are difficult to get going within SMEs up to 250 employees. There appears to be a need for a simple system with which you can take major steps in data management within the company with a good IT person by allowing various software systems to communicate with each other', says Henk Smid. 'These services do not fit within our business model. That is why further development and commercialization will take place outside the door.' Arkonia started as an independent company on 1 March 2021. 

Truly higher returns

The spin-off aims to provide SMEs with the building blocks to innovate themselves into a smart factory. An IT architecture is the starting point for unlocking all available data. 'It is a proven solution, a methodology that works in a production environment. We know what manufacturing companies encounter because we have experienced all these problems ourselves during development', explains Koen Kijk in de Vegt, who owns Arkoni together with (now former) Variass colleague Arnold Veenstra. All data from the company becomes available within the platform. 'This concerns both machine data and data from existing software packages, which are all linked together. It is not intended to replace existing systems, but as a supplement. The system can communicate with ERP and CRM packages, an MES layer and with machines themselves. The platform analyzes all that data and based on the results, companies can improve their processes on the production floor and thus actually achieve higher returns.

Making things simple

To illustrate this, Kijk in de Vegt gives an example. 'If a previous order had problems, an app in the system gives the production employee a warning. For example: “Note, this went wrong with the previous order”. The same happens if it has been a while since an employee has worked on a product. Normally, these analyzes are difficult to make within companies, because those sources are not available. There is a lot of talk about smart factory, but almost no company achieves real returns with it. We want to change that by making things simple,' he says. 'Where the solutions of large software companies are usually extensive and require a large investment, we want to keep the consultancy level low, let companies learn and enable them to make the digitization themselves.' Kijk in de Vegt immediately has a tip. 'All systems generate so much data these days. The trick is to know what you want and can do, and which data can be used.' 

Enter once 

The platform offers customers the necessary benefits. Because software packages can now communicate with each other, it is no longer necessary for employees to enter the same data multiple times in different systems. 'Enter once and data is available everywhere because the digital barriers have been lifted. That saves a lot of administrative work. In addition, employees are shown selection fields, where they can only select the correct field. This reduces the chance of errors, also because you enter data less often. It can also be seen whether someone is still working in the correct product version, so that failure costs can be reduced

The brand new owner leaves no doubt about Arkoni's ambitions: 'In a few years' time we want to have grown into a larger company. And by the end of this year, we hope to have helped quite a few manufacturing companies to break through digital barriers and take the digitization steps they want.'