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Smart software for easy control of profiling lines: the evolution of PROFIN®


Project Summary

The evolution of PROFIN®:

  • The first version of PROFIN® was developed in 2000.
  • Rolf Bastiaansen was tasked with updating the application in 2017.
  • In 2020, the second version of PROFIN® was first installed for a customer.
  • Currently, PROFIN® is delivered with eighty percent of the control systems for profiling lines.
  • The application has been installed on approximately one hundred lines worldwide.

From garage doors to control cabinets and warehouse shelving: profiles made with PROFIN® can be found everywhere. Approximately eighty percent of the control systems for profiling lines supplied by Eltra incorporate the software. Senior Application Engineer Rolf Bastiaansen and Project Manager Erik Klaassen discuss the origins, wide-ranging applications, and positive reception of PROFIN®.

What are your roles and how did you find yourselves in these positions?
Erik: “I’ve been with Eltra since 1998, joining when I was the eighth name on the payroll. Over the years, I’ve been in various roles: from work preparation and panel construction to Software Engineer, Senior Software Engineer, and Lead Software Engineer. And for the past few years, I’ve been a Project Manager. In short, I really grew alongside the company.”

Rolf: “I’m a Senior Application Engineer. A friend working at Eltra invited me to come take a look seven years ago. I liked what I saw so much that I joined the company two months later.”

Could you briefly introduce PROFIN®?
Erik: “PROFIN® is an application developed by Eltra to control punch and profiling lines. Essentially, it acts as an interface between the operator and the machines. These lines consist of machines that roll profiles from steel. They often punch holes for screws and parts, and at the end, cut the profiles to the correct length. An operator inputs the profiles into PROFIN®, the software calculates the punching plans, and translates them into commands for the machines.”

Rolf: “PROFIN® is a highly versatile application. It comprises various modules so customers can tailor a software package to their specific needs. Today, it can even read profile drawings. And recently, we connected all the machines on the factory floor for a client in the Czech Republic to PROFIN®, including those not running on the application. Operators get an immediate, colour-coded overview of the status of all the orders and lines. We call this PROFIN® Plantview.”

How was PROFIN® developed?
Erik: “The initial idea for PROFIN® emerged around 2000. Back then, a line operator had to manually calculate and enter each command. We thought, ‘There has to be a way to do this more efficiently.’ Initially, PROFIN® was a Microsoft Access application, but we eventually hit its limits. So, when Rolf joined the company in 2017, one of his first tasks was to renew PROFIN®.

Rolf: “In 2020, we deployed the second version of the software on a profiling line for the first time. This version runs on a SQL server, making it faster, more stable, and scalable. We’ve completely revamped the user interface to be more user-friendly. PROFIN® can now be fully integrated into Industry 4.0, allowing operators to control it from an office outside the production hall. And we’re continually developing it, maintaining close contact with our customers for feedback. Whenever we receive a customer request, we explore its potential value for other clients. If it’s there, we implement the feature for everyone. For instance, we recently added a wizard that allows users to create a new order or switch between existing ones in just a few clicks.”

What has the customer feedback been like for PROFIN®?
Erik: “Very positive. New customers often have a long list of requirements. But once their machines are set up with PROFIN®, they’re almost always immediately satisfied, and asking if PROFIN® can be included in their next order too. The application has now been installed on about a hundred profiling lines worldwide. Recently, following an installation in the US, the end customer’s neighbouring business was so impressed by PROFIN® that we’re now in talks with them too.”

Rolf: “If a customer is not completely satisfied, we always take a close look to see how we can change that. Sometimes, we might need to fix or improve something within the application, but often training the customer’s employees is the solution. We always provide training at the machine manufacturer’s facility, but especially for end customers with specific needs, we offer on-site training. We like to be involved in the entire process from the start, advising customers on how to set up and use PROFIN® effectively, ensuring they can fully utilise all functionalities from day one.”