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Our annual Industrial Ideas magazine

features stories about how we innovate for a sustainable future and push technology and society forward together with our customers.
Atlas Copco's Industrial Ideas magazine

Meet Bjorn Leempoels

When Bjorn Leempoels began working at Atlas Copco Group 24 years ago, the idea that machines could suggest solutions to problems by communicating with each other would have seemed impossible. Today, it is part of his day-to-day experience.


Job: Vice President Sales & Marketing, Compressor Technique


Specialist Subject: Remote monitoring and connectivity

Portrait photo of Bjorn Leempoels in light blue shirt and navy blue blazer.

Having started as a project leader and manufacturing engineer at Atlas Copco Group in Antwerp in August 2000, Bjorn is now Vice President Sales & Marketing in our Compressor Technique business unit.


Bjorn is at the forefront of efforts to communicate the benefits to customers of our increasingly sophisticated data gathering and analysis techniques that we call SMARTLINK.


“Technology has totally changed the way we work, both from a technical angle in terms of how the machines are controlled, but also how we supervise the machines and utilize smart algorithms to cater to the convenience of the customer,” says Bjorn. 

Bringing asset management to customers’ fingertips

So what is the value of SMARTLINK?


This compressor monitoring technology gathers, compares and analyses data on the fly, allowing customers to intelligently assess the performance of their compressed air systems from moment to moment, ensuring factories endure as little downtime as possible.


“The platform brings asset management to our customers’ fingertips. They can monitor their machines and ensure their assets are running in the most efficient way and with the highest uptime,” Bjorn says.

SMARTLINK basically brings convenience, allows customers to be more productive, and to do better business.

Bjorn Leempoels

The key to top performance

Our compressed air equipment is continually gathering data which, when interpreted correctly, holds the key to top performance and energy efficiency.


The data is handled by experts in Atlas Copco’s Global Diagnostics Center (GDC) before being analyzed with the help of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and smart algorithms built using decades of compressed air technology knowhow. 


Experts in the GDC monitor the machines remotely and create tickets, often triggered by what the team calls “smart events”.


Data from the machines can be combined with external information, which prompts the AI models to suggest changes to the way machinery is operating. Incoming data on local weather, for example, can trigger a smart event.


“We compare something as simple as the ambient temperature outside and inside the compressor room and the temperature at the outlet of the compressed air, so we’ll know when the outlet temperature of the machine is too high relative to the inlet,” Bjorn says.

Bringing value – beyond visualization and monitoring

Insights from SMARTLINK leads to tailored recommendations based on data.


“We can connect the dots and suggest a fix. The process is not just about data collection and monitoring, it’s what we do with the data and the insights that we generate, and that’s really where AI comes into its own.” 


The Smart Link web portal allows operators to analyze and optimize an entire facility, while the app provides the most important information.


All information and recommendations are corroborated by our experts to ensure accuracy. Indeed, the combination of human expertise and AI brings the best out of the system, Bjorn says.


At times, the GDC team will receive tickets that aren’t logical. Those tickets are then given back to engineers so our systems can be refined, enabling a process of continuous improvement.


Today we have more than 30,000 machines connected to the diagnostic service generating more than 3,500 tickets a month.


“SMARTLINK is not purely about monitoring and visualizing, but really coming with added value for the customers, driving up time and ensuring they use their operational spend in the best way possible,” Bjorn concludes.

It has been a great journey, but it can and will be even better.

Bjorn Leempoels

Listen to Bjorn on TechTalks

Bjorn Leempoels was a guest on the first ever episode of the TechTalks podcast, where we discussed how to engineer the industry of tomorrow. 


> Go to the episode

The host and guests of Tech Talks episode 1 posing for a group photo in front of the Atlas Copco Group office in Sickla, Sweden. The group consists of three men and two women, wearing office apparel and smiling.