It was 2016 when thyssenkrupp Steel ushered in change. The Executive Board decided to modernise and standardise its production-relevant IT infrastructure across the entire Group. Instead of handing over work to external service providers, thyssenkrupp Steel would from that point on regain its own data sovereignty. After all, the resource at stake is the very backbone of operations – big data from and for production.
The company and its implementation partner Rittal made a start at Europe’s biggest steel plant in Duisburg. There, on a more or less greenfield site right next to hot strip mill 1, a veritable digital Fort Knox began to take shape. Two Rittal Data Cubes were established and production IT systems were gradually moved into them until they were fully integrated.
The entire physical IT infrastructure from rack and server to climate control, power supply and effective fire extinguishing system is housed in the Rittal Data Cubes. Thanks to the digital twin of the Rittal Data Cubes, thyssenkrupp Steel can operate virtual resource management via remote access. This twin – a kind of digital blueprint of the standard that was developed especially for the company – also ensures the physical solution can be rapidly replicated at any of the sites operated by thyssenkrupp Steel. Eight identical containers are now in use at the steel giant’s
two Duisburg sites, two more at the Dortmund plant, with Bochum and Siegerland to follow.
To build redundancy into the system, Rittal set up two IT containers for each production plant unit. Production data from the plant is collated in the IT infrastructure housed in container 1 and backed up in the identical twin container, which has an independent power supply and is located at least 200 metres away. Measuring 12 metres wide, 3 metres deep and a good 2.5 metres tall, the Rittal Data Cubes boast all the physical safety and security measures needed to guard against external influences. The metal fence enclosure, robust steel container shell and integration into the company-wide safety and security system – from fire prevention to access control – provide excellent protection.