The magazine of Friedhelm Loh Group

The magazine of Friedhelm Loh Group

Creating IIoT architectures
Innovation – Rittal

IIoT in manufacturing – but how?

The future of production lies in manufacturing facilities and logistics systems that – ideally – organise themselves without any human intervention. A great many companies are aware of the need for action in this area, but the relevant solutions often still seem somewhat abstract. German Edge Cloud (GEC) is showing what an integration and migration strategy looks like.

Manufacturing processes of this kind can benefit from IIoT-based system architectures that process mass data from machinery and feed this into industrial real-time analytics and manufacturing operations management – MOM – systems. The latter consolidate all production processes and offer services for holistic manufacturing management. “An IIoT-based architecture of this type can be efficiently created using an edge appliance such as ONCITE – hardware plus software – combined with managed services. This enables factory operators to focus on their core business and benefit from a high level of digitalization, without needing to have the necessary knowhow or resources themselves,” explains Dr Sebastian Ritz, CEO Cloud & Edge Computing at German Edge Cloud.

Existing applications can run on the platform and be combined with new ones. Separate machine data islands are merged and homogenised. A flexible software system controls the production facilities. Rigid linear concepts are thus replaced by modular manufacturing with a flexible design. The new Rittal plant in Haiger shows what this can look like in practice.

Rittal Werk Bild

Up to 18 terabytes of data a day from 250 machines and systems plus 20 automated guided vehicles at the Rittal plant in Haiger can be used to create value thanks to ONCITE.


The Haiger plant manufactures up to 8,000 compact and small enclosures per day in a highly automated process, with over 250 networked high-tech machines spread across 24,000 square metres. The various machines and handling systems communicate with each other and with higher-level control systems. A total of 20 automated guided vehicles (AGVs) take care of transport operations at the plant. Packaging, labelling and handover to the Global Distribution Centre next door are also automated, networked processes.

Solutions from the Rittal subsidiary German Edge Cloud help make this smart factory possible.


A live dashboard system developed by GEC, based on the edge cloud appliance ONCITE, enables the entire production operation to be monitored, with rapid intervention if necessary. Data and analyses relating to the current situation and production planning are provided, and warnings are displayed in the event of potential problems.

“We recently recorded a fault on the packaging line. Thanks to the live dashboard system, this was rectified in less than a minute,” says Moritz Heide, Head of System Maintenance and Work Preparation at the Rittal plant in Haiger. “That creates transparency and gives us control options across all production lines and systems, which results in big efficiency improvements,” he continues. The next step being planned is to link SAP ERP to ONCITE so that Rittal can see the order situation and display availability details.

“We’re also using a GEC data analytics solution to create the basis for predictive maintenance – a further key step towards autonomously controlled production,” explains Bernd Kremer, Head of ONCITE Industrial at German Edge Cloud.

Die GEC-Lösungen bewähren sich bereits im eigenen Konzern, halten aber auch verstärkt Einzug in der Industrie. Ein Treiber dafür ist die neue Partnerschaft der German Edge Cloud mit IBM.

  • GEC and IBM

    GEC and IBM

    Off to a flying start with IBM

    IBM has enhanced the ONCITE industrial edge appliance with its Cloud Pak solution. This results in faster commissioning for industrial users and also more flexible integration of the appliance into all control levels in the manufacturing process.

    The initial IBM Cloud Pak modules being used address OT-IT integration. IBM’s Operational Decision Manager is also being put to good use. It enables non- IT staff to control actions and data flows on the shop floor using business rules. All operational data (OT) is recorded and standardised with the IT system data before being made available to the smart MOM system.

    This process is based on Red Hat Open Shift, meaning that components provided by GEC and IBM – and also third-party solutions – operate in a cutting- edge container, automation and virtualised environment as new manufacturing IT. It gives customers the flexibility to run their applications either locally or in the cloud. “By using hyperscale technology, production companies quickly benefit from a high level of digitalization in their manufacturing operations, without having to acquire extensive expertise themselves. GEC and IBM provide IT infrastructure that matches the production requirements, investment plans and data sovereignty demands, leaving factory operators to focus on their core business,” says Dr Sebastian Ritz, CEO Cloud & Edge Computing at German Edge Cloud.


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