Text Plamen Kiradjiev ––– Photography
Ten years after the introduction of “Industry 4.0”, there’s still plenty of potential for digitalization. In fact, for many manufacturing companies, it’s only now – after they’ve spent time learning – that things are really getting going. However, when it comes to the digitalization of manufacturing processes, there’s still a lot to do. In my view, German Edge Cloud is really in tune with the times here. My decision to join the company in driving forward progress in industry and to get closer to the action in production operations was based on three experiences that could also be described as milestones – striking developments that took place within the context of the partnership between GEC and IBM:
Finding out it was possible to put a pre- installed Edge Cloud appliance (ONCITE) into operation for an entire production line within just 20 days was one of the experiences. IBM and GEC proved this in the new Rittal plant in Haiger in September 2020. After this short period of time, it was possible to realise orders via SAP and a Track & Trace scenario using the machine data from a production line.
was really impressed when I got better acquainted with one of the GEC “crown jewels” – the ONCITE.Industrial.Suite – in another joint project. The system comprises a variety of services and makes end-to-end manufacturing management a real possibility. It is the result of more than 300 years of cumulative experience based on cutting-edge microservices architecture.
I was also won over by the performance dashboards in the Rittal plant in Haiger, which were installed in the manufacturing facility between February and August last year. They depict the processes in the plant in unflinching detail – in situations where Andon dashboards with three figures are often still standard. You have to respect the fact that the new Edge Cloud appliance ONCITE from GEC – the youngest subsidiary in the Friedhelm Loh Group – is being used for the first time at Rittal – the oldest subsidiary – thus making the Group its own reference for future customers. It’s a case of “eat your own cookies” – and then they’re guaranteed to taste good to others, too!
FRIEDHELM LOH GROUP
However, the thing that has surprised me – and this is something I continue to come across almost every day – is the potential for synergy effects between the Friedhelm Loh Group companies:
- The new Rittal plant in Haiger that manufactures enclosures on the basis of Industry 4.0 principles is the blueprint for an automotive production plant with similar sections, such as the press shop, paint shop and assembly workshop.
- A digital Eplan circuit diagram that incorporates the target parameters right down to the last sensor provides a basis for comparing target and actual values.
- Cideon Enify, the app for innovative service concepts for machines that also enables mechanical engineers and operators to communicate with images anywhere in the world via augmented reality.
- The vertical integration that comes from Stahlo and LKH, which offer further potential to benefit from digitalisation in their value creation processes – such as in steel processing or plastic component manufacture.
As Head of Solution Architects at GEC, the job that lies ahead of me is an exciting one – taking ONCITE and GEC.Industrial.Suite, with all the aforementioned potential for synergy, and designing and implementing them into a sustainable and stable IT manufacturing architecture as a factory edge for our customers.