• IIoT platform “toii” is an in-house development that connects machines of different makes and generations
• Due to predictive maintenance the platform is also supposed to forecast the necessity of machine services in the future
• Processes can be planned and coordinated optimally and flexibly
A milestone for the digital transformation: thyssenkrupp connects the machinery of the materials division via a new digital platform. Thanks to toii all machines can communicate with each other. Due to predictive maintenance the platform is also supposed to forecast the necessity of machine services in the future. The name chosen by the business area is a double play on words – it spells IIoT backwards, the abbreviation for “Industrial Internet of Things” – and it is pronounced like the word “toy”, an indication of how the new platform makes linking heterogeneous machines to existing IT structures “child’s play”. toii was developed completely in-house by company software engineering experts and tailored to the specific requirements of Materials Services.
One platform for each and everything
The machinery belonging to the business area, which focuses on global materials distribution and processing services, is highly diverse: The machines perform a wide range of tasks, were made by various manufacturers and differ in age. Now toii makes it possible to connect bandsaws and bending machines, mobile objects like cranes and forklifts and even complex production facilities such as slitting and cut to length lines and sophisticated processing solutions through milling machines and laser systems digitally in line with the Industrial Internet of Things. The digital platform allows the machines to share data and communicate with one another and with the IT systems. Processes can be planned and coordinated optimally and flexibly – across locations, worldwide. As a further major benefit, the platform simplifies data analysis. Which product has been produced when and in what quantities? Which machine needs maintenance? What could be developing into a problem? What additional materials need to be delivered? The system answers all of these questions and many more by gathering and analyzing data. The results are just a mouse click away – clearly structured and easy to understand.
“We’ve created an end-to-end solution that is tailored specifically to our needs. It will enable us to accelerate the automation of our production operations and make our processes much more efficient,” says Hans-Josef Hoß from the board of thyssenkrupp Materials Services. “We are now taking the digital transformation to the core areas of our business: our production shops, our machinery and equipment, and our materials. Our customers will feel the benefit – and so will we.”
Close teamwork of man and machinetoii has already successfully proven its worth in several pilot projects. For example, at Materials Processing Europe in Mannheim, a new, highly complex cut to length line that cuts sheet from coil was fully connected with the platform. The result: toii transfers work orders directly and in real time from the SAP system to the machine and controls its settings from sizes and weights to volumes. The platform also automatically retrieves the machine information required by SAP. As a result, the status of production and the finished products can be viewed at any time. Other machines have also already been digitally connected and automated using toii, for example measuring the thickness of metal strips for effective quality control and automatic blanking. In the latter case, the platform even made it possible to fully integrate the blanking operation into a production line. In other areas, from high-bay storage to mobile construction machinery, toii is improving efficiency as well.
thyssenkrupp Materials Services is systematically driving the digital transformation of the business area throughout the entire value chain. In many areas, connected collaboration and interactive processes are already well established – from logistics, warehousing and line utilization to purchasing and administration. The focus is on customers and their individual requirements. The aim: to continuously develop and implement made-to-measure digital solutions that allow for smarter and more effective collaboration and open up completely new possibilities.
Silvery or golden surface for the HP Indigo 12000 series
When Iggesund Paperboard asked Print House in Oslo to do the certification testing of its new silvery metallised PET film-laminated paperboard, Metalprint Digital, which is custom designed for the HP Indigo 12000 series of digital printing presses, the Swedish company also gained an exciting benchmark example of Metalprint Digital’s performance ability. The printers had simultaneously been asked to develop an exclusive packaging for the launch of Colgate’s gold toothbrush, the Gold 360⁰. From the sheets left over from the certification testing, the printers created a packaging for Colgate in the form of a gold bar – unusually, even before the paperboard was on the market.
“Colgate wanted a gold finish and so we tried printing yellow onto Metalprint Digital’s silvery surface to achieve the gold effect. It was a great success,” explains Steven Widlic, project manager at Print House.
A couple of years ago, Metalprint, which is based on Invercote G, attracted great interest in digital print circles. One limitation, though, was that it could only be used in the biggest presses with the equipment to apply a primer. Together with HP Indigo, Iggesund Paperboard has now developed another version, Metalprint Digital, which is customised and certified for HP Indigo’s 12000 presses.
“The certification test runs exceeded expectations and we’re impressed by how well Metalprint Digital functioned in our press,” Widlic continues. “It works so well because Invercote is fundamentally stable with good quality and a fine surface. When the metallised film is then applied by using a forgiving method, the result is the mirror-smooth finish that is an ideal prerequisite for a superb print result.”
Print House is one of the pioneering digital printers in Norway. Until the beginning of 2018 it had about 20 employees before merging with a considerably larger group of printing companies, 07 Media.
“Here at Print House we’ve been able to follow the exciting developments in digital printing,” Widlic says. “The growth in the packaging segment has been particularly impressive and still has a lot of potential.”
The ability to produce small series of packaging involving complex printing opens up new possibilities for small companies. Packaging printed with traditional technology involves relatively high start-up costs, which are an obstacle for companies that want to limit their print runs for cost reasons.
“That factor is what’s driving the expansion of our packaging business, as well as the advantages that digital technology offers when you have to make many versions of a basic packaging design,” Widlic concludes.
An Innovative Tool in the Fight Against Counterfeiters
Schaeffler’s OriginCheck App has Made the Company an “Outstanding Landmark in the Land of Ideas”.
The nation-branding initiative “Germany – Land of Ideas” organized by the German Federal Government and Federation of German Industries (BDI) has named Schaeffler as one of the recipients of its “Outstanding Landmark” award for 2018. The OriginCheck app launched by Schaeffler in 2017 was one of 100 ideas selected. This app allows buyers of INA and FAG products such as rolling bearings to carry out initial authenticity checks both quickly and easily, and initiate further steps to obtain proper clarification without complications if any suspicion arises. In this way, the jury concluded, the app benefits the general public by helping to fight product piracy and providing increased protection against potentially harmful counterfeit products.
Reliable checking made easy
The checks are carried out based on the GS1-standard data matrix codes (DMCs) that are placed on the Schaeffler packaging and allow the product to be identified worldwide with no overlaps. The user scans this DMC with the OriginCheck app and immediately receives notification of whether the code has been found in the database that is maintained by Schaeffler. When suspicion arises, the app helps the user to create suitable photographic documentation of the product being checked and e-mail this documentation directly from the app to the Brand Protection Team, Schaeffler’s central department responsible for combating product and brand piracy.
Consistent, network-based tracking
Since 2004, the Brand Protection Team has been handling suspected cases in collaboration with customs and authorities, and it consistently develops additional measures to protect against product piracy and trademark infringements. Schaeffler inspected over 700 suspected cases in 2017, some of which were reported using the OriginCheck app, allowing goods with a total retail purchase value of five million euros to be seized and destroyed under supervision worldwide. The app allows end customers and retailers to better evaluate the sources from which they procure components, which in many cases are safety-relevant, and provides increasing support in tracking down suppliers of counterfeit products.
At the EU level, rights holders such as brand product manufacturers are continuously working with customs and authorities to simplify and accelerate the exchange of information. Schaeffler has been part of the steering committee for the development of the Enforcement Database at the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) since 2013. Rights holders use this database to supply product information and contacts to the European authorities in order to make it easier to identify counterfeits and initiate the appropriate measures. The OriginCheck app and all of the required information are available here for the authorities to use, and the app is also demonstrated at various joint events, such as the Enforcement Database Forum taking place in Alicante (Spain) in mid-June.
HMS facilitates Smart Grid connectivity with IXXAT SG gateways
New IXXAT SG-gateways from HMS Industrial Networks enable data exchange between infrastructure and energy networks based on IEC61850 or IEC60870-5-104, and common fieldbus and industrial Ethernet systems.While industrial communication between devices and systems is typically done with fieldbus and industrial Ethernet, modern infrastructure and energy networks are based upon other protocol standards such as IEC61850 and IEC60870-5-104. The new IXXAT SG-gateways from HMS address the increasing need for data exchange between these two worlds, offering a wide protocol coverage and easy integration. The SG-gateways focus on applications requiring a connection between the IEC61850 or IEC60870-5-104 protocols, and popular industrial, building and metering standards such as Modbus RTU (master/slave), Modbus-TCP (client/server), PROFIBUS, PROFINET, EtherNet/IP, M-Bus, along with digital I/O’s.
In addition to data transmission via Ethernet, the SG-gateways also optionally offer data transmission via 3G modem, enabling wireless connection to e.g. control rooms.
Flexible use in a wide range of emerging applications
The SG-gateways are ideal for all applications using the IEC61850 or IEC60870-5-104 protocol, and where users want to achieve straight-forward remote control, efficient electrical system management or easy access to application and power consumption data. The SG-gateways can be used to connect SCADA systems with industrial devices and machines in the field, serve as gateways between individual power producers and energy management software in Virtual Power Plants (VPP) and demand-response applications, or as means to enable a connection from IEDs (Intelligent Electrical Devices) to PLC systems from various automation vendors. Furthermore, the SG-gateways are fitting for water/wastewater management, within district heating and gas networks, or within rail network systems.
Special focus on easy integration and configuration
The SG-gateways are easily configured and programmed using the WEB-PLC-Tool, a PLC software with a web-based programming interface. With the graphical editor of the WEB-PLC, function diagrams can be processed intuitively and quickly – similar to the well-known CFCs (Continuous Function Charts). Thanks to a powerful 32-bit processor platform, the SG-gateway can process up to 8192 variables. As a result, the gateway can be used without restrictions in complex systems with a multiplicity of signals and messages as well as a high data throughput.
SG-gateways form the core of new IXXAT Energy portfolio
Previous versions of the SG-gateways were available as Anybus gateways from HMS, already successfully used in numerous applications worldwide. However, the new revised and powerful SG-gateways will carry the IXXAT brand, forming the core of the new IXXAT Energy product range from HMS.
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