Together with Intel as a partner, Thyssenkrupp Materials Services has not only networked its own production landscapes in one platform: the project resulted in toii, a digitization platform for medium-sized manufacturing companies.
The networking of machines and systems is still one of the greatest challenges in the Industry 4.0 environment. The aim is to network heterogeneous landscapes from new and, in some cases, decades-old systems (by means of retrofitting) within a common IoT-based data model. As one of the world’s largest material suppliers, ThyssenKrupp Material Services has over 4,500 production machines and systems from a wide range of manufacturers in use in its plants. The aim was to flexibly network these assets in order to increase plant productivity and create more transparency for more efficient production.
At the same time, they wanted to keep the respective individual production environments. The company did not find what it was looking for on the market: The offers of the major platform providers proved to be too complex and inflexible. That is why the decision was made to set up its own, tailor-made IIoT platform with Intel as a partner for the hardware. Thyssenkrupp Materials IoT GmbH (tkMIoT), a subsidiary of thyssenkrupp AG, was responsible for the project.
The Industrial IoT platform incorporates edge and cloud analytics
A whole range of tasks was mapped with the Industrial IoT platform, from machine data acquisition (including connection, transmission and storage) to production data acquisition from users and devices to machine automation with bidirectional communication. The platform enables the visualization of production data, for example for benchmarking, and organizes the complex data integration from different data sources, including ERP systems.
The Manufacturing Execution System was also integrated. A particularly important part were the topics of edge analysis for production optimization and quality assurance with production screening in real-time. The end-to-end platform enables the implementation of AI and machine learning at the edge of the network on-site or in the cloud.
Optimally coordinated hardware and software
Thanks to the individual modules, the platform maps many application scenarios and can be easily scaled. The solution consists of Intel servers and industrial PCs (IPCs) with the necessary storage and network resources, including gateway technology for connectivity.
With IIoT, the interaction between software and hardware determines the efficient real-time processing of data. Thanks to the intensive cooperation, tkMIoT was able to rely on the optimal combination of hardware technologies: The solution consists of Intel servers and industrial PCs (IPCs) with the required storage and network resources, including gateway technology for connectivity.
Make success accessible to other companies
The platform has been successfully implemented at more than 30 locations since 2017 and the entire range of machines and multi-level production systems, as well as the IT systems, have been connected to toii. ThyssenKrupp Materials Services was able to achieve significant advantages: Thanks to process automation, downtimes were reduced by up to 50 per cent and production increased by 20 per cent compared to the previous year. In addition, many error-prone, paper-based procedures have been eliminated.
ThyssenKrupp Materials IoT decided to use the solution to pave the way for other companies to digitize and automate production and to market toii as part of the Intel IoT Market Ready Solutions program. External customers include GGK, a subsidiary of the Grün group, which relies on the platform for extensive networking of its production. Steel Service Krefeld introduces toii. Lights to digitally network analogue machines and collect data for further processing.