Thyssenkrupp Materials Services, together with Intel as a partner, 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. It is necessary to network heterogeneous landscapes from new and sometimes decades-old systems (by means of retrofitting) within a common data model based on IoT. As one of the world’s largest suppliers of materials, ThyssenKrupp Material Services has over 4,500 production machines and systems from a wide variety of manufacturers in use in its plants. The goal was to network these assets flexibly in order to increase plant productivity and create more transparency for more efficient production.
At the same time, the respective individual production environments were to be retained. The company did not find what it was looking for on the market: the offers from the major platform providers proved to be too complex and inflexible. That’s why the decision was made to build our 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 modular IIoT platform incorporates edge and cloud analytics
A whole range of tasks was mapped with the toii platform, from machine data collection (including connection, transmission and storage), to production data collection from users and devices, to machine automation with bi-directional 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 was the topic of edge analysis for production optimization and quality assurance with real-time production screening. The end-to-end platform enables AI and machine learning to be deployed at the edge, on-premises or in the cloud.
Optimally coordinated hardware and software
Thanks to the individual modules, the platform maps many application scenarios and is easily scalable. 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 necessary storage and network resources, including gateway technology for connectivity.
Making success accessible to other companies
Since 2017, the platform has been successfully implemented at more than 30 locations and the entire range of machines and multi-stage production systems, but also the IT systems, have been connected to toii. ThyssenKrupp Materials Services was able to achieve clear advantages: process automation reduced downtimes by up to 50 per cent and increased production by 20 per cent compared to the previous year. In addition, many error-prone, paper-based processes have been eliminated.
ThyssenKrupp Materials IoT decided to use the solution to pave the way for production digitization and automation for other companies 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 to extensively network its production. Steel Service Krefeld introduces toii.
Lights to digitally network analogue machines and collect data for further processing.