Lenze, in partnership with IoT specialist ei3 (based in New York), is able to provide a proven roadmap to help customers reach the promised value of IoT and advanced analytics. Customers can achieve return on investment (ROI) using quantifiable metrics, available in dashboard or report form, within the first few months of deployment. At both PACK EXPO 2018 and Hannover Messe USA, booth visitors learned more about this solution which is suitable for services such as remote diagnostics and predictive maintenance, while maintaining high levels of security. Lenze is able to demonstrate that Industry 4.0 is no longer an abstract concept, but indeed a reality. The cloud offers an infinite amount of storage space and computing power, but it first needs the right concepts and applications before it can become a genuine added value. Machine data from the control, the drives and the sensors can now be transferred securely to the cloud with minimal effort.
“Companies can monitor their machines' performance in real time in order to increase asset utilization, improve production quality, reduce service costs, and save energy,” according to Daniel Repp, automation product manager at Lenze Americas. “This leads to operational savings and increased profit margins, without compromising machine and data safety.”
For customers of automation specialist, Lenze there is now an easy way for OEMs to collect all the data that is available inside the Lenze controllers. They can then evaluate this data and make it available to their own customers, either as an up-to-date dashboard or in the form of reports providing performance figures. This data can be used to determine how to optimize systems and processes. In addition, the solution is suitable for services such as remote diagnosis and maintenance, and it can also be used to provide predictive services.
The data from a machine is first transferred via OPC-UA (Unified Architecture) to a security appliance within the production network. From then on, all the communication takes place in encrypted form at a high level of security in ei3’s own data centers. It is a private cloud offering big-data services with easy accessibility – preconfigured and available to OEMs. To start collecting data, machine builders will specify the desired data points in the required application – no prior knowledge of IT or big data necessary. It is also easy for the OEM to carry out remote diagnosis and remote maintenance once the product is up and running.
Data security takes top priority in ei3’s own regional data centers. There are three of these: one of each in the USA, Europe and Asia. A fourth one is currently being created in Germany so that the customers’ local data never leaves the country. The data specialist from New York employs strong encryption systems for the data transfer – comparable with the kind of encryption that is used by banks.
Data sent to the cloud can be analyzed for different applications. The simplest case would be when a warning is generated because a specific critical value has been exceeded, such as the ambient temperature (condition monitoring), or because it might be exceeded in the near future (predictive maintenance). This enables the maintenance department to plan the maintenance window in advance, combining different upcoming tasks into one maintenance job and thus reducing the system downtimes, which has a positive effect on OEE and ROI.
Industry 4.0 does not only mean better machine control and the optimization of processes for the user, but the OEM also benefits from the additional information. He can optimize service on the basis of the machine data. The analysis of the usage data shows what the machines’ real operating conditions look like, since they often diverge considerably from what the customer previously reported. Accordingly, the machines can be precisely adapted to the actual operating conditions, and weaknesses that emerge can be eliminated. The machine manufacturer can also strengthen customer ties significantly with custom-made solutions and individual service offers.
Lenze offers all of the necessary modules to create smart machines – from the automation and drive technology, to the necessary development tools and software tools, and now the cloud connection.