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Digitalization - from information to knowledge

Music is basically an analog experience - an artist or a band is playing and we can listen to it if we are in the same place at the same time. The evolution has gone from this direct experience via analog turntables and cassettes, to digital (but still physical) Compact Discs towards MP3 (no more physical) to today's streaming services. A whole range of new business models and services have evolved around the music itself.

Digitalization can mean a lot of things. It may be the usage of a digital amplifier, to stay with the music example. It can also be the development and provision of a streaming service with completely new possibilities for the user. Not all form of digitalization has the same groundbreaking effect.

Considering this, it is important to look at your own business and ask yourself, what can be changed in which way to get max of the efforts in return? Not everything that involves some form of digital solutions and services results in the expected change and benefits. But if things are approached in a targeted and systematic manner, the idea of Industry 4.0 can be developed further.

Our idea of Industry 4.0 is the availability and the collection of information, the transformation of this information to knowledge with the help of analytics, and the use of this knowledge to do new things and to improve the things you do.

It's not only the product itself that should be at the center of your efforts. There's just as much to gain from taking a look at the value chain itself.

For example, a machine operator gets presented recommendations for problems that may arise during operations of a e.g. milling machine. These recommendations are based on the information available and are linked to the cause of the problem. The operator can vote the recommendation up or down depending on how his problem was addressed. The recommendations are written by experienced operators and this way, their experience and knowledge is made available to everyone - much to the benefit of more effective processes.

Another example is how Audi starts to transition from building their cars on an assembly line with fixed tact times and workstations, towards a dynamic assembly where autonomous vehicles are driving through the assembly hall and find the next free working station. All components and tools are moving in the same way towards this work station and everything arrives there at the same time.
All this is possible with the help of a huge amount of information which is used to continuously adapt and optimize the assembly process. When something didn't work as expected, the pattern leading to the fault is identified from the data. The analysis of this data serves as basis for recognizing such patterns in the future and thus avoiding the occurrence of the same problem. This way, the whole assembly process is self-improving all the time.

But how to get started?

The problem is that no one knows where Digitalization is leading to. Therefore its probably no good idea to buy expensive licenses and replace all of your systems with a completely new platform. However, it is also not an option to wait for 10 years and see what will happen. The challenge is to find these aspects of digitalization which are interesting (e.g. aspects like engineering, product, service), relevant and reachable for each business with its individual products and services and the related value chain. Not every approach has to be disruptive.

At nexiles, we are using a range of characteristics to outline a road-map to get started:

  • To which degree is it possible to access analog and digital methods in a systematic manner?
  • Which level of interaction and communication is possible between the product and its surroundings?
  • How is the product or service interacting with its users?
  • Utilization of digital possibilities in existing processes?
  • To which degree are business models being used which can only be realized with digital means?

When information is collected over time and at real time, it can be analyzed and used to control processes in a dynamic way. It becomes possible to learn of things that happened in the past and that are happening right now, at the same time it's possible to plan ahead and predict future developments. With this knowledge, one can run and improve processes in a pro-active and continuous manner. All this results in improved products and services, new solutions and a more effective value chain.

It is here where the revolutionary possibilities are - dynamic processes, services and products that are continuously adapting to a changing changing environment.

This is the English version of the article Industri 4.0 - fra Informasjon til Kunnskap published on næringslivnorge.no

Synergiebündelung zum Thema Industrie 4.0 und IoT​

Bochum/ Weingarten, November 2016
Wie gut die Zusammenarbeit klappt, haben Computerkomplett ASCAD und nexiles bereits mehrfach unter Beweis gestellt. Bislang traf man sich überwiegend in Projekten, in denen ComputerKomplett ASCAD den kleineren Partner nexiles zur ressourcenmäßigen und technologischen Unterstützung eingebunden hat.

„Dabei klappt die Zusammenarbeit im Team so reibungslos, als würde es sich um eine einzige Firma handeln“, bestätigt Achim Krause, Leiter Consulting PTC, ASCAD. Zur Schaffung und Nutzung weiterer Synergien wurde diese Kooperation nun mit einem Distributorenvertrag für die PTC Produkte und einem Joint Venture rund um die Themen IoT und Industrie 4.0 ausgebaut.

„In ComputerKomplett ASCAD haben wir einen Partner gefunden, der uns akzeptiert und schätzt wie wir sind. So können wir uns weiter auf unsere Kernkompetenz fokussieren und unseren Spieltrieb in Bezug auf praktische Anwendungen neuer Technologien weiter ausbauen. Gleichzeitig ist die Kooperation für uns aber auch wie ein Wachstumsschub. Wir erweitern damit nicht nur unser Portfolio, sondern haben jetzt einen starken Partner an der Seite, der unseren Kunden ein Gefühl der Sicherheit gibt und dabei hilft, am Markt besser wahr- und ernst genommen zu werden“, begeistert sich Günter Häußner, Gesellschafter-Geschäftsführer, nexiles.

„In ähnlicher Weise gilt dies auch für uns“, sagt Achim Krause. „Wir haben mit nexiles nicht nur einen neuen Standort in Süddeutschland gewonnen, sondern viel wichtiger noch einen erfahrenen und innovativen Technologiepartner. Um im Umfeld von Industrie 4.0 und IoT (Internet of Things) erfolgreich zu sein, genügt es nicht als Vertriebspartner nur die Technologie zu verkaufen und einzuführen. Vielmehr braucht man smarte Ideen und ein fundiertes Erfahrungswissen, um diese erfolgreich umzusetzen.

Hier arbeiten wir zukünftig sehr eng mit der nexiles zusammen, die als ThingWorx Integration Partner eine zusätzliche Komponente in die Partner-schaft mitbringen.“ Als nächster Meilenstein werden die Lösungs-Suiten der beiden Firmen (Profiplus und nexiles.elements) miteinander integriert und zukünftig gemeinsam weiterentwickelt. Eine erste Version wird bereits ab Januar 2017 zur Verfügung stehen.

nexiles GmbH

nexiles GmbH hat Standorte in Deutschland (Weingarten) und Norwegen (Sandvika) und ist registrierter PTC Software Partner und Microsoft Partner. An beiden Standorten werden Lösungen entworfen, entwickelt und an Kunden weltweit geliefert.

Weitere Informationen unter: www.nexiles.de



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nexiles GmbH
Günter Häußner
Birkenweg 12/3, 88250 Weingarten
Telefon: +49 751 270 856-50
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ComputerKomplett ASCAD GmbH

ComputerKomplett ASCAD bietet als PTC Platinum Partner individuelle Lösungskonzepte für effektive CAD-Anwendungen, transparentes Produktdatenmanagement und intelligente PLM-Integrationen für mittelständische Fertigungsunternehmen an. Branchenübergreifend nutzen mehr als 1800 Kunden die Möglichkeit, Produkte über den gesamten Lebenszyklus zu managen. Über 150 Mitarbeiter realisieren an 9 Standorten durchgängige Lösungen zur Prozessoptimierung mit PLM und IT. Der Umsatz 2015 betrug 30 Mio. €.

Weitere Informationen unter: www.computerkomplett.de



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ComputerKomplett
Michael Mannek
Harpener Heide 7, 44805 Bochum
Telefon: +49 234 9594-0
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Internet of Things - Showcase

 

By now, we have a working setup for our Internet of Things showcase. It features a fischertechnik crane model that is connected to Microsoft Azure and a dashboard for visualization. The Azure back-end takes care of device management, message stream analysis (fishing out the critical alerts), data persistence, as well as data access and visualization.

We have registered 4 Offshore cranes in the showcase. Their individual and current position is retrieved in real-time from the ship's AIS information. Also, pictures and other information about the vessels is retrieved from the same system. Each registered vessel is shown on a world-map - a click on a vessel shows a picture and provides direct access to the Design data of the mounted crane as well as links to its 3D visualization and possibilities to see pending Changes and to create new Problem reports on a specific crane.

The showcase demonstrates how an actual device/crane sends its telemetry data to the Remote Monitoring solution. The solution recognizes critical conditions and issues warnings and alerts. The connected crane can also receive messages from the solution - in the showcase it's possible to order the crane into its parking position and to turn on/off the floodlights.

With this showcase we wanted to create a real-life example illustrating the idea of Internet-of-Things. Again, instead of following and spreading buzzwords, we want to do real stuff and see things in action.
For more information, please do not hesitate to contact us. Let's arrange a demo or phone call to see how we can approach your plans together...

New update on the current IoT project

As promised in the previous article, we keep you updated with the development of our latest IoT hands-on project.

The crane-model is fully functional and is logging its telemetry data to the IoT solution. Based on event patterns, alerts are raised in the dashboard. The crane can also be controlled from the IoT solution (e.g. the floodlights can be put on/off, and the crane can be ordered to be set into its initial parking position).

 

Building the THING of our IOT Project

Here's a fist glimpse of the not-yet finished THING of our ongoing Internet of Things project. There's a lot of talk going on out there - we got tired of just reading the buzzwords and are developing real things instead. Our principle is to really understand concepts and technologies to be able to provide our customers with best advice and proven solutions.

What is it?

It's a model of an offshore crane with a King, Main- and a Knuckle-Jib. Until now, it's capable of the following:

  • Rotate the whole crane 360 degrees.
  • Move Main-Jib up and down.
  • Move Knuckle-Jib up and down.
  • Move the wire up and down using the installed winch.

The model is built with Fischertechnik components and is connected to a control-PC using 2 Fischertechnik Intelligent Interfaces. In total we have 8 Directional Outputs, 4 Analogue Inputs, and 16 Digital Inputs. The control system is written in C# and log messages are sent to and retrieved from a connected Microsoft Azure IoT Hub.

How is it controlled?

Right now, the cranes' movements are manually controlled with a joystick allowing control of all 4 motors and their 8 directions. This joystick has 4 directions on two levels.

In the future, there will be step-counters and parking-position sensors for all moving elements. Then it will be possible to determine the position of the crane elements at any time. We will then also be able to control the actual movements in more detail using advanced code from an application running on a connected PC.

How is the THING becoming part of the "Internet of ..."?

We will connect the control system with Microsoft Azure IoT Hub and actively log all movements and conditions in short intervals. The positioning of the crane will then be monitored on a dashboard. The dashboard will also allow users to send messages to the crane to move its elements to new positions.

Stay tuned for more updates coming up on this blog...

nexiles bedeutet verbunden oder verknüpft. Wir arbeiten eng mit unseren Kunden zusammen, und bieten ganzheitliche Hilfe zur Verbesserung ihrer individuellen Wertschöpfungsprozesse an.

Die nexiles GmbH hat ihren Standort in Weingarten, Deutschland und ist registrierter PTC Software Partner und Microsoft Partner. Hier werden Lösungen entworfen, entwickelt und an Kunden weltweit geliefert.