Cloud Computing - Keeping ahead of errors

Complex adaptive systems recognize procedures, learn independently and can be integrated into existing systems.

Cloud solutions can be used to connect customers and suppliers
Cloud solutions can be used to connect customers and suppliers
Cloud solutions can be used to connect customers and suppliers

Plants, products and systems that detect faults, maintain themselves and adapt to new situations are key in Industry 4.0. The modular 4.0 factory is networked, and decentralized knowledge is available beyond the individual production centers. Adaptive systems recognize procedures, learn, adapt and eliminate future errors. The vision of an adaptive production system is paramount. Standardized subsystems and an equally standardized software structure are designed to help processes adapt independently to new conditions in the future. Ultimately, it is a matter of eliminating errors before they become a reality.

New dimensions: plug and produce – plug and play

Flexibility, adaptability and the ability to perform self-maintenance are an integral part of the 4.0 factory. Wide-ranging sensor technology ensures monitoring of processes, products and the environment. The actual situation is mapped exactly in a digital shadow. This virtual representation of reality can be used to identify changes in processes and products. In a second phase, the impact of these changes is simulated, and new, fault-free processes are approved and turned into reality.

The 4.0 factory also calls for self-configuring machines. The key words here being "plug and produce." The machines have chips that they use to communicate with other components in production. Printers and keyboards that configure themselves independently operate in a similar way. However, this is then "plug and play" rather than "plug and produce." All these processes save time – companies can convert their production faster and also, for example, produce smaller volumes.

Intelligence is in the cloud

Far from being simple, the solutions mentioned here are highly complex. They can only function if access to a cloud is available. The cloud offers precisely the functions that support the adaptivity described above. It is not the individual systems that make the machines in the 4.0 factory intelligent. Part of the intelligence is transferred to the component, i.e. the drive, the sensor... The ability to plug and produce and a large proportion of the overarching intelligence is in the cloud. Only now is it possible for each system to log in here to share this intelligence and use the software services offered by the cloud. Fast and adaptive changes to systems and processes are now a reality.

You must differentiate between the private cloud that is used by machines and plants to store, structure, and interpret data, as well as to optimize the process based on the results. But furthermore, the private cloud is used to save design data, so that the subsequent production can access the data in form of a digital twin of the product, and so that assembly aids can be easily displayed to the employee via augmented reality.

Only by these means can end-to-end solutions be obtained without data loss. The control of the cyber-physical production system is also performed here. The CPS collects data from various process steps and provides the Director of value creation with important decision-making aids.

The second type is a public cloud. It is used to share information beyond the individual factories. This cloud can be used by customers and suppliers to access and call up data, and to enter orders. The public cloud is close to real time, but not to the extent of the private cloud. In addition, various security functions are included between the two clouds, so that the sensitive data in the private cloud is protected.

SEW‑EURODRIVE also offers computing services (servers, storage, data bases, network components, software, analysis options, and much more) via a cloud.

The SEW‑EURODRIVE cloud system comprises the following 3 services:

  • Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS): here, we provide all basic infrastructural services, such as servers, storage, network, and virtualization.
  • Platform as a Service (PaaS): based on IaaS, additional platform functionalities are provided, such as data bases, development environments, runtime environments, etc.
  • Software as a Service (SaaS): here, software applications are provided as services

Here, SEW-EURODRIVE offers ab own platform (public cloud) as a service to the customers (SEW-EURODRIVE platform as a Service). In the private cloud the data is hosted in the SEW‑EURODRIVE data center, secured by several firewalls, of course.

SaaS services by SEW‑EURODRIVE are for example the product configurator, the project planning/simulation, SEW apps, application software, and tools for predictive analytics.

Benefits of the SEW-EURODRIVE cloud solution

  • quick implementation - register and use - operation within just a few days
  • no investment costs - monthly fee - ne licensing costs - low integration costs
  • immediate scalability - user costs adjusted to requirements
  • no maintenance and upgrade necessary - installing patches and upgrades not necessary
  • location-independent access - applications are designed for secure, location-independent, and device-independent access
  • More security - Data is securely saved in the cloud

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