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New digital platform connects machines for better efficiency

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article image ThyssenKrupp Engineering

ThyssenKrupp Engineering announces a breakthrough in digital transformation with the release of a new IIoT platform that connects machines of the materials division, allowing better process planning and coordination.

The new digital platform allows all machines to communicate with each other and also forecasts the necessity of machine services in the future. Named toii (IIoT or Industrial Internet of Things spelled backwards) and pronounced ‘toy’, the platform was developed completely in-house by ThyssenKrupp’s software engineering experts and tailored to the specific requirements of the Materials Services division.

One common platform

The machinery belonging to the Materials Services business area, which focuses on global materials distribution and processing services, is highly diverse, not only performing a wide range of tasks but also made by various manufacturers. Now toii makes it possible to connect bandsaws and bending machines, mobile objects such as cranes and forklifts, and even complex production facilities such as slitting and cut to length lines and sophisticated processing solutions through milling machines and laser systems, digitally in line with the Industrial Internet of Things.

Being connected on a common digital platform, the machines can share data and communicate with one another and with the IT systems; processes can be planned and coordinated optimally and flexibly across locations worldwide; and data analysis can be simplified with the system gathering and analysing data, and providing results in a clearly structured and easy to understand format.

Hans-Josef Hoß from the board of ThyssenKrupp Materials Services explains that toii is an end-to-end solution tailored specifically to their needs, which will enable them to accelerate the automation of their production operations and make the processes much more efficient. He adds that the new platform enables them to take digital transformation to the core areas of their business encompassing production shops, machinery and materials, ultimately benefitting their customers and the company.

Close teamwork of man and machine

The new digital platform, toii has already successfully proven its worth in several pilot projects. For example, at Materials Processing Europe in Mannheim, a new, highly complex cut to length line that cuts sheet from coil was fully connected with the platform. Thanks to toii, work orders are transferred directly and in real time from the SAP system to the machine with the platform also controlling its settings from sizes and weights to volumes. The platform also automatically retrieves the machine information required by SAP, allowing the status of production and finished products to be viewed at any time. Several machines have also already been digitally connected and automated using toii. In other areas, from high-bay storage to mobile construction machinery, toii is improving efficiency as well.

The digital platform was developed by an international Materials Services team of IT professionals from Germany, India and the USA in a collaborative effort. The in-house development is highly scalable and can integrate up to several hundred machines a year. Alongside various projects in Germany, there are already plans to deploy the system in the UK and the USA. Data is currently hosted on a central server in Germany; however, to ensure compliance with data protection law requirements, local servers will also be created in the UK and USA as part of future roll-outs.

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