GEA is one of the largest machine builders for the food, beverage and pharmaceutical industries. Since its foundation in 1881, GEA has grown to a company that employs more than 18,000 people in five divisions and 62 countries. For some years now, the networking of machines and plants, and thus the use of cloud-based IoT, has been playing an increasingly important role in companies. To remain competitive and fully exploit the technological advantage of its products, it is necessary to constantly improve the sustainability and efficiency of production processes and prevent unplanned downtime. When rolling out an IoT solution globally, it is important that the solution can be easily installed on all existing and new machines without provoking time-consuming and costly downtime. The solution requirements thus call for an IoT gateway that is flexible, cost-effective to deploy and easy to get up and running. In addition, integration with existing cloud and IoT platforms must work smoothly. Codestryke was able to provide GEA with a solution that met all of these requirements.
With its own middleware – VergeLink – codestryke offers a basis for IoT-based business models in which VergeLink can be used to acquire IoT data, pre-process it in a value-added manner and make it available to the cloud. VergeLink enables simple, secure and scalable collection, pre-processing and delivery of data from controllers and field devices. Pre-analysis of even high-frequency, granular data makes it intuitive and easy to deliver key KPIs and alarms to the target system without prior knowledge. For subsequent installations of VergeLink on existing devices, the software is installed on an existing IPC or gateway using Docker. Using the built-in device wizard, a wide range of devices can be installed in three easy steps.
The network is automatically scanned for available devices, with manufacturer and model also automatically detected. Due to the large selection of presets in the Data Model Repository, the setup of the connected devices works in record time. Integrations with the engineering tools (e.g. TIA Portal) help to connect even PLCs in just a few minutes. In the final step, data can then be integrated natively into all relevant cloud platforms with the help of numerous templates.
GEA’s challenge was met with the help of codestryke. New machines are equipped with the VergeLink Box and for existing machines the software is installed over-the-air on the IPCs. This enables GEA to offer a new business model (GEA PerformancePlus). VergeLink, through the over-the-air system, enables not only the installation, but also extensions and changes to the data configurations and edge functions of existing devices remotely. By utilizing existing hardware and eliminating the need for travel, GEA was able to save an amount in the upper six-figure range. In this way, GEA gets the maximum added value from the IoT data and the customer quickly achieves the desired ROI!
Remote connection without downtime
With VergeLink, machines can be connected to the cloud from a central location – with no on-site deployment and no downtime.
VergeLink’s intuitive and centralized configuration enabled data from 150 machines worldwide to be made available to PerformancePlus in a matter of weeks.
Optimized maintenance offer
The targeted and precise analysis of high-frequency vibration data can minimize the maintenance frequency of GEA separators. This saves time, nerves and above all money.