A plant that is able to maximize cost advantages by adjusting its production output to current resource prices without human intervention is just one of the advantages offered by digitalization in production, also called Industrie 4.0. To enable this development, the large volumes of data generated during the production process must be collected, saved, and analyzed in real time and turned into information – so that big data becomes smart data. This in turn allows for a whole new dimension of services that contribute to improved asset management and energy efficiency through data analysis and simulation.
MindSphere – Siemens Cloud for Industry
Digitalization is playing an increasingly important role in the manufacturing industry. This process generates enormous volumes of data that need to be recorded and analyzed. The platform MindSphere – Siemens Cloud for Industry provides added value for the customer through its openness and versatility.
Open IT ecosystem
The foundation for these services is a reliable cloud infrastructure, such as the one Siemens has developed with its MindSphere – Siemens Cloud for Industry. This open IT ecosystem is based on the SAP HANA cloud platform, an open platform that customers and developers can use to develop, extend, and operate applications in the cloud. OEMs and application developers can access the platform via open interfaces and use it for their own services and analyses – for instance, for the online monitoring of globally distributed machine tools, industrial robots, or industrial equipment such as compressors and pumps. Using MindSphere – Siemens Cloud for Industry, customers are also able to create digital models of their plants with real data from the production process. This allows them to synchronize the model and the plant, enabling them to carry out simulations and optimize business processes. In the future, users will also be able to develop their own web services with MindSphere – Siemens Cloud for Industry, which can also serve as a basis for digital services such as predictive maintenance, energy data management, or resource optimization, for example.
High connectivity and security
The new Connector Box, a Simatic IPC–based cloud gateway, makes it possible to easily and securely collect machine and plant data – such as data from PLCs or drive systems from Siemens and other manufacturers – and transmit them to the cloud. The cloud platform can be used by all customers, and even devices by third-party manufacturers can be integrated into the system. In the future, these functions will also be integrated into the communication-capable products of the Siemens industrial portfolio.
Naturally, data security plays an important role in all online transmissions. Encrypted communication as well as the use of certified data centers for processing and storing the data ensure high security. Siemens uses the latest cybersecurity technologies.
“Three dimensions of openness”
“Our cloud platform is characterized by three dimensions of openness. This is, first, the OPC-based open interface. All Siemens products, such as controls, converters, HMI systems, and SCADA systems, can be integrated on this basis. However, non-Siemens products can also be connected using this technology, as they are standardized and disclosed via OPC. This means that other partners and even competitors can link up with the Siemens cloud platform. Second, the customer is free to choose where to store the data, whether in a public or a private cloud, or an on-site cloud solution for those customers who prefer to maintain their own cloud infrastructure. And third, we offer an open application framework. Currently, Siemens and SAP applications can be created with it. In the future, the platform will be opened up completely so that customers can also create their own individual applications.”
Cloud-based services of Siemens
Podcast with Dr. Ralf Michael Wagner
Vice President for Plant Data Services, Siemens AG