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SAP on Google Cloud

Automate plant maintenance using MDE with ABAP SDK for Google Cloud

October 31, 2023
Manas Srivastava

SAP Customer Engineer, Google Cloud

Devesh Singh

SAP Application Engineer, Google Cloud

Many Google Cloud customers run multiple manufacturing facilities and are constantly looking at ways to reduce costs and improve efficiency by proactively maintaining their machines and reducing production downtime.

Until now, monitoring and maintaining shop floor assets was mostly a manual, reactive, and cumbersome process. Google Cloud can help with its portfolio of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) capabilities. Today, sensors collect operational data from machines and stream It to Google Cloud. Once data is ingested in Google Cloud, customers can use machine learning or statistical calculations to identify patterns and predict and solve maintenance issues even before they happen. This solution pattern is known as predictive maintenance. Plant managers can now leverage technical solutions based on predictive maintenance to detect anomalies in any machine or equipment before it breaks down. Predictive maintenance also allows plant managers to schedule maintenance when it is convenient and not during actual production hours, thus saving a lot of time and cost.

Analyzing production data at scale for huge datasets is always a challenge, especially when there’s data from multiple production facilities involved with thousands of assets in production pipelines. To help solve this challenge, our Manufacturing Data Engine is designed to help manufacturers manage end-to-end shop floor business processes.

Manufacturing Data Engine

Manufacturing Data Engine (MDE) is a scalable solution that accelerates, simplifies, and enhances the ingestion, processing, contextualization, storage, and usage of manufacturing data for monitoring, analytical, and machine learning use cases. This suite of components can help manufacturers accelerate their transformation with Google Cloud’s analytics and AI capabilities.


The architecture above includes:

  • Manufacturing Connect, a factory connectivity product that supports edge workloads and integrates devices with Google Cloud. It has an extensive library of 250+ machine protocols that can quickly connect with nearly any manufacturing asset.
  • Manufacturing Data Engine, which processes, contextualizes, and stores factory data. With built-in data normalization and context-enrichment capabilities, it provides a common data model, with a factory-optimized data lakehouse for storage.
  • Customizable predefined analytics that provide customizable dashboards and ‘metamodels’ for business insights and self-service analytics.
  • AI-Driven Operations Optimization, a portfolio of AI use cases that unlock value at scale and integrate with Google Cloud tools such as Vertex AI.

SAP for manufacturing customers

SAP,a leading enterprise resource planning (ERP) software vendor, and Google Cloud have been partners for many years, helping customers transform their businesses leveraging Google’s services like BigQuery, Vertex AI, Cloud Pub/Sub, etc., across business domains. In the manufacturing space, SAP offers SAP Plant Maintenance to help industrial companies manage maintenance activities such as equipment inspection, notifications, corrective and preventive maintenance, and repairs.

ABAP SDK for Google Cloud

ABAP SDK for Google Cloud provides bi-directional, real-time integration between SAP and Google Cloud services. SAP developers can use the ABAP SDK for Google Cloud to integrate their SAP applications with Google Cloud services such as Vertex AI, Document AI, Translation AI, Pub/Sub, and more. With the ABAP SDK, customers can accelerate their digital transformation and achieve business goals faster.


Combining the best of both solutions

Manufacturing customers whose Plant Maintenance business processes are on SAP can implement predictive maintenance for their shop floor assets by combining capabilities of Google Cloud’s MDE and ABAP SDK for Google Cloud. Let’s take an example of a car manufacturer who uses sandblasting machines to clean metal parts before sending them out for a paint job and assembly. Imagine the car manufacturer wants to monitor the health of the motor in the blasting machine for any anomalies that may lead to assembly line disruptions:

  • MDE can receive a stream of sensor data in the form of shaft vibrations from the vibration sensors mounted on the motor, and MDE can have a machine learning model to detect any anomaly in the pattern of the vibration stream.
  • If an anomaly is detected by the ML model, an event is triggered in MDE and a notification with equipment information is published to a Cloud Pub/Sub topic.
  • An SAP automation program can run in the background at a regular interval and use ABAP SDK for Google Cloud to pull in the equipment information from Cloud Pub/Sub natively and create a Plant Maintenance Order in SAP.
  • An SAP business user starts working on the order. ABAP logic can be written to leverage the ABAP SDK for Google Cloud to publish the current order status to another Cloud Pub/Sub topic. This topic can then be used to source information to a BigQuery dataset.
  • A dashboard can be designed based on the BigQuery dataset for the plant managers which can be used to track metrics like:
    • the status of the maintenance orders in real time
    • visibility into delayed orders
    • total delays for a month

Conclusion and value prospects

By integrating manufacturing data into enterprise software like SAP, a customer can gain unprecedented visibility into their shop floor operations and can:

  • Reduce downtime by planning and optimizing maintenance schedules, which can cost companies around 11% of their yearly turnover otherwise (Link)
  • Avoid catastrophic failures that otherwise could result in assembly line disruptions and expensive repairs
  • Achieve efficient cycle times in their production lines

MDE gives you the opportunity to streamline and gather your shop floor data efficiently, while ABAP SDK for Google Cloud opens up the possibilities to bring in manufacturing insights to your SAP systems. Customers can follow a similar solution pattern to utilize other Google Cloud solutions and services natively in their SAP systems and ABAP SDK for Google Cloud can enable the integration. Also, partners can convert these integration patterns into packaged solutions using the SDK.

Learn more and start your journey today with Google Cloud’s Manufacturing Data Engine and ABAP SDK for Google Cloud.

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