scitis.io: welding agile tech to heavy industry with Google Cloud Platform

About scitis.io

scitis.io is a new independent digital platform for industrial machine tooling. By collecting and storing performance data from machines in real time, scitis.io can precisely track the lifecycle of a product throughout the industrial process and provide detailed analytics that optimise production and minimise waste. Read more about scitis.io at www.scitis.io

Industries: Manufacturing
Location: Germany

About SOTEC

Founded in 1980 as a developer of industrial micro-computing solutions, SOTEC creates software solutions and specialized electronic components for manufacturing and retail. A Google Cloud IoT Core Partner, SOTEC has 60 employees based in Ostelsheim, Germany and Sibiu, Romania. More about SOTEC at www.sotec.eu

Using Google Cloud Platform tools, scitis.io brings together data from the entire lifecycle of industrial products, creating a pan-industrial platform that breaks through the limitations of proprietary technology.

Google Cloud Platform Results

  • Collects and analyses terabytes of manufacturing data in real time with Google BigQuery
  • Enables rapid deployment and trouble-free implementation with autoscaling on Google App Engine
  • Shares and compares information across globally dispersed companies and varied machinery on the cloud

Founded in 1452, Achenbach Buschhütten Group has produced high quality metals for more than five centuries. By embracing new techniques and technologies, the company has outlasted its competitors and now produces aluminium rolling machinery for everything from coffee cartridges to drinks cans and the batteries for electric cars.

“Our industry involves a lot of mechanics and a lot of automation,” explains André Barten, CEO of Achenbach. “And like products in many industries, aluminium passes through machines at several companies, in several locations, on its way from being molten aluminium to becoming the finished product. That means manufacturing data is decentralised, and it’s why we decided to create a way to pool data and use it to optimise productivity, quality and efficiency.”

Achenbach engineers discussed the issue with manufacturing software experts at SOTEC, whose CloudPlug technology was already able to stream data from the digital controllers on machinery (PLCs) to the cloud. As one of the earliest Google Cloud partners in the DACH region, SOTEC knew that Google Cloud Platform tools would be able to collect and analyse the dispersed data in real-time, cost-effectively and at scale.

With Google BigQuery and Google App Engine, scitis.io gives traditional industries an unprecedented overview and insights into individual machines throughout the entire production process

“We're really bringing IoT to heavy industry, not just talking about what might be possible. Today, scitis.io is in place, connected, and delivering at scale. We’ve done it by taking the same cloud technology that’s energising other industries and applying it to the historic, classical economy, bringing traditional industry into a Google world.”

André Barten, CEO, Achenbach Buschhütten

Rapidly, both SOTEC and Achenbach recognised the potential of their project for optimising almost any industrial and manufacturing process. From their collaboration, scitis.io was born: an independent digital platform to collect, connect and analyse live data from industrial machinery.

“The machines scitis.io connects to can be 100 years old, and the PLCs (programmable logic controllers) that operate them only have to be renewed every 10 to 15 years. If a factory were to choose a proprietary system to stream data, they would be compelled to buy a new, proprietary PLC, which might cost close to $1 million," says André Barten, CEO at Achenbach Buschhütten. "Thanks to Google Cloud Platform, scitis.io delivers connectivity without the need to replace PLCs or other equipment, so the overall cost is peanuts in comparison.”

Big data from heavy machinery

In manufacturing and heavy industry, the production process from raw materials to finished product is very data heavy, as Florian Holz, Co-founder of SOTEC and scitis.io, explains: “In the past you were never able to compare or analyse live data between plants or to create a full history of data due to capacity limits on local computers. Cloud enables that, so we can have all data centrally without dialing in or sending hard drives around the world.”

With CloudPlug, SOTEC had already developed a system to draw information from PLCs and deliver it to the cloud. The next step for scitis.io was to leverage that data and make it available for analysis.

To do that, scitis.io is built on Google App Engine and uses Google BigQuery to store, parse and interrogate data. To present that information, scitis.io uses Tableau run on Google Compute Engine instances. Because these Google Cloud Platform tools can be scaled up and down at speed, scitis.io customers can deploy the solution to new mills without enlisting additional help from technicians or fiddling with hardware. Unusually within heavy industry, that also means customers can use the system on a trial basis without being tied into a commitment.

“In my view, Google BigQuery is the only data warehouse as a service available today. It’s highly scalable and really tackles the core industrial problem of how to collect data and have it to hand," says Florian. "We can assess trends and behaviour of thousands of machines at once, and it only takes a couple of seconds to crunch a terabyte of data. That’s revolutionary for heavy industry, which typically thinks in terms of megabytes and individual machines.”

“The SOTEC CloudPlug technology connects industrial machines to the cloud, and Google Cloud Platform was the obvious choice of provider due to its data handling capacity, big data stack and scaling. The single most important driver for our choice was autoscaling on Google App Engine – nothing else comes close.”

Florian Holz, Co-founder, scitis.io

Sharing across companies with the cloud

With Achenbach, scitis.io went from proof of concept to full first release in 20 months. For Achenbach, each PLC uses CloudPlug to deliver data on speed, thickness, flatness, breakages and waste in the aluminium rolling process. That data enables the company to assess the effectiveness of different work shifts or diagnose faulty equipment and order spare parts with minimal disruption to production. Where previously it was only possible to look at data from the last three months from a single machine, now Achenbach can take live and historical data from its 300 mills worldwide to analyse macro trends in minute detail.

Because of Google’s open tools, Achenbach can also look at data from machinery from other companies involved in the process, such as those operating furnaces and grinding machines. “With scitis.io we can go beyond Achenbach machinery,” explains André. “Because now we can look at the machines in the process before and after our devices and really see the whole supply chain.”

“Neither scitis.io or Google Cloud Platform are tied to proprietary technology in heavy industry, so we can work with any PLC and we don’t have to defend our legacy on the ground," says André. "Meanwhile leveraging Google’s technology and scalability means we can set up a solution very quickly. That all keeps costs down, because our upfront investment is low, investment in new machinery is kept to a minimum, and we don't have to defend multimillion dollar investments into automation.”

Teaching old machines new tricks with Cloud IoT Core

SOTEC is a Google Cloud IoT Core partner, with access to the private beta version of Google’s new managed service to easily and securely connect, manage, and ingest data from globally dispersed devices. Integrating Cloud IoT Core with the scitis.io solution is a natural next step, as is applying Google Cloud AI to the expansive datasets collected from new partnerships. Meanwhile scitis.io continues to build new associations with new clients, convincing them that Google Cloud Platform’s ISO/IEC 27017 compliant data centers will deliver the security they demand.

“When companies ask about the safety and security of using the cloud, we tell them that, firstly, only cloud can produce this performance and scale so rapidly to their needs, and secondly, all communications are one-way, so information is very safe. Third, Google’s cloud professionals are far better equipped to handle security than staff at small workshops dispersed around the world," says André. "Taken together, it’s clear that their data is safer with Google Cloud Platform.”

About scitis.io

scitis.io is a new independent digital platform for industrial machine tooling. By collecting and storing performance data from machines in real time, scitis.io can precisely track the lifecycle of a product throughout the industrial process and provide detailed analytics that optimise production and minimise waste. Read more about scitis.io at www.scitis.io

Industries: Manufacturing
Location: Germany

About SOTEC

Founded in 1980 as a developer of industrial micro-computing solutions, SOTEC creates software solutions and specialized electronic components for manufacturing and retail. A Google Cloud IoT Core Partner, SOTEC has 60 employees based in Ostelsheim, Germany and Sibiu, Romania. More about SOTEC at www.sotec.eu

12 Months FREE TRIAL

Try Container Engine, BigQuery, and other Cloud Platform products with $300 in free credit and 12 months.

TRY IT FREE

12 Months FREE TRIAL

Try Container Engine, BigQuery, and other Cloud Platform products with $300 in free credit and 12 months.

TRY IT FREE

Monitor your resources on the go

Get the Google Cloud Console app to help you manage your projects.