Press release - January 20, 2022

New CONTACT Elements for IoT release optimizes production control


CONTACT's IoT platform enables manufacturers to offer smart services and digitize their production assets. Now, the software provider has released a new version of Elements for IoT that gives companies even more value-added potential on the shopfloor.


The previous CONTACT Elements for IoT versions already deliver many apps and functions that the machinery and plant engineering, mobility and related industries can use profitably. They support the digitization of products and services as well as Industry 4.0 applications that optimize asset management through end-to-end data-driven processes. With the current release, CONTACT Software is once again significantly expanding the performance range of its IoT platform, among other things with the new Shopfloor Navigator.

"This solution visualizes shift performance through real-time KPIs, automates event reports and greatly reduces the workload on the shopfloor," says Dr. Jan Kickstein, deputy head of development at CONTACT Software. "Most of all, companies can view the status of their production live at any time and from anywhere in the world."

Kickstein's IoT team contributes even more innovations that help customers sustainably increase their operational excellence. All in all, the new CONTACT Elements for IoT release enables more flexible manufacturing processes up to batch size 1, accelerated throughput times, increased process quality and significant cost savings.

Production always in view

The Shopfloor Navigator provides shift supervisors, plant managers and the head of production with the right information. In each shift, the software can be used to calculate the defined KPIs, execute production processes, analyze the reasons for downtimes and scrap - and log all relevant data for a smooth shift handover.

The Shopfloor Navigator simplifies machine assignment and personnel planning, provides plant staff with the necessary work documents, visualizes key business figures such as good/bad parts or throughput times in real time and reflects them back into the company IT. The solution's dashboards can be used flexibly according to information requirements: Productivity evaluations are possible for a single machine or shift, the complete workday as well as over a longer period.

Flexible machine connectivity

With MQTT and OPC UA, CONTACT serves two leading industry standards for machine connectivity with IoT platforms. If required, the software vendor implements further connectors for data exchange with field devices. The new Elements for IoT device profiles also provide flexibility for machine connectivity. They define how information arriving at a connector should be interpreted for a specific asset or group of assets. Through this translation, device profiles build a bridge between the internal and external data processing models.

Efficient service planning

The IoT release also offers valuable additions for asset maintenance through new scheduling and usage rules. In critical situations, data-driven ad hoc service has been possible for some time. With the scheduling rules, fixed maintenance intervals can now be easily planned.

Those responsible generate recurring service cases by clicking on the desired period and can also define how to proceed for dates that do not fall on a working day. With the service calendar, CONTACT provides a new widget for the intuitive display of long-term maintenance planning.

Companies can also plan service cases according to operating time, for example, by defining the following usage rules for a machine: minor maintenance is due at the latest after 500 machine hours or after one month without maintenance, major maintenance at the latest after one year. Since different criteria can be combined that trigger service cases and are mutually dependent, even complex maintenance structures can be easily mapped.

Global multi-site support

Also new is the multi-site mode, which links multiple IoT instances hierarchically: Templates and processes are defined in the administrative Elements for IoT instance and distributed to the operational instances (usually one per plant). All operational instances are run close to the machines to achieve low on-site latency.

CONTACT's platform replicates the locally collected information and compiled results and merges them with the data from the other plants in the administrative IoT instance. This architecture enables global analysis across all sites while ensuring high system performance. Even if the connection to the central instance is lost, each plant can continue to work with its operational instance.

A well-known automotive supplier is currently rolling out the new IoT release in its plants. By the end of 2022, a total of 10 production sites worldwide will be using CONTACT Elements for IoT for digital shopfloor management.


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Barbara Scholvin
Senior Manager Public Relations & Corporate Communications
 

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