The initial situation: The piece of paper is replaced by several software solutions
A few years ago, Hywax still relied on manual data entry in its production using simple slips of paper: A production employee personally collected the printed order data from the ERP system from the responsible employee. The employee then had to enter the data on the machine’s user interface and start the production order manually. In addition to the high expenditure of time, there was always the risk of transmission errors.
In search of new ways to automate and digitize their business, Hywax came across the system integrator ZewaTec Automation. ZewaTec Automation had the task of replacing the paper slip and connecting the data from two Siemens systems and a Yokogawa control system with the ERP system SAP. The goal was to achieve an automated data transfer. To implement this task, ZewaTec Automation integrated many different partial solutions that together transferred the data from the SAP system to the machine. However, this solution entailed a lot of programming effort. Around 20,000 lines of code had to be written by the ZewaTec Automation experts to put Hywax’s requirements into practice.
The OPC Router – an Industrie 4.0 middleware that makes more possible
In the long run, the solution with many different software components was not optimal for Hywax and ZewaTec Automation. The interaction of the different partial solutions not only proved to be cost-intensive due to the many standard software licenses required. In addition, data transfer repeatedly stalled as soon as one software solution stopped working or was even switched off. In their search for an optimization of their digitization strategy, ZewaTec Automation turned to the OPC Router, which they had already been using in other projects for many years. It quickly became clear that OPC Router could meet ZewaTec Automation’s requirements while being able to replace the various existing heterogeneous software solutions and integrate them into one software platform. Together with the simplicity, flexibility and low-code programming, the use of the OPC Router was a done deal.
We implemented the setup of the OPC Router ourselves as far as possible. When we needed support, the OPC Router team was there immediately.
René Ries, CEO ZewaTec Automation GmbH
The OPC Router setup quickly led to success. On the user interface, the connections could be established via drag & drop and the systems coupled with each other. The data transfer from the SAP system to the Siemens and Yokogawa machines was thus quickly established and reliably guaranteed. The OPC Router was able to replace over 90% of the programming with its graphical connections. However, this was not the only task of the OPC Router. Thanks to its versatility, ZewaTec Automation was also able to develop an individual job control system for Hywax. Together with the OPC Router, this is tailored to Hywax’s needs and optimizes the processes. A production management platform could also be set up as a result, which has production-relevant data transferred from the OPC Router. This provides real-time production and efficiency control. The field of application of the OPC Router at Hywax covers a large portfolio and ranges from SAP systems, databases and e-mail distributors to various printers and scales at the field level.
The OPC Router acts as an open engine. It can flexibly implement what is needed.
René Ries, CEO ZewaTec Automation GmbH
The connectivity of the OPC Router enables ZewaTec Automation to build a digital system landscape at Hywax that also meets individual requirements. The additional individual and special requirements needed by ZewaTec Automation could be implemented with the help of the OPC Router. In case of questions or problems, the OPC Router experts were able to provide quick and competent support at any time.