A netFIELD Device IO-Link Wireless Master in an industrial environment.
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Industrial IoT

Our mission: we make your machine and process data accessible and useful so that they work for you!

Your machines and equipment are a treasure-trove of valuable data. By tapping into it and making use of your own data, you have a solid foundation for optimizing your processes, increasing system availability and machine efficiency. New service business models also become possible.
With Industrial IoT and Hilscher, you gain better insights into your systems’ operations. You’ll be equipped to make the right decisions and you’ll gain an economic edge based on those new insights.

You got questions? We got the answers! Your direct contact to us ->

Benefits of Industrial IoT

Create transparency

Create transparency in your production processes with IIoT solutions. Capture comprehensive machine data to form a digital twin and use it as a data hub for MES and ERP systems. The virtual replica is the basis for end-to-end ordering, optimization cycles and seamless documentation.

Numerous orange robots working on car chassis in an industrial production line. One robot is welding on a car creating a burst of sparks.

Increase efficiency

Increase the efficiency of your production with IIoT. Key performance indicators of your systems are used to simulate manufacturing alternatives for optimizing capacity utilization. Processes of decentralized production sites are harmonized and unnecessary downtimes between downstream processing steps and resulting high unit costs are avoided.

Reduce costs

IIoT makes it easier to reduce energy consumption and hit sustainability targets. Data analysis enables intelligent machine shutdown according to ISO 50001 and scheduled maintenance to conserve valuable resources. Thanks to IIoT you will be able to easily meet your net-zero target as one of the most significant challenges in the coming years.

A machine optically inspects a work piece amde out of metal. A glimmer of light comes out of the black machine head.

Improve quality

By analyzing quality metrics, you’ll be able to closely monitor the quality of your end products. This will enable you to respond quickly to any deviations from the specified requirements and to address any inconsistencies in your processes so that your customers receive the best possible product.

Goal: make the data work for you

The biggest challenges facing manufacturers when embarking on comprehensive end-to-end digitization are managing the enormous volumes of data and translating the raw data into real economic utility. Today, special emphasis is on edge computing of machine data at the network gateway to the IT world. Alternatively, cloud computing is also available. This, however, does not satisfy the need for high availability at low latency and processing times in the environment of the constantly growing amount of data to be processed.

PLC systems are not equipped to handle IIoT applications

Data processing programs for analysis and machine learning are usually based on high-level languages such as C# or .NET. Adapting such programs to run on conventional PLC systems is simply impossible due to their physical program size. Industrial edge computing adds CPU power and RAM to peripheral devices where standard PLCs are limited but IT technology needs to move closer to the manufacturing floor. This also includes the method of containerizing software. It makes applications portable and very easy to manage throughout their lifecycle, especially in the decentralized edge devices from a remote and centralized location. This is particularly relevant when device software needs to be kept up to date with the latest security patches, enabling updates to be deployed remotely and even via the Internet.

netFIELD makes Industrial Edge manageable

Under the netFIELD brand, Hilscher offers both the edge devices on which containerized applications can run and an accompanying platform for central management. The overall system makes Industrial Edge manageable. It’s always application agnostic and the selected data paths can also be freely determined. The Hilscher platform can even be used to transfer data worldwide or to another cloud in order to combine local and remote data processing.

Goal: centrally manage all machines and software scattered across the globe

For mid-sized machine builders, the wide geographic distribution of the machines they produce has always been a challenge. Service technicians often have to be deployed to the customers’ production facilities where the machines are in use to perform machine maintenance, troubleshooting or retrofitting jobs. Industrial IoT solutions offer new approaches to remote troubleshooting and maintenance. At the same time, however, there are new challenges associated with that. For example, the IIoT components supplied with the machines must also be monitored and maintained.

Different lifecycles of hardware and software

Unlike machine hardware, which is rarely modified once built and delivered, IIoT software solutions have a completely different lifecycle. New requirements can be quickly and flexibly met using software on existing hardware. However, software typically also requires frequent updates including security patches, new features, or new connections to third party systems. Changes to configurations are also often required with software solutions. There are therefore a number of new challenges facing machine builders who want to deliver Industrial IoT solutions with their machines.

How machine builders can meet these challenges

A fundamental question is how to keep IIoT software solutions up to date and how to monitor them to ensure they’re working properly. The answer is central device and application management.

  • First, a system is required that can remotely manage the edge devices running IIoT applications on site. It must be possible to monitor them remotely to ensure the edge devices are working properly and the resources are being used efficiently. Operating system updates must also be considered.
  • Second, the system must make it easy to reliably bring the software to the data. The machine builder must be able to control which software components run on each edge device, in which version, and in which configuration. Ideally, some kind of virtualization concept is adhered to, for example by means of software containers.
  • Third, the machine builder must be able to configure which IIoT data does not leave the machines, which data the machine builder wants to and is allowed to collect centrally, and which data can be used and therefore transmitted to downstream customer applications.

Manage distributed machines with netFIELD

With netFIELD, Hilscher offers a product family that helps machine builders manage Industrial IoT solutions efficiently and securely. netFIELD Cloud is a device and container management solution that enables remote management of edge devices, installation and updating of software containers, and precise control of IIoT data streams. With the netFIELD Edge Gateway series, we also offer proven IIoT edge devices that are perfectly suited for managing distributed machines.

Goal: use process and machine data to gain a competitive edge

To stay competitive on a global scale, machine builders and plant operators must always be one step ahead of the competition. This means perfecting the machines and systems and their associated processes. To gain comprehensive insight and clarity, companies need to be able to mine all the data generated by their production processes to derive the necessary information for drawing the right conclusions.

Create the foundation for data analysis

Valuable insights can be gained from machine and process data. The list of possible applications is long: improvements to processes and quality standards, identifying the real maintenance status and requirements of machines, increasing efficiency by controlling capacity utilization. With innovative, data-driven services relating to their machines and systems, companies can also have a new way to stand out from the competition and generate new sources of revenue.

Companies that want to evaluate Industrial IoT data for these purposes must first lay the groundwork for data analysis. This includes:

  • Access to the data, preferably at the level of industrial fieldbus systems

  • The ability to analyze the data as close as possible to the machines and systems (edge computing)

  • The ability to distribute the IIoT data precisely to the appropriate software applications

  • Managing such distributed systems consisting of edge hardware and edge software components

It is particularly important to mine the IIoT data close to the machines that are in production. This reduces the volume of the data stream and ensures that the valuable machine data does not leave the plant. Only the insights gained from the analysis, but not the raw data, are shared with other applications and storage media as needed.

Data mining with netFIELD

With the netFIELD product family, Hilscher helps companies implement an effective and efficient Industrial IoT data mining strategy. Hilscher’s netFIELD edge gateways are specifically designed for such Industrial IoT applications. Using netFIELD apps, fieldbus data can be passively read without interfering with a machine’s PLC, while the device and container management solution, netFIELD Cloud, enables remote management of all edge devices, installation of software containers and updates, and precise control of IIoT data streams.

Goal: making existing plants fit for the future

The lifecycle of industrial machines and production plants is usually designed for a span of 20 years or more. The longer they last, the higher their profitability and the greater the return on investment for the operator. Getting the most out of existing production facilities for as long as possible is therefore a major goal. However, with age, the risk of unplanned disruptions or even failures increases. Measures to prevent this were difficult to implement with the automation technologies of the past. As a result, many systems remain in operation due to risk factors such as long downtimes caused by an upgrade to modern technology.

Shifting end-of-life further into the future

Today, any existing plant can be made fit for the digital future without any intervention in the already installed automation technology. Sensors and modern IoT tools help to improve production and increase the efficiency of processes at any point, locally or even remotely. The increasing pressure to remain competitive is reduced by IoT retrofitting to the use of fewer retrofit components and the use of services.  And wouldn’t it be nice if a system could be used for another 10 years after its expected end of life?

Continue using existing interfaces via netFIELD

The key to using IoT technology in legacy systems without disrupting the system is primarily to use existing interfaces to capture data. For example, a Hilscher edge gateway can use a PLC’s programming interface to aggregate data without having to actively modify the PLC program, which can be up to 20 years old. Or it can passively tap into the automation network and record its process data in parallel with the PLC. A second option is to equip the system with autonomous edge devices from Hilscher with the possibility of directly connecting IO-Link sensor technology. These devices allow previously unused information to be collected and processed centrally via additional sensors.

Goal: implement new business models

A machine is considered smart if it is network integrated, offers intelligent functions, and is efficient and reliable. They thus offer a wide range of opportunities for new business models. However, leveraging them to remain competitive as end users move toward the connected enterprise is not without its challenges.


New business models in production

Innovative leasing concepts for machines, for example, are on the rise. It is not the installation that is billed, but the equivalent value based on units produced or time used. Scenarios like the typical software subscription model of Office 365 or software activation as practiced by Tesla are also conceivable: a machine is always delivered fully equipped, but the software configuration can be changed later—preferably remotely. To make a machine smart, it’s easy to just add more sensors. But how do you implement the necessary AI to increase productivity, reduce maintenance, avoid production downtimes and, last but not least, to create subscription model scenarios? An ordinary PLC only performs simple control tasks. It doesn’t have room for additional resource-intensive software and is not connected to the Internet.

Data infrastructure for your smart machine with netFIELD

This is where edge technology, as offered by Hilscher, comes in: gateways installed close to the machine provide space for AI and can be managed remotely. They aggregate and process the data in a freely configurable way, map it into virtual objects as a digital twin and thus facilitate the transition to IT, the ERP system or to higher-level production logistics processes. The software lifecycle in the gateways is managed centrally. Hilscher offers a management platform to take care of this and, in conjunction with the devices, provides the communication structure that allows the machine manufacturer to respond flexibly to customer requirements even after the machine has been delivered.

Make your data accessible – with technology from the expert in industrial communication!

Making your controlled machines and systems smart is easy. Network-integrated edge gateways give you access to additional system information. They use additional sensors, the controller or the industrial bus to tap into potential data sources and process and compress the data stream using IoT applications.

This results, for example, in a warning of wear and tear before a machine component fails, which gives you the competitive edge you need to convince your customers. For your customers, this means significant savings in operating, maintaining and optimizing their equipment.

If your business model also requires centralized management of distributed systems and data intelligence, our out-of-the-box netFIELD infrastructure is the right choice: edge gateways, a management platform, and a host of communication applications provide the foundation for developing your customized IIoT solutions.

IIoT Chart

netFIELD - managed Industrial IoT by Hilscher

Browse through our range of netFIELD-products and put together the perfect solution to implement your Industrial IoT project.

netFIELD Edge ->  The intelligent Edge Gateways for your shopfloor.

netFIELD Edge Management ->  The central Edge-Management for your Hard- and Software.

netFIELD Apps ->  The containerized applications for providing the shop floor data.

Any questions? Use the contact form below, we will be happy to help you!

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Four good reasons for netFIELD

The right software in the right place

Fast response times and efficient data traffic through data intelligence right on your machine. Get the precise data you need from your manufacturing floor to improve your process.

Maintain control over your data

You and your customers always retain ownership of the data you or they create and use, respectively.

Access anytime, anywhere

The connection to a central management system allows you to access your machines remotely, no matter where they are. There is no more need for tedious programming of devices and machines on site.

Software lifecycle management

Software must be kept up to date and requires constant adjustments. Organize the management of your device fleets with netFIELD and easily roll out software from a central location.

You already have an idea? Talk about it with us!

You have a specific challenge for which you would like to develop an IIoT solution? Do you already have a concrete idea of a product and are looking for a suitable IIoT infrastructure? Or would you like to learn more about netFIELD and how you can use it to your advantage? No problem, fill out the form below and sign up for a personal product demo free of charge with our experts!

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