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Industry has not only been under great pressure to change since today. The proclamation of the fourth industrial revolution is now several years ago, but more than ever the manufacturing industry is fine-tuning the right way to deal with smart production. How do we make the transition from crisis management to long-term transformation in energy, efficiency and sustainability? How can the expansion of the urgently needed infrastructure be speeded up? How do companies deal with the shortage of skilled workers? EPLAN, Rittal, CIDEON and German Edge Cloud will be engaging in dialogue with visitors to HANNOVER MESSE 2023 on these and other questions - and showing how competence in the relevant ecosystems can create comprehensive solutions.

Thinking in ecosystems

"The digital transformation of factories, a secure and economical energy supply in the long term, or determining and reducing the product carbon footprint in industry are major challenges that cannot be solved in isolation," says Markus Asch, CEO of Rittal International and Rittal Software Systems: "Innovation is needed beyond products and solutions. We need to understand the processes along our customers' value chains, think in terms of new ecosystems and develop overarching solutions. Our conviction is that this is only possible via standardised platforms. HANNOVER MESSE is the forum for industry-wide dialogue on this."

Digital twins for smart production and Energy Management

It seems clear that the path to smart production has been taken across the board. Towards economic production with highly automated processes that can be controlled in an energy-efficient manner and flexibly adapted to individual customer solutions. "Innovation today can therefore only mean making the customer as a whole successful in its performance," says Asch: "If we no longer think in terms of products and solutions, but in terms of process optimisation, then this is only possible with a clever combination of hardware and software."

Energy flows are a critical factor for success

As potential enablers of smart production, EPLAN, Rittal, CIDEON and German Edge Cloud will be demonstrating at the trade fair how the three ecosystems of automation engineering, product manufacturing and production processes can each be connected in perspective via a digital twin. This not only makes the processes of smart production more transparent and efficient. Energy flows will also become transparent and thus optimisable - already today and in the future more than ever a critical factor for the success of industrial companies. The prerequisite for this is complete transparency along the customers' value chains from control and switchgear construction to the operator.

The digital twin can do more

And how is this to be achieved? By EPLAN and Rittal working with the control, switchgear and mechanical engineering companies to drive forward the digital twin of the machines and systems and make the data usable in operation. CIDEON, in turn, increases data consistency around the digital product twin with expertise in CAD/CAM, PDM/PLM and product configuration. The ONCITE Digital Production System is the platform for the digital production twin and IIoT-supported production management.

Live insight from the trade fair into the running factory

Visitors can see how this works in practice, live and in quasi real time, at the companies' joint exhibition stand. In Rittal's smart enclosure factory in Haiger, energy monitoring has already been integrated into the ONCITE DPS digital production system - via the cloud, a live insight is provided from the trade fair into the real energy data of the ongoing production. The energy flows of the associated data centre can also be seen. The RiZone OTM Suite, which was introduced at the trade fair, is running there to manage the data centre operating technology. Here, Rittal uses what its sister company German Edge Cloud has developed and offers to customers: The new Rittal software relies on the flexible microservices architecture of the ONCITE DPS.

More speed for building the energy infrastructure

But it is not only manufacturing that faces the challenge of monitoring and managing energy differently in the future. The entire energy sector is under extreme pressure to act and cut costs. The expansion of the infrastructure must pick up speed in order to meet the demands of industry on the location. For EPLAN and Rittal, it is clear that the decisive lever is the industrialisation of the entire process chain with the combination of software and hardware.

Raising potential with optimisation and industrialisation of process chains

"Modularisation, standardisation and data consistency are principles of action for us", explains Markus Asch: "Experience at Rittal and EPLAN with our customers from the control, switchgear and mechanical engineering sectors has shown: There is considerable potential in the optimisation and industrialisation of process chains. Integrated hardware and software solutions increase the pace of infrastructure expansion - from energy generation and storage, through grid expansion and sector coupling, to the charging park for e-mobiles. The efficiency gain reduces costs and the data opens up further uses in operation as a plant twin."