Bühler Group uses IoT in the food processing industry to minimize waste, improve quality, increase yields, reduce downtime and slash energy use. The result for their customers is more control of the food production process and huge cost savings.
Bühler Group wanted to offer their customers more insight into their food production process by collecting data from the machines for analysis. They first needed the right architecture to help gather this data. With thousands of machines worldwide, the solution also had to be easily scalable. Furthermore, some machines had no digitalization capabilities so it was imperative to bring them into the digital era.
A scalable, secure architecture
After some research, Bühler decided the best solution was a cloud-based IoT solution. The flexibility of the cloud means the solution easily scales from a small pilot to cover millions of devices worldwide.
The challenge of the project was connecting all existing equipment to the internet. However, older machinery had no digitalization capabilities, so needed an upgrade.
The next challenge the team faced was setting up a robust yet flexible architecture that could capture the data. This architecture not only had to be bi-directional, but also secure, scalable, and easily deployable worldwide.
Codit was essential for the success of this project. ”
Codit combined Microsoft Azure and IoT technologies to form a comprehensive solution that can seamlessly scale worldwide. Older equipment was retrofitted with the Codit Nebulus™ IoT Gateway to capture data and deliver indispensable knowledge about every step in the production process for maximum efficiency. Azure was also used as the cloud-based data integration platform.
Retrofitting machines for the new digital era
Azure was the no-contest winner as the cloud-based data integration platform. Codit immediately got to work developing a robust architecture for data collection.
They then brought older machinery into the digital era by retrofitting them with Codit’s Nebulus™ IoT Gateway. Nebulus™ securely aggregates data from the equipment and then sends it to the cloud-based platform.
Because Nebulus™ is built on Microsoft technology, it seamlessly works with the Microsoft Azure. Both Nebulus™ and Azure are cloud-based solutions, making it scalable and easy to deploy worldwide. Bühler decided to pilot this new system in their Chocolate Division, which provides equipment to chocolate manufacturers worldwide.
The Chocolate Division pilot was a massive success, and they are now rolling out this new tech to other divisions. Bühler Group estimated that in the first phase they could save 15% of the food waste, labor costs would be reduced by 30% and energy costs by 5%.
High yield, high quality, high efficiency
Manuel Hoehener was impressed with the results. “It has been better than expected. So far, every customer using our new service has had a throughput increase of 10-20%, with high stability around the clock and no operator interaction. In other words, higher yield, higher quality and higher efficiency.”
“We wanted to offer real and tangible benefits, not a vague promise. And with Codit’s help, that’s exactly what our IoT solution does. We are now determining value propositions for our other divisions, to expand this success throughout our business.”
Stuart Bashford Digital Officer in the Corporate Technology Department, Bühler