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Virtual Edge – the path of data from shopfloor to the cloud - a modern IIoT solution

Updated: Sep 13, 2022



Manufacturing companies around the world are increasingly working with IIoT platforms. Smart networking of your production plants helps operators to make important decisions regarding plant output by means of data analyses. This is primarily about integrating IIoT solutions into existing production plant infrastructures.


With Virtual Edge Solution, Quantis is taking an innovative approach to networking bottling plants in the beverage industry. The focus is on data acquisition and data transfer from the shopfloor to the cloud.


All the bottling lines at a site are connected at the shopfloor level with the associated machine and sensor data. For each site, an overarching network is connected to all edge devices.


Machines and systems do not always come from one manufacturer. Therefore, Quantis uses several drivers for the edge devices, which query and convert the sensor data. This data is converted into the correct format in the Data Bridge using the appropriate protocol.

An important component in data acquisition is scanning the existing data of the machines of all plants in the edge device. It is often difficult to obtain sensor data from the machine manufacturers. Quantis reads the control units (PLC) and searches for the data blocks with their addresses using data scanning methods. During operation, changes or shifts in the data occur again and again due to updates. These must then be searched for and read out again. Here, too, the data scanning process can help.


After collecting data from the machine sensors, the necessary KPIs are calculated in advance in the edge devices. This ensures that relevant data is transferred to the cloud.

Some of the data is also stored to buffer any connection failures that occur. The customer determines the time limit for buffering and the amount of data stored.


The Data Bridge is integrated between the edge devices and the cloud. This is software that represents the secure connection between the store floor and the cloud. The Data Bridge performs a protocol switch and forwards the encrypted data to the corresponding cloud solution. This is done via connectors that can be operated in parallel. Depending on the desired use of the data, it can be forwarded to ERP, MES or maintenance systems.


An important aspect of data transfer is security. The data goes one-way from the shopfloor to the cloud. This prevents third parties from accessing or modifying PLCs without authorization. Another important point in security is the encryption of the data in the Data Bridge. The data is thus transferred securely to the cloud.


This Virtual Edge solution is purely designed to read and monitor the data. The customer owns the Data Bridge and has full control over the software. The scope of access permissions is monitored and regulated by the customer. There are accesses for specific protocols such as HTTPS, MQTT, AMQP. All traffic within the infrastructure is traceable.


All components of the Virtual Edge Solution can be purchased by the customer. If part of the infrastructure exists, individual components can be integrated into the existing ecosystem. The customer determines the scope, as well as the conditions.


The advantages of a virtual solution are obvious; the costs for acquisition, delivery, customs and maintenance of hardware are obsolete.


In times of resource scarcity, it is also more sustainable to rely on online solutions, as devices need to be replaced later.


The savings continue in expensive travel costs, there is no need for a vendor to be on site to mount, or repair hardware. Everything is done online.


The Virtual Edge solution is immediately available and easy to implement. Maintenance and updates are also easy to install. It is a safe and easy way to update infrastructure networking in production facilities.


Quantis is agile and flexible in all its processes. With the Virtual Edge Solution, it offers a modern and customized solution to transfer data to the cloud.


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