Audi placing a centralized server resolution into take a look at operation in cycle-dependent manufacturing; edge resolution eliminates particular person PCs


Audi is placing a centralized server resolution into take a look at operation in cycle-dependent manufacturing; it says it’s the first producer to take action. With this Edge Cloud 4 Manufacturing native server resolution, Audi is initiating a paradigm shift in automation expertise.

With the Edge Cloud 4 Manufacturing, a couple of centralized and native servers will tackle the work of numerous costly industrial PCs. The server resolution makes it doable to degree out spikes in demand over the entire variety of virtualized shoppers—a extra environment friendly use of sources. Manufacturing will save effort and time, significantly the place software program rollouts, working system modifications, and IT-related bills are involved.


What we’re doing here’s a revolution. We used to have to purchase {hardware} after we needed to introduce new features. With Edge Cloud 4 Manufacturing, we solely purchase purposes within the type of software program. That’s the essential step towards IT-based manufacturing.

—Gerd Walker, Member of the Board of Administration of AUDI AG Manufacturing and Logistics

After profitable testing within the Audi Manufacturing Lab (P-Lab), three native servers will take over directing employees within the Böllinger Höfe. If the server infrastructure continues to function reliably, Audi needs to roll out this automation expertise for serial manufacturing all through your entire Volkswagen Group.

Within the Böllinger Höfe close to Neckarsulm, the Audi e-tron GT quattro1 and the R8 share an meeting line. The small-scale sequence e produced there are significantly effectively fitted to testing initiatives from the P-Lab and attempting issues out for large-scale sequence.

The essential benefit of Edge Cloud 4 Manufacturing is that numerous industrial PCs will be changed together with their enter and output units and not must be individually maintained. Course of security can be significantly improved. Within the occasion of a disruption, the load will be shifted to different servers. In distinction, a damaged industrial PC must get replaced. That takes time. On prime of that, the answer reduces the workload for workers.

Sooner or later, skinny shoppers succesful of what’s often called power-over-Ethernet will set the tempo. These terminal units get their electrical energy by way of Ethernet cables and most of their computational energy via native servers. They’ve USB ports for output units. That allows managers directing employees to take a look at a monitor and see what must be mounted onto which car. Sooner or later, an outsized PC with processing and storage capability won’t be vital for these duties.

Software program-based infrastructures have confirmed themselves in knowledge processing facilities. We’re satisfied they can even work effectively in manufacturing.

—Henning Löser, head of Audi’s Manufacturing Lab

Along with the specialists from the P-Lab, the IT managers round Christoph Hagmüller, the Head of IT Providers at Audi in Neckarsulm and co-manager for Manufacturing IT within the Böllinger Höfe, are rolling out the brand new resolution. With its comparatively low unit and cycle numbers, the Böllinger Höfe is ideally suited to functioning as an actual lab for testing the brand new idea in sequence manufacturing.

Edge Cloud 4 Manufacturing has a hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI). This software-defined system combines all the weather of a small knowledge processing middle: storage, computing, networking, and administration. The software program defines functionalities corresponding to internet servers, databases, and managing techniques. The cloud resolution can be rapidly scaled at will to adapt to altering manufacturing necessities.

Nonetheless, a public cloud hyperlink is out of the query because of manufacturing’s stringent safety necessities. Moreover, native servers make the required, very brief latencies doable.

These are the explanation why we set up the servers close to us. That’s additionally why we name the answer Edge Cloud: as a result of it’s near our store flooring surroundings.

—Henning Löser

The brand new IT idea additionally improves ease of upkeep and IT safety. With industrial PCs, the patch cycles (the intervals between vital updates) are often longer. On prime of that, updates can solely be put in throughout pauses in manufacturing. With the cloud-based infrastructure, IT specialists can roll out patches in all phases inside a couple of minutes by way of the central servers. Furthermore, IT colleagues set up performance updates in all digital shoppers on the identical time, corresponding to a brand new working system.

Hagmüller says that the necessity for extra performance will get more and more elaborate and costly sooner or later. He estimates that the price of an replace—for instance, from Home windows 10 to Home windows 11—will be lowered by about one-third.

Moreover, with the server resolution, we aren’t depending on free timeframes in Manufacturing anymore. It provides us large flexibility to make sure our software program and working techniques are at all times utterly updated.

—Christoph Hagmüller

Each knowledge processing facilities within the Neckarsulm plant are slated for subsequent mass manufacturing. A fiber optic cable connects them with the Böllinger Höfe. In line with Henning Löser, 5G might be related within the second stage. Up to now, a separate pc has been put in in each automated guided car (AGV). Right here too, specialists should set up expensive safety updates and new working techniques. It’s conceivable that they may purchase new functionalities, however they’re seldom transferable to their computer systems.

We’d like a quick, high-availability community for that. In our testing surroundings within the P-Lab, we’ve got taken one other step ahead regarding 5G.

—Henning Löser


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