A case study by Conscia Sweden (NIL`s sister company from Conscia Group)
Suzuki Garphyttan, a part of the Nippon Steel Group, is a world leading manufacturer of valve spring wire, an important component in car engines and transmission solutions. The company has long been a customer of Conscia with regards to network solutions. As it developed towards truly modern manufacturing, Industry 4.0 with IoT, the focus fell squarely on Conscia DevicePortal in order to keep track of all new devices that need to be connected.
"We need 24/7 availability, in all time zones and we rely on Cisco networking solutions. We started using Conscia over two years ago for support and now five, six of their skilled and specialized consultants work with our networks. It is very important to us that the consultants know Cisco and have a high level of competence. We are absolutely satisfied with their services", says Ola Magnusson, Head of Group IT Infrastructure at Suzuki Garphyttan, just outside Örebro.
Cisco DNA Center and SD-WAN from Conscia
Two important components of the company's network strategy are the Cisco DNA Center and SD-WAN, which are implemented and managed with the help of Conscia. Since Suzuki Garphyttan has manufacturing facilities in Sweden, USA, Mexico, England and China, as well as presence all over the world, DNA Center which provides easy administration and collection of information in one place for most of Cisco's products is a necessity. It significantly simplifies the work of checking that the network fulfills all existing requirements.
Cisco SD-WAN becomes the glue that binds the five sites, factories and offices spread all over the world together:
"It becomes possible to manage both private and public networks and to define rules that govern network traffic. It’s smart and flexible solution", says Ola Magnusson.
IoT for Industry 4.0 - everything is connected to the network
The company has now adopted a strategy for "Smart Industry 4.0". In concrete terms, this entails an increased use of different types of sensors and connections to different machines, what is popularly known as "IoT". In short, there will be a whole lot of devices to keep track of. And it's not just about connecting sensors and machines, but also internal TV units, industrial printers, trucks, and much more.
A major challenge is that many of the devices to be connected are not compatible with traditional security solutions, which necessitates a lot of work with standard tools. With Conscia DevicePortal, it is possible to manage security in a fast and efficient way when onboarding and handling IoT devices. Another major challenge is that high competence level is required to handle IoT security without simplifying tools. The world is not exactly filled with technicians with this skill level, and recruitment becomes a problem.
"With Conscia DevicePortal, other IT staff who do not have special skills can also handle the work", says Ola Magnusson.
Connecting to the network without the manual aid of IT administrators
Automation is an important factor in simplifying things. Manual deployment by IT administrators should not be required to connect devices to a network. A person who works on the floor in a factory should not have to figure out which MAC-address a lathe has. The person should be able to easily connect the device via Wi-Fi, without any security or functional problems. Role-based network access makes it easy to manage addresses and connect them to the right roles.
In the long term, Conscia DevicePortal will be used in all five continents where Suzuki Garphyttan operates. So far, the platform has been successfully implemented in the head office in Garphyttan, and Ola Magnusson has high hopes for the global introduction.
Conscia DevicePortal facilitates IoT and Industry 4.0
"Today we spend a lot of time putting out fires. We want to get better at preventive maintenance and that is where Conscia DevicePortal plays an important part. Together with our engineers, we are now working to better understand our processes", says Ola Magnusson.
An example of a solution could be to have a sensor that measures vibrations for a machine. When unusual patterns of vibration are detected, it is a sign that the machine needs to be maintained before it breaks down. In order to improve maintenance, a working method called TPM (Total Preventive Maintenance) has been adopted. An additional goal is to reach a common level for the handling of units and for maintenance at all the company's factories. In this respect, too, a solution such as Conscia DevicePortal makes things easier.
Umbrella DNS protection, firewalls and switches
In addition to the products mentioned, Suzuki Garphyttan also uses Cisco products such as the Umbrella Secure Internet Gateway, the Firepower firewalls and 9300 switches.
"These will be our tools in the coming years", says Ola Magnusson.
Smart network solutions in general and specialized platforms such as Conscia DevicePortal in particular will be important components in that work. Since Conscia saw the need for simple solutions early on, it is well placed to spread its DevicePortal. The fact that a proprietary software such as Conscia DevicePortal is fully integrated with Cisco's ISE is another key to success.(Conscia's solution is a good complement to ISE, not a replacement for Cisco's solution).