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Author's profile photo David Parrish

IFM Partners with SAP to Develop a “Brain” for Its Network of Sensors and Machine Data

The Equipment and Machinery Sensors of IFM

When asked to sum up IFM’s fundamental mission, Managing Director of IMF DataLink and experienced electrical engineer Dr. Myriam Jann states, “Basically, we are producing the eyes and ears of machinery.” An innovative automation technology company that serves a variety of manufacturing enterprises, IFM produces sensors for a range of industrial equipment, in effect turning each manufacturing unit into its own supervisor, diagnostic technician, and record keeper.

In addition to creating original equipment manufacturer (OEM) process and position sensors that can recognize objects and feed information into a variety of diagnostic and identification systems, IFM develops comprehensive networking and control systems that are tailored to meet the specific needs of each client. IFM senor installations are designed to be safe, reliable, efficient, and optimized to produce high quality results.

Through its DataLink Division, IFM develops standardized and practical software modules that enhance the production process, maintain outstanding quality assurance, and ultimately lead to more transparent manufacturing methods. These modules also offer enterprise resource planning (ERP) integration and can monitor overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) down to the level of individual machines.


IFM Transforms Mountains of Raw Data into Usable Information with SAP HANA

By partnering with SAP, IFM strives to get more and more real-time information from each piece of equipment on the shop floor. SAP’s HANA Cloud Platform facilitates the processing of extremely large volumes of data that enable IFM to closely analyze manufacturing operations and monitor quality control in order to maximize product output. An in-memory platform that combines an ACID-compliant database with advanced data processing and delivery capabilities, SAP HANA connects IFM’s senor technology with various servers and PCs using the Internet of Things.

As defined by the TechTarget Network, the Internet of Things (IoT) is an high tech environment that enables the transfer of data from individual objects (such as pieces of equipment) to a central digital network with no need of human-to-human or human-to-computer interaction. SAP IoT solutions encompass a vast array of information processing, flexible data integration, and application services.

Within the context of the senor technology industry, Dr. Myriam Jann describes SAP’s IoT solutions: “we are able to get the information from the eyes and ears to the brain.” When it came to developing a “brain” for its network of sensors, IFM recognized SAP as a powerful ally. Quite simply, the SAP HANA Cloud Platform was able to provide IFM with the storage capacity and quick data access that the company was looking for.

Although IFM’s sensors are capable of acquiring a staggeringly large amount of raw data, this data is virtually useless without some way to organize and analyze it in order to find meaningful correlations and recognize important patterns. The HANA Cloud Platform uses innovative and advanced algorithms to sort through all this information and keep it at operators’ fingertips to serve a variety of purposes.


A Productive Relationship That Continues to Transform the Production Shop Floor

A relatively small company, IFM was initially unsure if it could attract the attention of a multinational software corporation such as SAP. However, IFM simply couldn’t pass up a chance to work with an organization that Dr, Jann calls “the world’s market leader in industry software.”

Despite their differences in size, IFM and SAP have developed a close and extremely well orchestrated business relationship that has generated some exceptional results. Working together, the two companies developed the necessary software to integrate IFMs sensor network over the period of a single month.

Since partnering with SAP, IFM has reduced the cost of data transfer by 99 percent. As the two companies continue to collaborate, IFM plans to continue to refine its data analysis capabilities…to, in the words of Dr. Jann, “put [data] together in HANA” and “get the value out of our sensors.”

For more information, please download the white paper Digital Manufacturing:  Powering the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

At the center of today’s business and technology revolution, SAP is a market leader in the creation and implementation of enterprise application software. Its innovations help over 296,000 international customers work together more efficiently and use business insight more effectively.

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