GEA Digital

Digital hub in focus: Chapter IIoT


Christian talks about the approach and objectives of the IIoT chapter – and what drives his IIoT team.

Along with Digital Customer Engagement, Data Science and Digital Change, IIoT (Industrial Internet of Things) is one of four chapters within the digital Hub at GEA Digital. IIoT makes a foundational contribution to our digital strategy because it allows us to efficiently capture data from our machines, transmit the data to our GEA cloud for analysis, and then leverage this data to further enhance our products and services. Being able to connect our customers’ machines and equipment to the cloud means greater transparency, and gives us the opportunity to play an even more active role in increasing machine productivity and availability for our customers.

There is a larger impact here, of course. The transparency and efficiency enabled by IIoT are also foundational for gains in the area sustainability. IIoT helps us understand how to optimize the operation of GEA equipment and machines. To continue to reduce the ecological/carbon footprint of these machines, we need a clear picture of where they stand today; we need to know how exactly they operate in different situations and how performance can be improved. The goal is reduced input for the same output. And IIoT is again foundational here for identifying the opportunities.

The primary focus of the IIoT chapter is to deliver standardized GEA-wide IIoT solutions – “building blocks” for the divisions that can accelerate their development of successful customer applications. This is where we can leverage the diversity across GEA, achieving economies of scale while still creating fit-for-purpose digital products. Collaboration within the Hub and with the divisions is the key. In each Hub chapter, we have formalized this collaboration through networks which we call guilds. The IIoT guild consists of at least one representative from each division and meets regularly to prioritize their work. This makes sure we keep everyone on the same page and customer needs foremost in our minds.

In terms of standardization, our approach with IIoT is not “one size fits all” since there is simply too much diversity across the GEA portfolio. Instead we are reducing variation to a minimum by developing IIoT solutions in different “T-shirt” sizes. One of our key streamlining steps is to combine IIoT and remote access into a single device (currently, we often have two devices at the edge), which is enabled by using software agents for remote access. We have also identified ways to standardize the vast majority of communication protocols between the machines (PLC) and the edge device into a single solution.

IIoT opens opportunities for GEA and our customers; it also means opportunity for the software specialists, data engineers and cloud experts in our digital Hub. They’re not conducting research in some far corner of the company. GEA is relying directly on them to define, develop and deliver the best platform solutions for IIoT, data science and customer engagement – today! This is about developing and implementing digital innovation with maximum speed and efficiency. It’s an opportunity to drive and shape the digital future of a very large organization.

Christian Hirschen

Dr. Christian Hirschen, Lead of Chapter IIoT and Data Science

GEA Digital

GEA Digital

We are the newly formed network organization at GEA dedicated to digital innovation for the digital customer journey. Our goal is to further enhance GEA machines and systems with state-of-the-art digital solutions for the benefit of our customers.

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