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Creating a dedicated on-demand team working with the Ignition platform

Full delegation of IT tasks

Building a dedicated, on-demand team

Operators paperwork elimination

Business challenge

The client

It is Freudenberg Sealing Technologies (FST), thanks to whom the terms 'sealing system' and 'simmering' have become synonyms. FST products can be found in cars, household appliances, power tools, transportation, mobile machinery, and other 20+ niche industries.

German concern, Freudenberg Group has factories in 60 countries around the world. For more than 25 years, one of them stands in Opatovice nad Labem—a small village in the Czech Republic. This factory belongs to the Freudenberg Sealing Technologies business group. More than 350 people work on delivering perfect sealing for companies like Siemens, Bosch, John Deere, and others here.

The situation

Since the company's driving engine is innovation, data processing is crucial. But because they are not an IT company, they were looking for a vendor to outsource data processing solutions based on multiple use cases.

There was one condition; it should be a partner who does not only execute but also comes up with their own ideas for improvement and thus could enrich the current state of data processing.

The challenge

Even though at Emprover, we create and build customized data processing solutions, in this very case, we were asked to use our knowledge and experience to help improve the work with an existing solution based on the SCADA platform, Ignition.

Saying Yes to this challenge resulted in gaining experience in developing the Ignition platform.

“We have chosen the Ignition platform as the foundation for our future shop floor data collection system. We found a reliable partner in Emprover, who helped us leverage the new Ignition platform and scale our software development capacities. Long-term partnership and software reliability were the key ingredients in our cooperation. Emprover proved they could transform our requirements into functional software and support with agile improvements and modifications in the aftercare phase.“ Michal Koblása IT Project Manager

Emprover solution

First, discovering the limits of the Ignition platform

We have learned that however excellent and functional the platform is, it does have its limits. This was mainly related to the platform's general vs. specific solutions. Thus, we are in constant touch with the Ignition community and their support center, which has already accepted some of our ideas for improvement and included them in their future development fixes.

Our added value was combining our other-technologies experience and IT standards solution development with the practices of creating industry IT solutions within Ignition. This way, we have mixed a tailor-made cocktail of effective IT solutions using proven standards.

Second, starting small—gaining credibility

Our aim, no matter the industry, is a step-by-step-built partnership between our clients and us.

That is why, in the case of the Freudenberg—Emprover cooperation, we started with small but essential tools: Manufacturing process inputs.

Since the Ignition platform works not only on desktops and kiosks but on mobile devices in different conditions (such as Zebra), it was also vital to create a function that would automate as many values and variables as possible.

Here is how we made the assembly lines operators' job easier:

  • Building a responsive user interface
  • 'Tell me what is not as it should be'—improving the system's communication
  • Decreasing the number of necessary actions because we know that operators do not want and cannot spend time filling 'system-fixation forms'

Four examples

1. Alpha-numeric data input by operators
This is, at first glance, a simple solution. Still, it is very effective, and systems often lack it even though it simplifies the work, eliminates risks, and indirectly increases the operator's productivity. After implementing our solution, operators do not have to use native keyboards, which are complicated and can interfere with the tools' responsiveness.
2. The CRUD system implementation
The CRUD (Create, Read, Update, and Delete Data) operations optimization was crucial—processing data in an effective and comfortable way is crucial for operators (and, thus, the business itself). Therefore, we have optimized CRUD operations above the data to get higher bandwidth and latency.
3. Quick display of data compiled from multiple database sources
This could potentially cause troubles within the platform. With Ignition's very own developers, we displayed data in charts several times faster in the end.
4. Extreme situations are taken into account
Sometimes devices that can read physical data (e. g., barcodes) fail. For such cases, we designed a component-based keyboard for manual data input. However small, this solution demands several logical functions and decisions running in the background.
“We worked with the Emprover team to complete tasks in stages—from the small to the more complex ones. They earned our trust mainly through agile work and transparent communication. We especially appreciate that Emprover is very proactive and willing to work with the Ignition platform, develop it and help us improve the user experience of our shop floor applications.“ Jakub Šolc Lead/Digitalization Manager

Benefits and results

Gaining time and workforce by delegating IT agenda to Emprover

'Getting rid of programming' is a wish of many companies, and it's completely understandable. FST has defined requests on the components' functionalities and provided us with their ideas on the functional design. This is because we are creative developers—we design the whole architecture—the UX/UI design and functionality.

Functional unity

We have designed all the solutions (tools, systems, projects, and modules) on the Ignition platform functionally unified in terms of both visuals and functions. Like this, the operators can operate any unit without having to learn new systems.

Substitution of paperwork

Thanks to our solutions, some parts of the manufacturing process have become paperless, e.g., operators do not have to fill in the charts with a pen manually. This has led not only to saving time but also to error elimination.

“Emprover proved its qualities, and we have suggested to our German IT corporate team that Emprover could become a partner even for work on more complex and global projects. The details of this cooperation are currently being finalized.“ Jakub Šolc Lead/Digitalization Manager

Future cooperation

From local to global—building a specialized, dedicated team

The volume and level of tasks we receive are constantly growing. After successful cooperation with the Czech branch, we have been asked to work on global Ignition-based solutions. This request has motivated us to create the Ignition Academy—a local ad-hoc and on-demand team certified by Ignition's authors, Inductive Automation—and thus become an officially accredited Ignition integrator for Central Europe and above.