Replenishment control with OPC UA
Miele is the world's leading supplier of premium domestic appliances. These include the product segments cooking, baking, steam cooking, refrigeration and freezing, coffee preparation, dishwashing, laundry and floorcare. In addition, there are dishwashers, washing machines and tumble dryers for commercial use, as well as cleaning, disinfection and sterilization equipment for medical facilities and laboratories.
Founded in 1899, the company operates eight production sites in Germany and one plant each in Austria, the Czech Republic, Poland, Romania and China. Sales in the financial year 2020 amounted to around EUR 4.5 billion. Miele is represented in almost 100 countries by its own sales subsidiaries or through importers. The fourth-generation family run company employs around 21,000 people worldwide. The company's headquarters are in Gütersloh, Westphalia, Germany.
Replenishment control with OPC UA. The Business Unit Laundry at Miele drives digitalization forward.
Benefits of OPC UA
Christian Stickling, Miele, at the OPC UA Foundation Press Conference in 2018 (SPS Nuremberg).
“In simple terms, the conversion to OPC UA is the modernization of data communication according to the latest findings.”
Why does Miele's BU Laundry rely on production communication with OPC UA?
"OPC UA is the communication protocol for Industry 4.0 with cross-manufacturer and cross-platform use. The communication standard is based on a uniform and encryptable data model to ensure secure communication. Required transformers can be integrated into existing systems in an easy manner, without the need of time-consuming programming from the client.
OPC UA has the crucial advantage that communication follows a uniform format and is robust and secure with the use of OPC UA interfaces," says Christian Stickling, Information Technology in Appliance, Miele, summarizing the main features.
Can existing systems be upgraded to OPC UA?
"The uniform interfaces can be used for different systems. This is a great advantage for an existing production. As a result: the time required for adaptations or the integration of devices and systems is significantly reduced. The effort of communication technology in complex 4.0 manufacturing processes is reduced as well. Further advantages are in the use of virtual hardware. The "hardware in the loop" principle already checks processes during the construction and planning phase. Furthermore, a major advantage is that 100 percent of Miele's suppliers now supply OPC UA-compliant products with OPC UA interfaces in machines and controllers."
Keyword 'Data Security'?
"The high security level of OPC UA is a main factor for Miele. Communication with OPC UA works according to the principle "secure by default". All data is encrypted and transmitted securely. Under these security standards, the BU Laundry's assets and production data are transferred to Microsoft's Azure Cloud."
- 6.3 Million home and commercial appliances were sold by Miele in 2020.
- 700 domestic appliances and more than 100 commercial appliances from Miele were network-enabled in 2020.
- 70,000 spare parts are stocked for up to 15 years after a series is discontinued
- 84 % of supplies to Miele plants are in Europe.
- Neutrality: Miele has been operating on a CO2-neutral basis across all its sites since 2021.
- 5.5 % of total sales are invested in research and development.