Transforming Manufacturing Using Seamless IoT and Optimized Operations on AWS with Syntax
By Kiran Randhi, Principal Partner Solutions Architect – AWS
By Thomas Cummins, Partner Solutions Architect, IoT – AWS
By Dr. Dominik Schäfer, Principal Solution Architect, IoT, Analytics & AI – Syntax
Manufacturing customers face the challenge of deriving insights from their shopfloor to enhance business decisions and production processes. In this post, you’ll discover how Syntax’s Synsights platform powered by Amazon Web Services (AWS) enables integration of Internet of Things (IoT) data with manufacturing execution systems (MES) and enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems like SAP.
Syntax Synsights offers a pre-built solution that can be tailored to specific customer requirements, thus saving time, effort, and money while boosting return on investment (ROI). We will explore a real-life customer use case involving a global packaging company, where we address common manufacturing challenges like improving product quality while minimizing equipment downtimes.
With Syntax Synsights, these issues are tackled through a streamlined, data-driven approach, resulting in increased efficiency, reduced waste, and a fortified competitive advantage.
We’ll also explore the Syntax Synsights solution architecture and its components: machine and edge-to-cloud connectivity, data processing rules engine, data lake house and reporting to improve predictive quality and maintenance, and remote monitoring of operations to lower production costs and increase business continuity.
Syntax is an AWS Premier Tier Services Partner and AWS Marketplace Seller that’s a leading managed cloud provider for mission-critical enterprise applications. With over 1,000 ERP customers migrated, Syntax is a pioneer for migrating ERP workloads while layering its unique IP built on AWS.
This post is for decision makers and technical leads in the manufacturing industry who are looking for a solution to enhance productivity and streamline operations. We focus on the benefits and application areas of this IoT solution and, specifically, on how manufacturing processes can be optimized. As a result, you’ll be able to make informed decisions to drive an IoT-based transformation of the manufacturing landscape.
Syntax Synsights is an AWS-native, comprehensive IoT solution that covers the full stack for industrial manufacturing applications to drive the digital transformation. It covers two use cases—optimizing maintenance and shopfloor operations, and connected product scenarios—to extend a classical product with digital value-added services with the objective to transform a product offering to a service offering.
Figure 1 – Harnessing data management to eliminate data silos in modern manufacturing.
This end-to-end solution encompasses data collection from industrial machines, edge data preprocessing, and secure transmission to the cloud. Syntax Synsights then applies advanced analytics and machine learning (ML) models to generate insights, which are seamlessly integrated with enterprise systems like ERP and MES for informed decision-making and enhanced process efficiency within the industrial automation stack.
Syntax Synsights is a 60-80% ready-to-use solution that’s tailored to customer requirements, providing the needed standards but leaving enough room for specific customer requirements.
Figure 2 – Syntax Synsights use cases: shopfloor and connected product.
Syntax Synsights implementation leads to improved operational efficiency, decreased energy consumption, improved product quality, and reduced machine downtimes, driving sustainability growth and a competitive advantage for manufacturing companies.
By leveraging real-time data insights and facilitating data-driven decision making, manufacturers can optimize resources, streamline supply chains, and adapt quickly to changing market demands, ensuring their position as industry leaders.
Syntax Synsights is provided as a customized software-as-a-service (SaaS) solution which is fully operated and managed by Syntax. Each instance is maintained in individual AWS accounts for each customer, ensuring complete data protection and customer separation.
The platform features a suite of application modules, including Condition Monitoring, Predictive Maintenance and Quality, Energy Management, Connected Products, and Asset Management. The Asset Management module synchronizes master data from ERP and MES systems with Syntax Synsights, enriching the data to create a digital twin of the entire shop floor.
Figure 3 – Syntax Synsights application modules.
Maintenance and Customization
After a proof-of-value project, the initial customization project takes place where Syntax Synsights is tailored to specific customer requirements. Starting with a hypercare phase, the solution goes into a productive state and is maintained with regular updates. Syntax also offers application management services to extend the customer specific parts of the solution.
The interaction with Syntax Synsights varies based on the customer’s existing IT landscape. Users can either access the platform through Syntax’s web portal featuring standard and custom applications, or by connecting with existing enterprise systems like ERP and MES, enabling seamless integration into their current business processes.
The Syntax Synsights web portal provides tailored application views for different user profiles: real-time key performance indicator (KPI) reporting for management, efficiency optimization for maintenance and operations leaders, and machine downtime reduction and product quality improvement for plant floor personnel.
Customer Use Case: Klöckner Pentaplast
Klöckner Pentaplast, commonly known as kp, is a worldwide plastic packaging company operating 31 plants across 18 countries and employing over 5,700 people dedicated to producing plastic films and trays. kp is committed to sustainable plastic production in diverse application areas, including food, pharmaceuticals, and consumer packaging.
Over the past decade, kp has consistently enhanced its production processes to reduce scrap rates and boost customer satisfaction.
On their journey towards becoming a fully digitized company, kp faced two main challenges. First, the complexity and heterogeneity of an on-premises infrastructure intensifies administrative efforts, creates data silos, and broadens the spectrum of required IT personnel expertise. Second, achieving further advancements in production efficiency–specifically, lowering the scrap rate and unplanned machine downtime–becomes increasingly challenging due to its already optimized processes.
By addressing these two challenges, kp would reinforce its market position as a global leader.
kp sought a solution with a quick time to market that met its specific needs and was capable of global scaling through seamless integration with existing processes. The company needed a fully managed Industrial IoT (IIoT) SaaS solution, as the team aimed to focus on core operations and preferred not to expand their staff for implementation and ongoing management of an IoT platform.
Moreover, kp required a high-performance data analytics model that delivered highly accurate, near real-time evaluations of process parameters.
Syntax Synsights has greatly benefited kp by offering a tailored, fully managed Industrial IoT SaaS platform that seamlessly integrates with its existing processes and scales globally.
Syntax Synsights integrates seamlessly with a customer’s existing infrastructure, providing real-time data insights and advanced analytics to optimize manufacturing processes and increase productivity. This tailored and fully managed approach makes it the perfect fit for customers seeking to drive digital transformation without the need for additional personnel or complex system overhauls.
Figure 4 – Syntax Synsights reference architecture.
The simplified reference architecture of Syntax Synsights is comprised of various components, each contributing specific functionality to the overall system. Each component is built using multiple AWS services, enabling seamless integration and enhancing the capabilities of the platform.
- Edge Connector links to industrial machines, retrieves, and preprocesses data, and then forwards it to the Data Handler running in the AWS cloud. The Edge Connector utilizes three options for machine connections, depending on the interface:
- AWS IoT Greengrass connector for modern protocols like OPC unified architecture (UA) and MQTT.
- Telit deviceWISE for direct Ethernet connections to Progammable Logic Controllers (PLCs).
- Retrofitting solutions such as CloudRail or Pepperl+Fuchs’ I/O Link Master. The Edge Connector is deployed on a gateway, industrial PC, or virtual machine on-premises.
- Data Handler manages data orchestration within the AWS cloud, encompassing AWS IoT Core for message forwarding and rule execution, Amazon Kinesis Data Firehose for message bundling, and AWS IoT SiteWise for rapid dashboard creation in pilot projects.
- IIoT Data Space is where all database and storage actions occur, with the Data Handler forwarding messages to this space. It comprises Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) for data archiving, Amazon Timestream for storing and querying timeseries data, Amazon Aurora and Amazon Relational Database Service (Amazon RDS) for the application database, and AWS Lake Formation for data lake management. Amazon Redshift is also used for business data reporting in some cases.
- Rules Engine constantly monitors for exceeded thresholds as well as Statistical Process Control (SPC) rules, and the Data Handler sends messages to the Rules Engine, which utilizes Amazon RDS to store rule states and execution parameters, a collection of AWS Lambda functions for telemetry data checks, and Amazon Simple Notification Service (SNS) to link the Rules Engine with the Event Engine when thresholds are surpassed.
- Event Engine manages outgoing events from the Rules Engine and employs fan-out techniques to notify users or other systems like ERP or MES about system states. It can deliver Syntax Synsights notifications, SMS, emails, work orders, and maintenance or quality alerts. Comprising adapters for each event destination, the Event Engine and its adapters are implemented using AWS Lambda, Cloud Map, and Amazon Simple Queue Service (SQS).
- Cloud Integrator enables cloud-to-cloud communication with systems like SAP Digital Manufacturing Cloud. Message composition and interface configuration are facilitated by AWS Lambda and Amazon API Gateway, respectively. As a bi-directional component, Cloud Integrator can also obtain business data from multiple sources.
- Predictive Services component comprises various AWS artificial intelligence (AI) services, including Amazon Lookout for Equipment, Amazon Lookout for Vision, Amazon SageMaker, and Amazon Forecast. These services enable deployment of pre-built and customized AI models that generate insights from collected data.
- Reporting Engine links to the Data Space for reporting on stored data. Utilizing Amazon Athena, Amazon QuickSight, and Amazon Managed Service for Grafana, users can create standard reports to visualize KPIs. The Reporting Engine empowers power users to explore data and uncover valuable business insights. It also offers interfaces to common reporting tools, such as SAP Analytics Cloud.
Upon entering the Syntax Synsights portal, users are greeted with a seamless and single sign-on (SSO) experience, based on the integration with an Active Directory. This secure authentication process ensures users have access to the applications they are authorized to use, based on their assigned permissions and roles. As a result, the application views are customi
In the Asset Management module, the views for a manager and a machine operator differ significantly. A manager’s view includes high-level information such as overall equipment effectiveness (OEE), performance metrics, and maintenance scheduling, allowing them to make informed strategic decisions.
The machine operator’s view focuses on the specific equipment they operate, displaying real-time data on machine performance, maintenance alerts, and operational guidelines. This tailored user experience ensures all user profiles have access to the most relevant and actionable information, enabling them to perform their tasks efficiently and effectively.
Figure 5 – Manager’s view.
Syntax Synsights leverages real-time IoT capabilities to seamlessly integrate with ERP and MES systems, forming a closed loop that optimizes manufacturing processes. This flexible and tailorable approach empowers businesses to increase efficiency and adaptability, enabling a rapid, result-driven time to market, and driving business growth.
Customer Onboarding and Solution Deployment
To ensure a successful customer onboarding, Syntax offers comprehensive demos and tailored assessment workshops. These workshops focus on extracting insights from IT and operational technology sources, identifying optimization potential, and uncovering easily achievable improvements for immediate business value and ROI.
Syntax’s hands-on approach allows it to customize Syntax Synsights to address each client’s requirements and business objectives.
Syntax Synsights is deployed in a customer-specific AWS account and is fully managed by Syntax. The hardware and sensor deployment utilizes a IoT partner network, including AWS edge ISV partners who collaborate with Syntax for seamless hardware integration into the Syntax Synsights platform. This synergy ensures rapid, tailored turnkey solutions, addressing each customer’s requirements.
Figure 6 – Proof-of-value solution package.
Customers can benefit from Syntax Synsights’ rapid time to market, lightweight integration, and high-performance data analytics capabilities to streamline operations, enhance efficiency, and drive continuous improvement in their respective industries.
To learn more about Syntax Synsights and how it can benefit your organization, visit the product page and provide your specific requirements and challenges and request your individual proof-of-value project. You can also learn more about Syntax in AWS Marketplace.
For edge ISV partners interested in working with Syntax, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Syntax is continuously expanding its network and works with new partners to integrate additional hardware and expertise into the platform.
Syntax – AWS Partner Spotlight
Syntax is an AWS Premier Tier Services Partner and leading managed cloud provider for mission-critical enterprise applications. With over 1,000 ERP customers migrated, Syntax is a pioneer for migrating ERP workloads while layering its unique IP built on AWS.