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thyssenkrupp Steel is expanding its IT infrastructure with Rittal Edge Data Centers

2018-10-09. The steel industry is driving ahead with digitization: thyssenkrupp Steel is commissioning Rittal to supply edge data centre containers. Innovative IT infrastructure from Rittal is helping thyssenkrupp Steel to digitise production-related processes. Edge data centres provide the highest level of physical security.

thyssenkrupp Steel has placed an order with Rittal to supply data centres to be set up close to the steel maker’s production facilities. The Data Centre Containers use pre-configured components for cooling or power supply that allow the infrastructure to be set up quickly, without any risks.

The aim of thyssenkrupp Steel is to speed up the digital transformation of numerous business processes. This is an important part of a comprehensive and all-round digitization offensive for the Duisburg-based company. Rittal delivered the first containers in 2017 and these have been continuously adapted to the needs of thyssenkrupp Steel in the course of the partnership. The new systems are set to be installed by the end of 2019.

At thyssenkrupp Steel, digitization forms an essential part of the corporate strategy. Today, the company designs its procedures interdisciplinary in end-to-end processes, and the data generated forms the basis for decision-making, analysis and predictions. Consequently, the amount of data to be processed is increasing all the time, forcing the company to adjust its IT infrastructure accordingly.

To manufacture the more than 2,000 steel products not only demands high-performance IT systems very close to where production is being performed, as more and more processes are controlled by sensors and robots. The overarching goals also include further steps towards standardisation, a security architecture that meets these requirements, as well as a new and innovative networking of information.

The Rittal IT containers are being installed directly on the thyssenkrupp Steel premises and will operate as edge computer centres; they will include a cloud connection. Then after all, with digitization, the demand for rapidly available data generated near the point of origin is growing and this calls for extra computing power, short latency times for provision of the data, as well as uninterrupted data availability and system-wide security. Rittal developed the RDCC-based edge data centres to meet these and other requirements.

New data centres for German locations

Thyssenkrupp Steel Europe is one of the world’s leading suppliers of high-quality flat steel. The company, with a workforce of approx. 27,000, produces high-quality steel products for innovative and demanding applications in a huge range of industries. Customer-specific material solutions and a variety of steel-related services complete the range of services offered.

“The Rittal data centre containers are an essential part of our integrated security concept and meet our requirements for the highest security standards. We are setting up the edge data centres developed in the context of this partnership directly at our production sites, so that we can implement new IT capacities quickly and economically,” said Dr Michael Kranz, thyssenkrupp Steel’s CIO.

“With our pre-configured and modular systems, we are helping thyssenkrupp Steel to achieve new IT infrastructures quickly, securely and economically at almost any part of the company's premises. The advantages of the Rittal’s RDCC solution lie in its high physical security, rapid availability and a modular structure that is based on pre-configured components,” added Christian Ludwig, Vice President of the Global Business Unit IT at Rittal.

Data is transforming the steel industry

Data has become an important economic factor, and this also applies to the steel industry too. This is based on highly advanced process automation and more than 40 years of experience in the digital monitoring and automated control of industrial plants as IT and manufacturing continue to merge.

This combination of state-of-the-art technologies from the “IoT” and big data environments with the data from hundreds of thousands of sensors already installed in the systems now enables product quality, process efficiency and plant availability to be monitored on-site and in near-real-time on the basis of high-resolution data analysis.

Simultaneously, this opens up many new opportunities to network with customers, suppliers and service providers along the value chain. Now, thyssenkrupp Steel is meeting the growing demand for IT systems by installing new Edge Data Centers (EDCs) from Rittal near where the data is generated.

“At the start of the project, we initially analysed, together with thyssenkrupp Steel, the goals to be achieved by Rittal edge data centres. Then we determined the necessary specifications in a targeted way. The modular design of the Rittal Edge Data Center gives thyssenkrupp Steel the flexibility to adapt its IT environment quickly to future needs,” explained Michael Nicolai, Rittal’s Sales Manager IT Germany. “The edge systems are built in sturdy steel containers, fitted with security doors and allow a detailed monitoring of the many relevant parameters, including access control, fire protection and reliability,” Mr Nicolai continued.

Outlook

Rittal Edge Data Centers offer flexible and scalable foundations for secure, highly available and standardised IT infrastructures in a production environment. For thyssenkrupp Steel, this is the suitable basis for an increasingly comprehensive automation of production IT and a state-of-the-art data centre technology.

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