Navigating a Seamless Transition with Simplicity as a strategic requirement: from NodeRED to Crosser in less than 5 weeks for 14 production lines.
Blechwarenfabrik Limburg GmbH, one of the leading producers of chemical-technical packaging, started a journey to optimize their production and palletizing process through smart manufacturing initiatives.
The strategic requirements for their digital transformation were simplicity, flexibility and agility. Which led Blechwarenfabrik Limburg to look for proven Low-code solutions on the market.
“Blechwarenfabrik Limburg wanted to simplify integrations and data automation. A simple and flexible Low-code middleware that could accelerate their digital initiatives“ says Kai Schwab, Director DACH, Crosser
With more than 500 employees and production plants in Germany, Poland, and Denmark, Blechwarenfabrik Limburg sought a solution to support their factory floor integration projects.
The first use case to engage was to speed up the data delivery for a palletizing process by complementing the existing architecture with a data fast-track to the palletizing server. Because the legacy data setup delayed the whole process and created a bottleneck in the production.
Already in the start of the transformation project, the management team identified a need of simplifying the connectivity and development of asset integrations. Focusing on creating business values, instead of spending unnecessary time and resources on integration and communication with industrial protocols, they looked for a solution with readily available connectors and data transformation modules.
The logical choice by then was NodeRED, an open source platform selected to connect data between production lines and the Warehouse Management System (WMS) using Low-code and pre-built connectors and analytics modules. The primary objective was to enhance the efficiency of the production and palletizing processes. However, as the team implemented various use cases, it became evident that NodeRED was not performing as desired.
The performance and reliability of the NodeRED OPC-connectors emerged as stumbling blocks, directly impacting the company's production capabilities.
This situation led them to search for a more reliable and flexible solution with someone that could provide support when needed. That was when Alexander Jung , the Head of IT, approached Crosser to replace NodeRED.
“The Node-Red setup was not stable, causing issues and losing information. For this project, we've moved from daily process downtimes to achieving nearly zero downtimes with the implementation of Crosser” says Alexander Jung , the Head of IT at Blechwarenfabrik Limburg GmbH
According to Mr Jung, “Simplicity was a strategic requirement, and the reason why we decided to start working with Crosser. We needed a solution we could trust—something reliable, flexible, and easy to use. Crosser not only simplified our processes but also ensured that our development is more reliable."
Transition from NodeRED to Crosser
The team was already familiar with the concept, and could easily adapt to the Crosser method of implementing intelligent data integration flows on the factory floor.
“The rich library of connectors and analytics modules made it very simple to connect, transform and integrate to designated systems. Even protocols like Modbus that we didn’t have any previous experience of…” says Alexander Jung , the Head of IT at Blechwarenfabrik Limburg GmbH
Value and Outcomes with Crosser
The results speak for themselves - Crosser provided Blechwarenfabrik Limburg with a more reliable system compared to NodeRED. The time required and maintenance cost associated decreased significantly with Crosser’s centralized platform, offering easier versioning, management, and orchestration. The reusability and scalability of Crosser’s FlowApp templates allowed the replication of use cases across different production lines.
“Their learning curve was very short, due to their experience with NodeRED. The only new experiences were the deployment of the Crosser Node (runtime) and designated flows. Which they learned to appreciate very quickly” says David Nienhaus, Senior Solutions Engineer at Crosser.
The Way Forward
Encouraged by their achievements, Blechwarenfabrik Limburg plans to implement more use cases with Crosser. The next use cases in the roadmap involve:
- Power consumption for compressors, (compressed air) - see the relation between power consumption related to the production. Needed for environmental, social, and governance (ESG) principles.
- Predictive Maintenance; prevent wheel issues by monitoring and analyzing vibrations and other anomalies for Automated Guided Vehicles (AGV).
- Monitor and analyze the production lines for anomalies.
“Working so closely with the Crosser team, we quickly understood that they had experience within many industrial use cases, like energy monitoring and data automation for example. Which aligns with our road map for those areas. ” says Christoph Weber, CTO at Blechwarenfabrik Limburg GmbH
The collaboration between Blechwarenfabrik Limburg and Crosser, stands as a great example of how strategic initiative can be simplified with a proven Low-code solution.
Showcasing that the transition from a pilot platform into a more reliable solution can be both agile and cost effective. Due to the fact that Crosser fits any architecture, and can adapt to almost any integration use case - in parallel to the systems already in place.
Blechwarenfabrik Limburg GmbH is one of the leading producer for chemical-technical packaging with over 140 years of tradition.
The company is with more than 500 employees one of the biggest industrial employers in the region of Limburg and offers lots of challenging jobs and trainings in different fields.
The meaning of tradition is for us the solidarity with Limburg following the mind of our founder Joseph Heppel. Big investments in modernization and environmental protection in our headquarter in Limburg showing that we are and will be a reliable partner in the region.
The meaning of innovation is for us to follow market requirements and to safeguard the business of Blechwarenfabrik Limburg GmbH with new products and international cooperation. Continuing that business policy Blechwarenfabrik Limburg GmbH managed it despite all commercial crises to be a dependable and healthy partner for customers and suppliers and to be a safe employer at any time.
Crosser designs and develops a hybrid-first Streaming Analytics & Integration software for any Cloud, On-premise or Edge. The Crosser Platform enables real-time processing of streaming, event-driven or batch data for Intelligent Pipelines & Automations and for Industrial IoT data flows. All managed from a single Control Center and powered by a low-code and low-effort experience.
The solution is built to fight complexity with simplicity through the Crosser Flow Studio, the visual design tool that enables teams to innovate faster than ever without developers. The software is ideally suited for Enterprise customers of various industries and applications, including Edge Analytics, Industrial Connectivity, Industry 4.0, Streaming Analytics, Hybrid Integration and Intelligent Workflows.