Managed Machine Network Leverages Digi for Security and Scalability in IoT Automation

Managed Machine Network
"Digi Remote Manager is also a key component of our solution. It helps us manage large numbers of routers that reside in very remote locations. We can provision and maintain those devices very easily and consistently. This saves us hundreds of hours of manual work – which translates to major cost reduction."

Barry Kalshoven, Managing Director

Powered by Digi Remote Manager® and Digi’s suite of industrial cellular routers, Managed Machine Network’s “Ada” system creates a reliable, secure, and highly automated VPN network, which can be set up and managed by any authorized user. This machine-as-a-service enables automation of IoT devices, machines, SCADA servers, and more — anywhere in the world — in real time, with no required IT knowledge.

Harnessing the Power of Automation

Network management
From gleaming factories churning out microchips and smartphones, to farms that produce rising yields of crops, to hydroelectric dams, modern transit centers, and robot-powered warehouses, the future belongs to companies that can capitalize on greater interconnectivity and smart automation. The “Industry 4.0” revolution will transform how businesses operate, delivering unprecedented speed, precision, and productivity.

Eyeing the complex management requirements of that connected future, Netherlands-based Managed Machine Networks, has focused on the importance of ease-of-use, automation, security, scalability and remote management. Its breakthrough machine-as-a-service offering called “Ada” provides the first scalable, fully automated VPN solution that globally connects machines into a real-time Industry 4.0 network to harness the power of automation.

Most importantly, Ada is designed to allow any authorized user to set up and manage the system, add devices, connect to systems like SCADA and PLCs, even if they have no IT knowledge. This is one key to scalability, ensuring organizations can grow and manage their networks without over-burdening IT staff. Additionally, it eliminates human error.
Why MMN?

A cornerstone of the Ada solution is Digi Remote Manager (Digi RM), the command center for an intelligent wireless network. Digi RM lets companies easily configure and monitor thousands of mission-critical devices from a single point of command, establish edge computing capabilities, and perform troubleshooting and out-of-band management tasks.

The solution also relies on Digi industrial connectivity solutions, including Digi WR31, Digi IX10 and IX20 industrial routers. The integrated solution reliably and securely connects people, machines and data — anywhere, anytime — enabling administrators on both the IT and OT side of the organization to rapidly deploy secure, fully automated networks.

“We conducted extensive testing before choosing Digi’s routers,” said Arnaud de Klerk, Product Manager at MMN. “We brought in modems from several assemblers, disassembled them, tested them, and tried to break into them. Only Digi could provide the security and the scalability we needed for our service.”

“Digi Remote Manager is also a key component of our solution,” said Barry Kalshoven, Managing Director at MMN. “It helps us manage large numbers of routers that reside in very remote locations. We can provision and maintain those devices very easily and consistently. This saves us hundreds of hours of manual work — which translates to major cost reduction.”

A Managed IoT Network

Managed Machine Network configurationLeveraging the Digi RM platform and Digi routers, Managed Machine Network’s Ada provides connectivity from the machine to the Internet through a secure VPN connection to the cloud, forming a deployment in which every connected programmable logic controller (PLC) and HMI are bi-directionally accessible. This VPN lets customers easily control the PLCs and HMIs. Ada collects data from equipment made by Schneider Electric, ABB, Hitachi, Mitsubishi, Siemens, Oron and many other brands in the machine dashboard.

“You can easily add a SCADA server to the network and use it to create the first report and perform analyses,” said de Klerk. “And Ada integrates with open source products such as Node-RED, so it’s easy and cost-effective to collect data from all kinds of sources such as machines, CSV files, APIs and IoT systems.

“We can also collect data outside the MMN network through LoRaWAN. And we can collect this data centrally and make it transparent in the same dashboard. For example, you can get meteorological data from a website and integrate it into analyses and reports for business intelligence.”

Optimizing Pig Farming with Ada

High-tech farm
Managed Machine Network’s biggest implementation to date has been for a major pig farm in the Netherlands, where farmers want to collect data on the environment using sensors that measure CO2, ammonia, and methane as well monitor electrical service, solar panels, ventilation and more.

“This farm has a broad footprint in a harsh environment,” explained Kalshoven. “That can make it challenging to gather sensor data. Digi RM manages the routers, while Ada sits atop Digi RM and provides remote management of the sensors, HMIs, and PLCs. To the administrator, it feels like you’re standing right next to the device.”

Each farm is home to one server from Managed Machine Network that can be directly interrogated through a bidirectional web interface. A dashboard shows live access to all information from all sensors. “The flexibility, scalability, and security of our solution built with Digi’s integrated hardware and software means we can connect to just about any server or any device and access it and manage it remotely — anything with an Internet connection — with nothing to reconfigure.”

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