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Volkswagen – Digital Production Platform Service: Shopfloor Integration Management

IoT Use Case - Portainer.io + Volkswagen
4 minutes Reading time
4 minutes Reading time

Shopfloor Integration Management (SIM) delivers a high available end to end connectivity as a service and infrastructure solution that starts on southbound shopfloor level by enabling direct device connectivity and goes till the enabling of cloud or shop floor system connectivity. SIM also delivers a high available container runtime for individual applications. An essential component of SIM is Portainer, that enables VW’s purchased and self-developed applications to be easily and securely managed on the corresponding infrastructure of SIM.

Architecture Shopfloor Integration Managements
General architecture of Shopfloor Integration Mangement


Before the release of SIM, the missing of standardization resulted in high investment costs and high personnel costs. This can be illustrated using the example of setting up a new device. The initial provisioning of the device was performed by the local maintenance staff. After connecting the device, the software was installed via USB, the device was configured and finally checked for functionality. After the initial setup, it was assumed that the device would not cause any issues in production for as long as possible. When an error occurred, the local maintenance staff needed to check the device at the shopfloor and, if necessary, reset it. The explained process shows the related effort and avoidable costs. Regarding thousands of shopfloor devices in different brands of the Volkswagen Group the potential cost saving becomes clear. In the past, different suppliers developed individual solutions for solving those challenges. That led to a strong dependence on particular products. Those individual solutions are often not compatible with other products and only partially able to be integrated to VW environments. When scaling those solutions, a vendor lock-in is unavoidable.


With the introduction of SIM a solution is available, that supports shopfloor teams with the lifecycle management of their devices and helps to simplify maintenance processes. SIM was developed for loT data with low to intermediate frequencies and enables a highly automated application management, that is based on a production-oriented user interface. Every shopfloor device that supports container technology can be integrated into SIM. Each component will be set up by SIM as a microservice which is managed by Portainer. loT applications can be deployed remotely via the user interface. The interface also provides information about each specific device to the end user. This paves the way for an IT asset management. In a first step, a public cloud connector was published that queries data from the shopfloor. The shopfloor data is collected, e.g., via Softing’s edgeConnectors, preprocessed,filtered and afterwards transferred to the Digital Production Platform (DPP), VW’s own cloud project to increase productivity in production and logistics across its plants.

Thus, SIM is a scalable solution which ensures that only the required information is forwarded to the platform and unnecessary costs are eliminated. In addition, due to the strategic decision to only rely on standardized interfaces, protocols and technology like software containers, a vendor lock-in is avoided. This is fostered by Portainer being container runtime and orchestrator agnostic.

Microservice Architecture
Microservices architecture of Shopfloor Integration Mangement

All in all, SIM delivers a containerized connectivity as a service solution that can be used in combination with an application runtime for shopfloor specific use cases.

The SIM support team enables a local installation of SIM in two weeks and support in terms of operations. The currently implemented 2 major DPP use cases are “VW2 Assembly Control” and “Optimization Filling Equipment”, but the SIM-Team also supports hosting and the provisioning of the necessary connectivity for several on premise applications.

The whole project team of SIM is proud of its outstanding achievements. Torsten Volkmar (VW SIM Project Team) and Tobias Mühlnikel (CPO & CTO Edge Business Unit, Portainer.io) are available as contacts in case of any further question.

(Image source: Volkswagen)

In application

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