Etteplan’s private network as a service enables the smart factory of the future at Danfoss

Wednesday, April 22, 2020
  • Danfoss is the first company in Finland to use a private LTE network from Etteplan at its factory in Vaasa.
  • Private networks based on mobile technology are becoming more commonly used in large production plants, mines, terminals, and hospital complexes.
  • Etteplan’s connectivity service accelerates digitalization and ensures a high level of availability, performance, and information security for network services in a cost-efficient manner.

Danfoss is piloting a private LTE network provided by Etteplan at its factory in Vaasa in a one-year project that began in January this year. By deploying the highly reliable wireless private network, Danfoss aims to improve productivity and workplace safety, expand the services Danfoss offers to its customers, and enable one component for the smart factory of the future.

The pilot project utilizes Etteplan’s connectivity service, in which the customer gets a 5G-ready LTE private network on a turnkey principle in exchange for a start-up fee and a monthly payment.

“At Danfoss, our aim is to use the private network to improve plant productivity. We want our factories to run more efficiently. A private LTE network enables us to collect a larger amount of data, as well as new kinds of data. Another incentive is operational safety. The network enables us to transmit video and detect potential hazards with the help of machine vision applications,” says Jari Marjo, Head of Global Technology, Supply Chain at Danfoss Drives.

Etteplan’s LTE private network accelerates digitalization by enabling the efficient integration of physical systems with business-critical processes in various industries. A private network is especially well suited for large factories, mines, logistics terminals, ports, and hospital complexes, since comprehensive network solutions based on other technologies can turn out to be expensive or difficult. The ability to transmit data with low latency also enables real-time processing and analysis with the help of edge computing.

“A private network connectivity service provides the customer with easy and cost-efficient access to state-of-the-art mobile technology. The infrastructure is completely local, which ensures a high level of availability, performance, and information security for network services. A special advantage of this technology is the ability to transmit data from moving equipment,” says Technology Director Jaakko Ala-Paavola from Etteplan.

Etteplan’s service is delivered as an end-to-end solution that includes network design, base stations, the management server, terminal devices with SIM cards, and network maintenance. Etteplan partners with Nokia and Edzcom (formerly Ukkoverkot) in the provision of private LTE networks. As the solution provider, Etteplan is responsible for all the necessary hardware and software integration.

“In most use cases, despite its name, a private network does not necessarily mean a fully closed environment. Its true value only emerges when you apply ecosystem thinking. When the same network is used by a group of organizations that operate in the same ecosystem, the benefits of the network are multiplied. A port with many different operators is a good example of such an environment,” Ala-Paavola explains.

The private network transmits large quantities of data to support proactive maintenance

During the pilot project as a user of Etteplan’s private network, Danfoss will study the benefits of a private network not only at its factory, which produces frequency converters under the VACON® brand, but also in the product development of the products and services it provides to its customers.

“The primary purpose is to understand when a device is close to malfunctioning. This refers to proactive maintenance and the related analysis and diagnostics. In our first customer pilot, our goal is to replace the current data transmission network of our large factory complex with a private network that will solve problems related to data transmission capacity, costs, and density,” says Marjo from Danfoss.

The private network supports the company’s goal of moving towards the smart factory of the future, in which data from devices can strengthen decision-making and the physical structures of the factory are easier to change due to reduced cabling needs.

“The acquisition and maintenance of the network is very clear and simple because Etteplan takes care of everything. This allows us to focus on developing our factory and serving our customers,” Marjo adds.


Danfoss in brief

Danfoss develops technologies that can do more with less, smarter and more efficiently in the future. Vaasa is one of the most important R&D and manufacturing sites for the Danfoss Drives business. In the marine and offshore business, Danfoss is one of the world’s largest manufacturers of AC drives, especially for electric propulsion and hybrid propeller systems.

The Danfoss Group employs nearly 28,000 people worldwide and serves customers in over 100 countries. In 2018, the company had net sales of EUR 6.1 billion. Danfoss is headquartered in Nordborg, Denmark, with Finnish offices in Helsinki, Espoo, Lappeenranta, Tampere, Vaasa and Vantaa.


Etteplan in brief

Etteplan provides solutions for industrial equipment and plant engineering, software and embedded solutions, and technical documentation solutions to the world’s leading companies in the manufacturing industry. Etteplan’s services are geared to improve the competitiveness of their customers’ products, services and engineering processes throughout the product life cycle. The results of Etteplan’s innovative engineering can be seen in numerous industrial solutions and everyday products.

In 2019, Etteplan’s revenue totaled approximately EUR 263 million. The company currently has over 3,400 professionals in Finland, Sweden, the Netherlands, Germany, Poland and China. Etteplan’s shares are listed on Nasdaq Helsinki Ltd under the ETTE ticker.