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WZL and Dell Technologies strengthen pre-competitive cooperation 

  Machine with six nodes Copyright: © Insight into the six nodes Edge Computing Cluster in the machine hall at WZL's Rotter Bruch

Since the summer of 2018, the Division of Digital Transformation at the Chair of Manufacturing Technology at the Laboratory for Machine Tools and Production Engineering (WZL) of RWTH Aachen University and Dell Technologies have been working together within a pre-competitive program, the Early Adopter Program EAP2. In a virtualized environment, the basic suitability of a new data streaming reference architecture developed by Dell Technologies for industrial big data applications was tested across borders between several Dell Technologies sites in Seattle, Neuss and Frankfurt and with the WZL staff in Aachen. For this purpose, real industrial data sets of an industrial large-scale production plant Feintool XFT 2500 speed were used for safety-critical metal components of the WZL's incubator fineblanking. With a theoretical data rate of several gigabits per second, a multitude of data types as well as data volumes of several terabytes per day, the incubator fineblanking is an ideal challenger for batch and streaming architectures for structured and unstructured data analysis.

The further cooperation between WZL and Dell Technologies now plans to implement the virtual preliminary work as a real application in the machine hall at Rotter Bruch. There, the existing Edge Computing Cluster from Dell Technologies will be extended by a flight rack with a computing power of 240 processor cores, 1.5 TB RAM and 6 Tesla P100 GPU graphics cards. In addition to a Dell EMC Isilon NAS storage, the flight rack also contains the developed reference architecture for Big Data Streaming Analytics based on a HCI solution. The aim of the collaboration is to process the data streams coming from the mass production plant in approximate real time using the extended edge computing cluster and to explore valuable insights for improved process control.

Everyone wins through such projects. Dell Technologies receives important feedback to improve its pre-competitive development based on a unique field study and we can significantly extend the process limits of the investigated manufacturing process based on unknown patterns. Both will ultimately benefit the future user in daily practice.

Dr.-Ing. Dipl.-Wirt.Ing. Daniel Trauth, Chief Engineer and Head of the Division for Digital Transformation at WZL

WZL and Dell Technologies also work together on other strategic issues. IoT experts from Dell Technologies were inspired to participate in an important lecture for the Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium AWK in May 2020 based on these results.