The Servicebox provides secure remote access to machines for machine builders and system integrators on demand.
The Servicebox is a joint development of METICS and Hydac. The Servicebox is part of a white-label platform from METICS, where Hydac is the first customer to brand it and started with the production and distribution of it.
Hydac is originally a German company, but now has locations throughout the world, including six in the Netherlands. With more than 10,000 employees worldwide, HYDAC is a leading manufacturer of hydraulic components, subsystems and systems for both mobile and stationary applications. Hydac's components, subsystems and systems can be found in all industries, in offshore and maritime applications and in mobile hydraulics.
Hydac was looking for a device that would allow it to establish a secure remote VPN connection with a machine at the touch of a button to provide remote service. This device had to be easy to attach to the machine and set up a 1 on 1 network. Hydac also wanted someone to be physically present at the machine to make the connection. In addition, the device had to be completely waterproof so that it can also be placed outside. The Servicebox also had to be able to function as a Codesys Gateway, so that Codesys devices mounted behind the Servicebox can also be accessed. The combination of these different factors was not yet available on the market.
METICS developed an electrical device that can be placed in the control cabinet of a machine. This Hydac version of the Servicebox is waterproof and can therefore also be placed outside. M12 connectors are placed on the outside of the Servicebox with which an Ethernet connection can be made. In addition, there is internal and external WiFi with which a connection can be made using a hotspot, for example from your mobile phone. A USB device can also be connected to the Servicebox ,for example to read out a canbus via a remote connection. To be able to connect to this Servicebox, a cloud server is available. This cloud server connects to the Servicebox. When they are connected, it is possible to connect to this cloud server from a laptop. METICS itself also took full responsibility for the development of the software available on the laptop, in the cloud server and in the Servicebox. The cloud server runs on Linux software and the software on the laptop is Windows related. However, this platform was developed in such a way that it can be adapted to the wishes of the customer. This is a perfect example of an IoT connection.
To meet Hydac's customer-oriented requirements, METICS also took care of the product design. This makes the housing completely watertight by means of an injection mold and easy to place on a machine. To ensure that someone is physically present at the machine when a connection has to be made, a push button has been made on the interface, which means that a WiFi connection must be made actively. Hydac has opted for this so as not to keep the devices online all the time, which means they want to reduce the risk of network breaches.
Hydac has received a customer-oriented solution according to the wishes they had beforehand. The Servicebox meets all aspects that were requested and the custom-made housing remains the property of Hydac, allowing them to market it as their own product. In addition, METICS is also satisfied with the development that has been carried out together. They retain the rights of the Servicebox. Future customers can use the software and embedded systems in collaboration with METICS for their own customer-specific product. The Servicebox has contributed to the development of industrial automation.