Fragmentation to Centralization: How HUBER+SUHNER streamlined Data Analysis and Compliance Efforts

HUBER+SUHNER is a Swiss-based company that delivers high-performance products for Radio Frequency, Fiber Optics and Low Frequency segments. HUBER+SUHNER products are known for their quality, reliability and long service life even under the toughest of conditions. The company was established in 1969 through the merger of R. + E. Huber AG and Suhner & Co. AG (founded in 1882 and 1905).

Challenge One

HUBER+SUHNER faced a critical challenge in optimizing their operations: the fragmented collection of production data across multiple local databases at various production sites. This cumbersome process required data analysts to individually log in and retrieve data from each location, consuming valuable time and impeding efficient data analysis. Additionally, the decentralized nature of the data hindered cross-sectional analysis, limiting the ability to gain comprehensive insights. Moreover, as production volumes will increase over the next years, the existing local databases are inadequate for long-term, cost-effective data storage. To overcome these hurdles, a solution was needed to centralize data collection efficiently while minimizing costs per unit.

Challenge Two

Due to contractual obligations, HUBER+SUHNER also faced the need to ensure comprehensive auditability of their entire production history. Process engineers faced the complex task of retrieving all process data related to a specific part’s manufacturing by querying over production orders and/or serial numbers. This data had to span across multiple years, enabling accurate traceability for audit requests. A robust traceability solution was indispensable to address this crucial requirement, since the semi-finished products do not have markings and were stored in trays to be ready for the next process step. Therefore, process and quality data had to be linked to individual parts over the whole process chain.

The solution

HUBER+SUHNER made a strategic decision to partner with Option 4.0, embarking on a transformative journey towards system architecture development, system building, and operations. Together with the HUBER+SUHNER team, we devised an ingenious solution that addresses the challenges at hand, while aligning with our shared objectives.

Our solution revolves around the seamless acquisition of data from on-plant systems, facilitating its transmission to a centralized database for long-term storage and analysis. Recognizing the scale of the problem, our joint decision led us to implement this cutting-edge solution on the robust Microsoft Azure cloud platform. Leveraging Azure’s extensive suite of services, including IoT Hub and Azure Data Explorer, we acquire and store terabytes of data at a reasonable cost in a reliable manner.

At the heart of our solution lies a distributed architecture, composed of key components carefully designed to deliver reliable results:

  1. Azure Edge runtime takes center stage, serving as the conduit between on-plant production systems and data acquisition. This powerful edge solution not only establishes secure connections to the Azure cloud but also ensures data integrity by queuing messages in local storage, aiming for zero data loss even in the face of transient network failures. Moreover, its advanced message batching capabilities streamline the transmission of large data volumes to the cloud, optimizing efficiency and performance.
  2. A custom-developed Azure Edge module acts as a pivotal protocol translator for brownfield installations, seamlessly integrating with existing on-plant systems and machinery. This module bridges the gap between disparate systems, enabling harmonious data flow and integration for enhanced insights.
  3. Azure IoT Hub assumes a vital role, offering secure connectivity to the edge devices. Its remote deployment capabilities enable efficient management and monitoring of the on-plant devices, ensuring seamless operations across all production sites. Furthermore, Azure IoT Hub acts as a central hub for acquiring messages from the edge devices, thus scaling to meet the demands of a dynamic and ever-evolving industrial landscape.
  4. Azure Data Explorer (ADX), our database of choice, emerges as the bedrock of this solution. Designed specifically for time series analysis, ADX serves as the repository for all the acquired data. With its unparalleled performance and cost-effectiveness, ADX enables data scientists to delve into the depths of the collected data, uncovering hidden patterns and driving actionable insights that improve operational excellence.

Together, our collective efforts have paved the way for HUBER+SUHNER to embrace a new era of data-driven decision-making. With our expertise in industrial IoT projects and Microsoft Azure Cloud, we have forged a solution that not only centralizes data acquisition but also unlocks the full potential of historical process data. Empower your organization to thrive in the digital age, harnessing the power of our transformative solution.


Our transformative solution empowers HUBER+SUHNER to reap a multitude of benefits, propelling their operations and traceability capacity to new levels:

  1. Compliant Traceability: HUBER+SUHNER can fulfill their contractual obligations by delivering comprehensive traceability data for the parts they produce. Our solution provides a streamlined process, enabling the retrieval of precise manufacturing data linked to specific part serial numbers, therefore bolstering customer trust.
  2. Scalability: The versatility of our solution extends far beyond traceability alone. HUBER+SUHNER gains the invaluable ability to reuse the system for acquiring telemetry data from any production location, irrespective of the business unit. This powerful platform scales to accommodate multiple use cases and diverse needs, empowering HUBER+SUHNER’s growth and flexibility in the dynamic industrial landscape.
  3. Cost-Effective Data Storage: By leveraging the economies of scale offered by the cloud, HUBER+SUHNER achieves significant cost savings in storage, especially when compared to on-prem systems. Our solution enables acquiring and storing years’ worth of historical production data without incurring exorbitant storage costs. This allows HUBER+SUHNER to maximize the value of their data and data science, as they can analyze constantly growing datasets over time.
  4. Accelerated Data Analysis: With a centralized repository powered by our solution, data scientists have access to all production data. This streamlined accessibility accelerates their work, enabling faster insights and informed decision-making. Moreover, HUBER+SUHNER can retain and utilize data for extended periods, surpassing the limitations imposed by plant databases. This prolonged data retention enhances historical trend analysis, supports predictive modeling, and drives continuous improvement initiatives.

In the words of HUBER+SUHNER:
Practical Usage in Metallized Polymer

Even if collecting data is a common trend, the concrete benefit of Metallized Polymer from the traceability of production data is remarkable. Based on the serial information of the antennas, the process steps can be traced back with the relation to their single parts. The database structure is designed to be flexible for further extensions, such as, for example, integrating upcoming additional data sources. With the Microsoft Azure platform, we have a base to create standardized views for production, quality, and engineering purpose.

With these remarkable benefits at their disposal, HUBER+SUHNER stands as a true industry leader, fortified by our transformative solution. Embrace the future of industrial IoT, where traceability, scalability, and data accessibility converge to unlock unprecedented opportunities for success.

Want to learn more about the architectural principles which accelerated this project?

Read this blog post here: Embracing the Smart Factory: A Beginner’s Guide to IIoT on Microsoft Azure – Option 4.0

Want to kick off your own Industrial IoT journey: Industrial IoT Architecture – Option 4.0

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