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Ensuring IT security in the Smart Mini Factory

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Ensuring IT security in the Smart Mini Factory

Endian chosen by the Free University of Bolzano to guarantee the IT security of the Smart Mini Factory, a laboratory for applied research and teaching in the field of Industry 4.0. The goal is to create a platform where researchers, students and industry meet to allow the transfer of knowledge from research to industry. The focus of the Smart Mini Factory, inaugurated in 2018, is to study and simulate modern and advanced concepts of technologies and production methods in the context of industry 4.0. The focus is particularly on the needs of SMEs in the fields of hybrid, human-centric manufacturing and assembly systems. In addition to robotics and mechatronics for industrial automation.

Endian security technology

Like any networked reality, smart factories offer a large attack surface for cybercriminals. For this reason, the Free University of Bolzano has secured its Smart Mini Factory by relying on the Endian Secure Digital Platform security technology. In addition to comprehensive IT security, the platform enables the use of edge computing and role-based user access and permission management.

Ensuring more IT security for smart factories

Erwin Rauch, a capo della Smart Mini Factory
With Endian Secure Digital Platform we protect our educational laboratory. At the same time we demonstrate to companies and students what IT security can be implemented in networked production environments.

Raphael Vallazza, CEO of Endian
With its many network nodes, every smart factory offers a large attack surface for cybercriminals. Therefore IT security must be considered as a key issue for any smart factory.

Granularly coordinated IT security

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A cyber attack on a networked factory can be life-threatening in extreme cases. Think of the case of an employee who is near an oncoming car activated suddenly from a cyber attack. For this reason, the University of Bolzano opted for network segmentation and separated some Smart Mini Factory machines from the general network via Endian 4i Edge X IoT security gateways.

Smart Mini Factory

Ensure IT security

Through several coordinated security functions, the gateways simultaneously protect the network infrastructure from cyber attacks. A virtual private network (VPN) allows for secure remote access and network encryption. All data entering and leaving the network is analyzed using Deep Packet Inspection (DPI) capabilities. If an attacker manages to overcome the firewall, an intrusion detection system (IDS) automatically detects the attack and the intrusion prevention system (IPS) blocks it.

Some examples

In the Smart Mini Factory several systems are connected to gateways. Such as an intelligent transport system from Montratec, a collaborative robot from Universal Robots (model UR10), the industrial robot Adept Quattro from Omron and another industrial robot from ABB. Also created units independently, such as an intelligent warehouse and a quality control station, are networked via gateways. In addition, each shuttle on the conveyor line is equipped with edge computing capabilities to achieve precise positioning in space. And this thanks to the decentralized collection and processing of data collected by inertial measurement units (IMU – Inertial Measurement Unit).

How to ensure IT security

In addition to the gateways, the Endian Secure Digital Platform also includes the Switchboard, a centralized management tool for the platform. It can be used to create and manage granular administration of role-based user access and permissions. It can be used to create realistic user groups in the Smart Mini Factory, simulating the presence of different users in a business type scenario to provide greater authenticity.

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