Colfax is a leading diversified industrial technology company that provides products and services to commercial and governmental organizations across a wide range of industries, through two business platforms: Howden, a manufacturer of precision air and gas handling equipment, and ESAB, a producer of welding and cutting equipment and consumables.
As with many industrials, Colfax’s wide range of assets and the long service life of the equipment pose challenges in terms of state of IoT-readiness and complexity of deployment patterns. Colfax also utilises a lean and federated management process, with growth through acquisition as a key strategy, which equates to a very a heterogenous automation infrastructure and IoT practices across businesses.
Colfax launched its internal program, Data Driven Advantage (DDA™), focused on building value and differentiation into existing products with digital technologies, as well as creating new opportunities. IoT and related technologies would enable Colfax and its Howden and ESAB businesses to better enhance product functionality, create added value for customers and stakeholders, and enhance value from future acquisitions. However, when digitally-enabling its various product lines, Colfax experienced many of the
typical roadblocks that impede transformation efforts, limiting both scope and impact.
Colfax sought out a ready-built IoT solution that could integrate seamlessly across business units and geographies, support industry-leading cloud offerings for centralised data sharing, offer flexible deployment options, and serve as the foundation of its IoT initiatives.
After researching and evaluating several offerings, Colfax proceeded with an integrated solution comprised of PTC’s ThingWorx Industrial Innovation Platform and Microsoft Azure IoT.
Colfax chose to leverage the cloud as the foundation for its IoT initiatives and selected Microsoft Azure for its superior ability to address varied deployment configurations and for its deep understanding and expertise delivering industrial solutions that drive its technology vision. Azure IoT offers a rich set of built-in connectivity and device security features, which would enable reliable and secure bidirectional communication between millions of IoT devices - whether in cloud, on-premise, or hybrid deployments.
Colfax selected PTC’s ThingWorx Industrial Innovation Platform for PTC’s position as a leader and innovator in IoT, and for its scalability, breadth of portfolio, and global reach. The ThingWorx platform would essentially “future-proof” its operations – Colfax would be able to easily add and integrate the latest IoT innovations and platform functionality into its solutions while still maintaining focus on its core business operations.
For Colfax, ThingWorx and Azure together provided a simple, but powerful solution – offering strength in industrial connectivity, rapid application development, and built-in integration capabilities. It was important to Colfax and its business units to be able to integrate the solution easily into existing systems to streamline processes, prevent unnecessary challenges or errors, and more easily ensure security. Furthermore, considering the varied environments across its customer base, it was important to Colfax to select technologies that would be easily integrated by its customers as well. ThingWorx and Microsoft Azure IoT was ideal solution to meet these requirements.
Since implementing ThingWorx as part of their DDA strategies, both Howden and ESAB have quickly advanced their digital transformation journeys. What the businesses previously spent years working on developing in-house is now being seamlessly rolled out, in some cases, in a matter of months. With the flexibility and scalability of ThingWorx and Azure, both business units are building and delivering cutting edge products – and retrofitting previous versions – to enhance functionality with powerful new capabilities and deliver added value to customers.
By incorporating ThingWorx and Microsoft Azure IoT into its products, Colfax has enabled new visibility into manufacturing equipment data transforming how it services and supports its products. With the flexibility of the ThingWorx platform, Colfax can continue to expand the digital capabilities of products to deliver more value to customers.
Ryan Calahane Vice President, Digital Growth, Colfax, comented:
“"ThingWorx not only supports our existing businesses, but can also contribute to more rapid integration of acquisitions. With ThingWorx and Microsoft Azure IoT, we can focus more on what we do best and improve customer experience.”