The two companies are building a secure data transmission platform to connect Zeiss devices (e.g. measuring machines) in the field to higher level systems within the Industry 4.0 environment, with Zeiss’ goal being to explore the potential of end-to-end data links for applications such as analytics and maintenance. Coordinate measuring machines (CMMs) will be a key part of the Smart Factory, says the company.

Together with Cisco, Zeiss is developing the required network infrastructure, laying the foundation for new digital services, with Cisco contributing the secure connectivity platform.

Zeiss customers are already able to analyse process and quality data using Zeiss' PiWeb software, but via the new initiative they will be able to securely connect and transfer their data across sites and supply chains, enabling the initiation of measures to optimise manufacturing.

"Networked intelligent systems that enable the results to be correlated in real time, calculated and visualized: these will become even more important in the Smart Factory," says Andrzej Grzesiak, senior director of Metrology Systems at Zeiss. CMMs provide 'a master plan' for the other measuring methods because of their extreme precisio, the company adds, with even small, networked solutions enabling metrology engineers "to digitalise their day-to-day measuring jobs and network data to make analyses more reliable and efficient".

The new connectivity will also “allow the fast provisioning of global services to customers, such as remote subject matter expert and help-desk support”.