5. Moving to Production

Move the United Manufacturing Hub to production.

The next big step is to use the UMH on a virtual machine or an edge device in your production and connect your production assets. However, we understand that you might want to understand a little bit more about the United Manufacturing Hub first. So, you can either read more about our product, deep-dive into your local installation, or continue with the deployment in production. You can use the guide below to get started with the UMH in production and connect a few machines to a single instance.

Check out our community

We are quite active on GitHub and Discord. Feel free to join, introduce yourself and share your best-practices and experiences.

Learn more about the United Manufacturing Hub

If you like reading more about its features and architecture, check out the following chapters:

  • Features to understand the capabilities of the United Manufacturing Hub and learn how to use them
  • Architecture to learn what is behind the United Manufacturing Hub and how everything works together

If reading is not your thing, you can always …

Set up a first instance and connect to a few machines

If you want to get a first impression of the UMH in a production environment, you can connect to a few machines on your shopfloor and read their data through a single UMH instance. To enable a UMH instance to read machine data, it must be run on an edge device such as an industrial PC, or a virtual machine (VM). The exact process depends on your specific hardware but here is a general guide:

  1. Choose between and edge device or an IPC: Your UMH instance has to reach your machines over the network. You might need to ask your IT if this is possible and maybe change some network settings. Using an edge device might be easier since it can be physically placed in the same network as the machine, a VM could be trickier because the server might not have direct network access. On the other hand, setting up a VM is simpler, without the need of new hardware, if you have access to a server.

  2. Find out what protocol your machines use: You need this information to access their data in Node-RED. Most likely, it’s OPC UA. Here is a list of the supported protocols and how to connect them to Node-RED.

  3. Once you have decided if a Vm or an Edge device suits your situation better, you can start the installation process by clicking on the + Add Device button in the general overview of all instances inside the Management Console.

  4. Select the right panel Production Deployment - Edge, Cloud & VM and click on the blue continue button in the right bottom corner.

  5. Chose the VM or Edge Deice panel, depending on your choice and click on continue again. Follow the instruction to set up your instance.

  6. When you are done and the instance is running, remember to place it in the same network as your machines. The same applies for the device that is running the Management Console.

  7. Click on the tile of the new instance inside the overview and open the Node-RED popup. Use this list to learn how to connect your machines to Node-RED. If the provided help is not sufficient, you can ask for help on our Discord.

  8. Use Node-RED to generate a new dataflow by using your machines┬┤ data as input. You can use this collected data in other tools, for example to build a dashboard in Grafana.

Play around with it locally

If you want to try around locally, we recommend you try out the following topics.

Grafana Canvas

If you’re interested in creating visually appealing Grafana dashboards, you might want to try Grafana-Canvas. In our previous blog article, we explained why Grafana-Canvas is a valuable addition to your standard Grafana dashboard. If you’d like to learn how to build one, check out our tutorial.

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OPC/UA-Simulator

If you want to get a good overview of how the OPC/UA protocol works and how to connect it to the UMH, the OPC/UA-simulator is a useful tool. Detailed instructions can be found in this guide.

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PackML-Simulator

For those looking to get started with PackML, the PackML Simulator is another helpful simulator. Check out our tutorial on how to create a Node-RED flow with PackML data.

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Benthos

Benthos is a highly scalable data manipulation and IT connection tool. If you’re interested in learning more about it, check out our tutorial.

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Kepware

At times, you may need to connect different, older protocols. In such cases, KepwareServerEx can help bridge the gap between these older protocols and the UMH. If you’re interested in learning more, check out our tutorial.

Deployment to production

Ready to go to production? Go install it!

Follow our step-by-step tutorial on how to install the UMH on an edge device or an virtual machine using Flatcar. We’ve also written a blog article explaining why we use Flatcar as the operating system for the industrial IoT, which you can find here.

Make sure to check out our advanced production guides, which include detailed instructions on how to secure your setup and how to best integrate with your infrastructure.