A specialist in manufacturing, assembly and automation, Alfing Kessler Sondermaschinen (AKS) builds transfer lines and flexible production plants for the automotive and supplying industries around the globe. Founded in 1938, AKS was joined in 1981 by its sister company Alfing Montagetechnik (AMT) at its home base in Aalen in the south of Germany. Catering to the same international customer base, AMT delivers screwdriving technology, assembly systems and automation solutions. Alfing employs some 500 people around the world under a shared holding company. To guarantee smooth production and communication across national borders, Alfing relies on a fail-safe and seamless IT infrastructure.
The shared IT department of AKS and AKM at their Aalen-Wasseralfingen site was challenged by an organically grown, heterogeneous network environment run from a redundant data centre. Yet the outdated technology was critical for production at both Alfing companies. In a nutshell, the existing infrastructure was in no condition to ensure undisrupted operations and the security of the data centre. In addition, AKS and AMT were planning to make a switch to VoIP telephony, a move that was not possible with their current network. In order to remedy all the pain points, the group was looking to implement a fail-safe network environment to dramatically improve IT service quality, performance and availability.
Bechtle’s specialists injected a wealth of expertise in technology and management into the project, allowing us to realise our new, powerful and fail-safe network in time and within budget. Thanks to Bechtle, our IT infrastructure is running smoothly and if an issue does occur, a Bechtle technician will always find a solution in no time and on site.
Dietmar Wieber, head of IT, Alfing Kessler Sondermaschinen GmbH
Bechtle designed a new 10 Gigabit Ethernet with network redundancy employing an HPE 5820-24 switch with advanced Flex chassis, which provides a unique combination of 10 Gigabit port density, high availability, and a fully-fledged layer-2 and layer-3 dual stack with IPv4 and IPv6 support plus FCoE convergence capabilities. In addition, Bechtle implemented a cost-efficient and scalable HPE 2920-48G-PoE+ switch featuring four dual-personality ports for 10/100/1000 or SFP connectivity equipped with two 10 Gigabit SFP+ modules. The switch also supports four optional 10 Gigabit Ethernet ports (SFP+ and/or 10 GBASE-T), as well as a dual port stacking module. Bechtle chose to install an HPE 2920 stacking module, which enables flexible and easy-to-implement uplinks and stacking. Small form-factor pluggable modules, often simply referred to as Mini-GBICs, ensure an Ethernet without bottlenecks. And in the event that a network component fails, they are quickly replaced and allow equipment to be repaired fast. The network is operated using the HPE Intelligent Management Center (IMC) standard software platform, which features inbuilt, modular management functions to meet all troubleshooting, configuration, billing, performance, and security requirements. IMC is based on a service-oriented architecture (SOA). All network components are backed either by a lifetime next-business-day on-site service (HPE Switch 2920 and accessories), or a 3-year next-business-day on-site (HPE 5820-24 switch) or 24×7×2 service (software) provided by Bechtle. Bechtle can thus operate the system and guarantee network availability at all times.
Using harmonised components by Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) in a new network environment, Alfing was able to stabilise IT operations and significantly reduce the risk of downtime. SLAs are in place with Bechtle to guarantee quality assurance based on pre-defined key performance indicators, and also make sure that a Bechtle technician can be deployed on short notice to troubleshoot issues on site. By outsourcing operation to Bechtle, Alfing was able to relieve its IT department of routine tasks and make much better use of its own IT resources. What’s more, the expandable HPE network is now ready for a modern VoIP solution and the companies’ future requirements.