Kunststoff Schwanden AG continues to expand its international presence with a plant in China. Further locations in other countries and continents are planned. The Schwanden site in Switzerland has also been expanded with the addition of two more production sites in the surrounding region. In this way, the specialist for plastic solutions remains closer to its customers and their needs, while the main location in Schwanden, in the canton of Glarus, remains the heart for individual customer care. The company’s IT network must support this growth by offering good configuration and scaling options, sufficient performance and multiple expansion levels - at all locations. Kunststoff Schwanden therefore wanted a new, redundant network in which switches can also fail once in a while without affecting the overall operation.
For this purpose, the access layer and core switches were to be replaced and the locations better connected. This is because in Schwanden, both the main site and the distant factory buildings as well as the two data centres are connected to the main network - via fibre optics with a gigabit line. The fine distribution is done via copper cables. The new switches have to cope with this environment with a new, redundant design so that Kunststoff Schwanden can maintain 24-hour operation without interruption. Due to Bechtle’s very good price-performance offer, its location in Switzerland, and its enormous know-how in the field of network technology, Kunststoff Schwanden decided to use HPE Aruba-CX switches and Bechtle as a service provider with the highest HPE partner status after a call for tenders.


Bechtle set up the new network of Kunststoff Schwanden AG in three physically separate data centres. This made it more secure and reduced the administration effort. Bechtle equipped two of the data centres in production with two HPE Aruba 6200F 48G Class4 Access Switches each. The servers at the production sites of Kunststoff Schwanden are connected via access ports, which in turn are bundled in Etherchannels, are connected to the data centres. This increases the data throughput with simultaneous redundancy. The access switches are in turn connected to the third data centre in Schwanden in a VSX (Virtual Switching Extension) network. The VSX solution developed by HPE Aruba enables the use of two or more switches in a cluster. Bechtle redundantly connected all access switches to the two core distribution switches via the Link Aggregation Control Protocol (LACP). Bechtle also equipped the new core distribution switches with the Internet Protocol Helper (IP Helper), which further simplifies network management. A network set up by Bechtle as a Virtual Local Area Network (VLAN) between the firewall and the core switch is separated from the other networks, as is the Demilitarised Zone (DMZ), the neutral area that Bechtle configured as a new VLAN on the server access switches. Bechtle also set up the management of the switches on a new VLAN. In this way, Bechtle separated all the important units of Kunststoff Schwanden AG’s IT from each other and set up the switches as a stack via a Virtual Switching Framework (VSF). Loops and cascading are thus reduced to a minimum. The Multi Spanning Tree Protocol (MSTP) detects and manages possible redundant connections in the rack and in the network. These are blocked by the switches so that no unnecessary loops are created. Bechtle configured all the switches in advance and put them to the test in a pre-system with Kunststoff Schwanden. After the network had passed all redundancy tests in the proof of concept (PoC), Kunststoff Schwanden installed the new switches configured by Bechtle in the racks in parallel and sometimes replaced entire racks. To minimise the associated risks, Bechtle converted the network in stages. Thus, the time-critical production with its network-connected production lines and systems was renewed separately from the office workstations. 

Bechtle has been a competent partner for us for many years when it comes to our IT. When we wanted to set up our network redundantly, Bechtle made us the best offer. From the offer to the pre-system to the installation, Bechtle worked hand in hand with us. And if there was ever a challenge, Bechtle did everything in its power to overcome it as quickly as possible. The preparation was very precise, so we could rely on it: The new system works.

Peter Ackermann, Leiter Informatik, Kunststoff Schwanden AG

Business Benefits.

In the network completely rebuilt by Bechtle for Kunststoff Schwanden AG, the components now operate fully redundantly within one rack. Additional access switches can be added quickly and defective switches can be replaced without interrupting operations.
With the technologies integrated in HPE Aruba, the new network infrastructure offers Kunststoff Schwanden a perfect basis for good and simple network management. State-of-the-art security mechanisms provide redundant protection for critical points. The implementation of further solutions such as the Aruba Clearpass Policy Manager is also planned. Performance increased significantly.