Categories: Automation

Takebishi – Japan – Factory Automation

From Kyoto to the world – powered by CodeMeter

The Challenge

Takebishi, the Kyoto-based total solutions provider, distributor and evangelist for Mitsubishi Electric Corp. factory automation technology, is readying its flagship industrial communication middleware DeviceXPlorer® OPC Server for the smart factories and connected industry of the 2020s with a major new version upgrade. With its business growing both in its native Japan and around the world and unauthorized use an increasing concern, the invaluable intellectual assets invested in the system call for a licensing solution that is as smart and sophisticated as it is reliable and easy to use.

The Solution

Takebishi decided to replace a mix of proprietary and third-party licensing systems that were each addressing a specific aspect but were not interoperable as a whole. Instead, they integrated CodeMeter with both hardware and software licensing managed under the same technological umbrella, achieving the flexibility needed to cover every scenario among its diverse industrial user base – online or offline, virtual or cloud environments, hardware containers for top security or software containers for the added comfort of online license transfer and activation.

The Result

With CodeMeter fully embedded in the newest version of DeviceXPlorer® OPC Server, the company’s flagship industrial communication middleware is free from concerns against unauthorized use and piracy. With 20% of its products already shipping overseas, Takebishi now enjoys the ease of use and versatility of CodeMeter’s integration, flexibility in adapting to new usage scenarios employed by its clients around the world, including virtual environments, and full support for Docker – right on time to prepare for the launch of Takebishi’s DeviceGateway® on Docker.

Takumi Ishida,
Manager System Solution Development, Takebishi

”It makes me very proud to introduce CodeMeter to DeviceXPlorer® OPC Server Ver.6, our main product that is used widely in Japan and overseas. A strict management of licenses, combined with flexibility in how licenses are used, was indispensable as we continue to grow our sales. CodeMeter offers both and made the switch from the licensing algorithm we had developed easy. I would love to further expand our product features with CodeMeter’s broad capabilities.”

The Company

With a long history going back to 1926, Takebishi has become a household name in its native Kyoto and Shiga region as a vendor of cutting-edge and high-quality solutions for factory automation. With the distribution of the technology by Mitsubishi Electric and many other partners, as well as the commercialization of its original solutions, and as a proud member of the OPC Foundation, Takebishi is increasingly supplying technological excellence and expertise to clients around the world.

Wibu-Systems and Takebishi – paving the way for a smarter and more secure industrial future

Taking any business to the next level can be a leap of faith: Globalization promises new markets, but also entails cultural differences and a larger footprint in the global economy, making a more appealing target for unscrupulous or even criminal actors. The rise of the IIoT and smart factories frees enterprises from the shackles of rigid supply chains and dependence on single suppliers or even single factories with the potential of a more agile world of manufacturing-as-a-service. But it may also cut businesses loose from the strong roots of long-standing and trusting partnerships with known suppliers.

Unauthorized use of their IP by actors outside of their control is a constant concern for all companies, but the enterprises wanting to be enablers of the new industrial revolution – the makers and distributors of factory automation and connectivity solutions – must be especially vigilant.

With almost a century of history to its name, Takebishi has managed to stay at the forefront of technological and commercial developments. DeviceXPlorer® OPC Server, the company’s own industrial communication middleware, occupies a crucial space for the smart factories of the future, ensuring connectivity with the industrial controllers on the ground. More than 200 PLC brands are supported, and the solution is highly compatible with SCADA and ERP/MES systems.

For previous iterations of the system, Takebishi had initially relied on simple licensing by serial number, later followed by a proprietary licensing algorithm and external, hardware-based protection technology. The failure of previous approaches to ward off unauthorized use of their licenses and their poor price/performance ratio and inflexibility meant constant remodeling for their licensing system. As its license management became increasingly complex, Takebishi encountered more and more difficulties with accommodating important new technologies in the industry, especially virtual environments and support for Docker in the run-up to the coming release of the all-new DeviceGateway® on Docker. This motivated Takebishi to look for a strong new partner for streamlining its licensing management – a partner they found in their fellow OPC Foundation member – Wibu-Systems.

Implementing Wibu-Systems’ flagship CodeMeter technology to handle all licensing cases turned out to be a constructive and positive experience in terms of both the technology and the process. The switch from the former solutions to CodeMeter for the DeviceXPlorer® OPC Server Ver.6 proved to be a smooth experience. The availability of CodeMeter sample code for different programming languages and the solution’s design with full compatibility in mind made for a simple technological integration of the new licensing system.

With CodeMeter, Takebishi has taken back control over the IP in its software with permanent licenses for its users, delivered in hardware or software containers for full flexibility in the field. Compared to previous technologies, CodeMeter offers exceptional performance at great cost efficiency, easier shipping with the added comfort of online license transfer and automatic activation for software licenses, improved documentation and reporting functionalities, high reliability and ease of use, and – most crucially – a future-proof and versatile system that can accommodate online and offline licensing and works in cloud and virtual environments. As Takebishi is readying a Docker-version of DeviceGateway®, its manufacturing information and OPC UA communications handler, CodeMeter takes a prominent role with its full support for Docker, the container virtualization solution increasingly popular for its efficient use of system resources.

With DeviceXPlorer® OPC Server Ver.6 now fully ready for the opportuni-ties and challenges of the IIoT age and the upcoming DeviceGateway® on Docker reliably licensed through the power of CodeMeter, Takebishi sees great potential for Wibu-Systems’ solutions in the company’s remaining product lineup. Together, the two companies from either side of the globe are paving the way for a smarter industrial future.

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