Categories: Automation

B&R – Austria – Automation

B&R has made CodeMeter a native part of its business model and user experience

Relations matter: B&R adds value to their business and the business of their customers

The Challenge

Constant innovation and strong client partnerships have characterized B&R Industrial Automation in the machine automation market for over 40 years. As a result, the product portfolio at B&R is extensive. B&R launches cutting-edge technologies while continuing to offer legacy technologies to the existing userbase. These products are either hardware or software and they can be sold with a one-time payment or annual subscription model. The clients of B&R are also technology evangelists who develop their proprietary technology on B&R's platform and want to license it to their users. Therefore, B&R partnered with Wibu-Systems for a highly reliable and sustainable solution that could be applied to the entire product range. 

The Solution

B&R and their clients can use the Technology Guarding system to empower scalable business models, protect intellectual property, and restrict the incorrect use of the technology. The machine users do not have to pay for functions that they do not need. At the same time, B&R customer engineers can generate post-market sales by providing additional features that are enabled when a specific license is detected. This approach simplifies the engineers’ job and eliminates the need to manage the machine's configuration for each end-user. The licenses required by each client are managed on a license server hosted by B&R. Technology Guarding is part of B&R Automation Studio software, integrated with CodeMeter, and implemented on a custom B&R version of the CmStick/B or CmStick/C Basic.

The Success

The USB dongle is included along with B&R hardware when machines are first installed. Users can purchase and add the necessary licenses to the USB dongle if new functionality is needed. Replacing the control hardware in the field is also easy because the CmStick can simply be connected to the new component and it will automatically resume its safeguarding function again. The license server is connected to the SAP system at B&R, so B&R users can get a live status of their licenses on the Technology Guarding portal or directly inside B&R Automation Studio.

The Company

B&R Industrial Automation is an innovative automation company with headquarters in Austria and offices all around the world. In 2017, B&R became a business unit of the ABB Group. As a global leader in industrial automation, B&R combines state-of-the-art technology with advanced engineering to provide customers in virtually every industry with complete solutions for machine and factory automation, motion control, HMI, and integrated safety technology. With Industrial IoT communication standards like OPC UA, POWERLINK, and openSAFETY, as well as the powerful Automation Studio software development environment, B&R is constantly redefining the future of automation engineering. The innovative spirit that keeps B&R at the forefront of industrial automation is driven by a commitment to simplifying processes and exceeding customer expectations.

Manfred Mitterbuchner,
Group Leader Real-Time Operating Systems, B&R Industrial Automation

“With Technology Guarding empowered by CodeMeter, internal and external users of our automation platform rest assured that their technology and machine know-how are well protected, enabling them to focus on innovating their core technology with scalable and sustainable business models.”

B&R: Guarding Excellence with CodeMeter’s Versatile Licensing Options

B&R Industrial Automation is a global automation pioneer and a dedicated business unit of ABB Group. With forty years of innovation to its name, the company has built up a rich history of technological excellence and a diverse client base for its automation platform. With users including both dynamic new enterprises and household names in industry and with both newly set up automation operations in greenfield sites and more heterogeneous machine landscapes that have grown over time, finding the right means to protect and license B&R’s technology in such a diverse environment may seem an unsolvable conundrum – but not for B&R’s security and licensing solution of choice: CodeMeter by Wibu-Systems.

The B&R Technology Guarding System was designed to be a powerful and empowering means to protect both legacy and new automation software, including the proprietary technology developed by users of B&R’s platform. It relies on CodeMeter for protection with world-leading encryption standards and for monetizing the system in the most versatile and unrestricted way possible. Built to fit in with the company’s established SAP systems and workflows, it allows users to purchase only the functions they need for the ultimate in pick-and-choose flexibility. The license management process is handled by a server maintained by B&R and integrated smartly with the company’s Automation Studio to make the experience of activating and managing licenses as seamless as possible for the users.

In keeping with this philosophy of low-key integration, licenses can be kept either on a custom B&R branded version of Wibu-Systems’ popular CmStick/B or CmStick/C Basic, included with the original B&R hardware. A unique feature of these smart card-enabled hardware elements is that they come with the opportunity to store operational data on the dongles for a safe and secure repository of information that is vital for automation engineers. With the USB hardware easily switched out in the field when e.g. new components are added in an automation infrastructure, this makes on-site service and maintenance fast and easy. For added flexibility, albeit without the great advantage of secure storage capabilities, licenses can be kept in CmActLicense software containers.

Wibu-Systems’ CodeMeter license management capabilities are built into the B&R user experience to be as unobtrusive as possible, without taking away any of the technology’s versatility or functionality. This includes the opportunity to monitor the current state of licenses right in the Technology Guarding web portal – a must in an industry that often has large numbers of devices running with many different licenses at the same time. Licenses can easily be deactivated, returned, and activated via SOAP interface for added flexibility. Alternatively, licenses can be given fixed expiration dates to facilitate the licensing process even in the offline scenarios that are common in brownfield industry.

For B&R, partnering with Wibu-Systems for the CodeMeter protection and licensing technology means being able to offers its diverse user base a simple means to enjoy unparalleled freedom of choice and ease of use in how they purchase, license, and operate their automation infrastructure.

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