Moving the factory to the cloud

“I bought Pandora’s box and I still don’t know what’s in it,” says Clas Tengström, Tonsjö AB’s Director of Administration.


The traditional mechanical workshop Tonsjö AB recently launched an extensive digitalizing process that will push production into the future. The IoT operative system ‘Mindsphere’ by Siemens supply the unique solution to efficiently make this possible. Everything from brand new robotic arms to age-old milling machines will now be connected to the digitalized cloud.

The cloud-based service gives the factory access to a storage database and allows for a powerful computing processor to measure and analyze thousands of data sources.

By linking more and more sensors and data together in Tonsjö’s factory, Tengström sees a wide window of opportunity to effectively utilize the data. 

Opportunities he had never once considered.


"The factory's productivity improves every week," says Tengström. Compared to last year, productivity is 4% higher on the production lines connected to Mindsphere. Not everything can be credited to Industry 4.0, but IoT is an important componentof many adjustments we have made throughout the project.

Tonsjö works with the automation of metal production for a number of noteworthy industry giants such as Scania, Volvo, Atlas Copo, CAT, and Koenigsegg. These clients expect top tier quality and set strict guidelines for production line capacity and delivery assurance.


Within the factory’s walls are hundreds of machines working around the clock; turning, long hole drilling, and milling large quantities of metallic material. Advanced robots twist and lift the different metal components to bring the production to fruition. 

“Our machine park consists of everything from modern robotic arms to 30 year old grinding machines,” says Tengström, as we walk through the halls of the enormous factory.

Tengström does not see any limitations to connecting these machines to the cloud with Siemens’s MindSphere. As of today, Tonsjö is working with Siemens and IT consultancy firm, ÅF, to connect the factory’s machines and wide range of sensors to MindConnect, a hardware that collects and sends uninterrupted datato Mindsphere. 

The cloud gives Tonsjö access to powerful computing resources, making it possible to conduct heavy analysis while pulling vital data down in real time. This data is then shown on display panels throughout the whole factory, revealing important statistics and disclosing any warnings of deviation.  

Tonjsö can now optimize production by basing it off of data that was once unreachable. Robots, milling machines, metal lathes, and washingmachines are hard at work in the factory halls. Now everyone can closely monitor the machinery for speed, efficiency, and any signs of maintenance.

“While the newer machines are built-in with network capability, it’s the older machines that are limited,” he says. To retrieve relevant data for the right format, the machine’s firmware had to be adapted with more sensors mounted.

“Anyone can send data to the cloud. You can do that at home. We just wanted more,” Tengström says.

“In addition to the machines; data from business infrastructures, CRM-systems, accounting systems, and plenty more can also be sent to the cloud. It’s about analyzing and processing the data in a way that makes it easy and presentablefor our management and operators to make the right decisions,” Tengström says.

He believes that external systems can send relevant data information to both customers and subcontractors in the future. For instance, a logistics company can automatically be notified if a container full of metal shavings is in need of being replaced by an empty container.

“This is the land of opportunity. When one machine starts communicating with another machine, which then starts communicating with a third machine… That’s where we see this window of opportunity. Opportunities we currently do not have a graspover,” says Tengström.

While digitalizing between machines and data is one side of the coin, the other side is about the people involved.

“The project was seen as a journey. It’s not just the digitalizing or building the next smart industry, it’s about the whole team that’s involved,” says Tengström.

“The employees involved are a key part of the journey. While digitalizing has been well received, the developers have worked closely with employees to create smart solutions that contribute to the overarching picture,” he mentions.

With the data collected by Tonsjö, the work load can be equally distributed throughout the day. Deviations and malfunctions are easier to spot ahead of time, leading to a better working environment for the employees.

“Of course, this requires an organization willing to adapt a different style of working. And I am confident that we have that,” says Tengström.

With MindSphere as IoT operative system Bror Tonsjö can scale up according to their business needs. Add more applications with new ways of visualizing and analyzing data or connect more machines and systems in a step by step approach.

Just by combining and visualizing data in a new way we can already now see an increase in important manufacturing key performance indicators like the overall equipment efficiency (OEE) at Bror Tonsjö.

“Tonjö shows that digitalization is not just for the large enterprises” says Rikard Skogh at Siemens.

This is a good example on how motivated and dedicated smaller manufacturers, together with right partners, can be in the cutting edge of technology and embrace new digital ways of working.

“I’m really excited to pick up the phone every time Clas calls. There is always some new machine or system connected that he wants to tell me about or a new idea on how to use the data that he wants to discuss.”, says Rikard Skogh.