C-Labs: Secure Scalable Internet of Things Platform

Chris M. Muench, CEO
The growing adoption of the Internet of Things (IoT) is driving companies—large and small— to change the way they do business. The prominence of IoT is leading CIOs in industrial automation to create safe and secure connections between OT (Operations Technology) in manufacturing and IT (Information Technology) in the rest of the enterprise. “In both OT and IT networks, security and data protection are important, yet each environment is unique. IT departments are learning that what works for servers and PCs in corporate offices can conflict with the data reliability requirements of production environments,” explains Chris Muench, CEO, C-Labs. To provide CIOs with an effective OT-IT connection, C-Labs, a Seattle-area company, offers a platform that allows live access to a vast array of industrial equipment and data on an OT network without sidestepping IT security policies.

Established in 2009, C-Labs’ goal is to provide platforms that enable industrial machines and devices to more easily connect with each other, as well as to enterprise and cloud services. “At C-Labs, we avoid the ‘Things on the Internet (ToI)’ approach dominant in the home-automation market. Industrial automation needs are far more sophisticated,” says Muench.

C-Labs C-DEngine, a highly scalable IoT software platform, supports large distributed networks of machines, devices, and ‘things.’ “C-DEngine can be embedded directly into machines and devices or run on gateways, hubs, and proxies to bridge between legacy devices and modern infrastructure,” adds Muench. Solutions built with C-DEngine work across four major network types in large enterprises: private industrial (OT) networks, private enterprise (IT) networks, public internet cloud connections, and wireless carrier networks. Additionally, the platform runs in the cloud to relay information between different production facilities, or extend a machine network with additional cloud-based services, such as event logging or analytics. “C-DEngine also features our patent-pending Natural Machine Interface (NMI) technology for visual monitoring and control,” states Muench.

Factory-Relay a solution, based on the company’s C-DEngine IoT platform, provides safe access to data and information on the OT network and a gateway to older equipment using legacy protocols.
Factory-Relay is available in a software-only version to run on customer equipment or integrated into an off-the-shelf ruggedized industrial PC as a drop-in appliance. The product provides secure access to designated files, live data, and even Human-Machine Interface (HMI) screens. With minimal configuration, Factory-Relay provides secure remote access to devices and systems from outside the OT network.

C-Labs has helped numerous companies enhance operations, improve efficiency, and reduce costs. Among others, C-Labs worked with TRUMPF, the global leader in machine tools for sheet metal processing. TRUMPF has industrial machines deployed at customer locations around the world. “With C-Labs technology, TRUMPF is significantly enhancing its existing support offering with the additional capability to capture live machine data for predictive maintenance and improved service, fully compliant with the IT and data usage policies of its customers,” describes Muench. This approach has proven vital to reducing machine downtime, decreasing the need to send technicians on-site, and increasing customer satisfaction.


We are able to costeffectively connect machines, protect data, and support existing IT systems and policies, for customers across the globe


To stay ahead of the competition, C-Labs’ solutions will continue to focus on being secure, scalable, and extensible. “We are able to cost-effectively connect machines, protect data, and support existing IT systems and policies, for customers across the globe,” says Muench. At present, C-Labs is engaging in the German “Industrie 4.0” movement, which envisions global smart factories using IoT technology to improve quality, lower costs, and increase efficiency. The company has plans to expand its presence in European markets.

Company
C-Labs

Headquarters
Redmond, WA

Management
Chris M. Muench, CEO

Description
Designs platforms that enable industrial machines and devices to connect with each other and to enterprise and cloud services.