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Field of tension “Free data traffic – Industrial Security

Cybersecurity, also called “Industrial Security”, is one of the most important topics in the field of digitalization. For mechanical and plant engineering, there are two different perspectives. The view as a user and operator of systems that are as reliable as possible, and the view as a manufacturer and integrator of machines and systems. In this context, the export of networked products to China as well as the safe local plant operation represent an enormous challenge for mechanical engineering from Germany.

On September 15, 2022, the event “China Cybersecurity” took place. The host of this exchange of experiences was GEA Westfalia Separator Group GmbH in Oelde. The event focused on secure cross-border data exchange, the fundamental issue of digital market foreclosure and the problem area of product piracy. But the topic of cross-border data traffic is not only relevant with regard to China. Many political agendas around the world are increasingly pointing in the direction of trade barriers, market foreclosure or protectionism, although it is precisely the opposite that is a basic prerequisite for Industry 4.0 – free and secure cross-border data traffic.

In accordance with the provisions of the Cybersecurity Law and the Data Security Law, multinational corporations are permitted to transfer data across borders if they lease dedicated direct access and the data transfer is restricted to authorized content. For foreign companies, this entails an enormous amount of work and there are numerous aspects to consider.

In exciting presentations, the event provided insight into various security areas, with particular attention paid to cybersecurity. Iskro Mollov, Vice President Chief Information Security Officer (CISO), GEA Group AG, Düsseldorf first presented the holistic structure of the security organization at GEA Westfalia. In doing so, he addressed the following security areas: Information Security Governance, IT Security, OT Security, Product Security, Physical Security, HR Security, Supplier Security and Digital Media Security. Thorsten Fibbe, Business Information Security Officer (BISO) SFT, GEA Westfalia Separator GmbH, Oelde, focused his presentation on the implementation of cybersecurity at GEA Sales and Production Centers in China.

The presentation by Steffen Zimmermann, Head of the Competence Center Industrial Security of the
VDMA Frankfurt, dealt with the question of what is legally permitted and organizationally recommended in China, both from the user’s and the manufacturer’s point of view. This was based on a VDMA guideline that was recently published with the cooperation of numerous VDMA members and the consulting and analysis company Sinolytics, which specializes in China, and addresses specific use cases in China.

An important part of the event was the questions from the participants as well as the discussion rounds after the keynote presentations from GEA. In addition, selected parts of the separator production up to packaging were shown in a production tour. In subsequent workshops, experiences and questions from the group of participants were intensively discussed in small groups.

The conclusion of this event was that – regardless of the type of mechanical engineering products – everyone faces the same challenges in China. The fulfillment of cybersecurity requirements according to MLPS 2.0 was named as the most important requirement.


This event was organized by ProduktionNRW in cooperation with VDMA Landesverband Mitte. ProduktionNRW is the competence network of mechanical engineering and production technology in North Rhine-Westphalia and is carried out by the VDMA NRW. ProduktionNRW sees itself as a platform for networking, informing and marketing companies, institutions and networks among themselves and along the value chain. Significant parts of the services provided by ProduktionNRW are funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).