Industry 4.0, IIoT and Production Networks
The terms "Industry 4.0" and "Internet of Things" (IoT) or, more specifically, "Industrial Internet of Things" (IIoT) have been getting thrown around as visions of the future all over the manufacturing industry. What used to be just empty buzzwords is now finally becoming reality. We provide our customers with the technological foundation for building these cutting edge manufacturing sites. Several corresponding projects are already underway (e.g. at OSRAM).
The central idea behind Industry 4.0 and the so called Internet of Things (which in our context obviously isn't about consumer oriented "IoT" concepts like home assistants, networked light bulbs or "smart" washing machines) is a transition away from the old, established automation pyramid towards a data centric communication layer with purely semantic interoperability. Based on the layer axis of the "Reference Architectural Model RAMI 4.0" according to VDMA and ZVEI, both the challenges and our contributions to solving them can be neatly exemplified:
- Asset Layer: This is where the actual production machines and their often preexisting controls live. This layer should remain unchanged as far as possible.
- Integration Layer: On this layer, existing machines and sensors are adapted into a new, service oriented environment. With currently about 50 available industrial interfaces as well as the synchronous process data model and multi broker technology available in Gamma V, we are optimally equipped to handle this task.
- Communication Layer: This is where services are adapted to the respective Information Layer. For this we currently support OPC UA, DDS (Data Distribution Service) and MQTT.
- Information Layer: On this layer, data and services are provided according to the needs of production.
- Functional Layer and Business Layer: Both of these are already being handled by global players like SAP or IBM and are therefore of no interest to us.
Together with our partners and customers we are already implementing machines (assets) with an autonomous integration layer. As needed according to the respective production facility the machine can be equipped with a suitable communication layer. This allows the machine to be quickly integrated into existing production networks or serve as the basis for a new production network. This is how out technological approach enables us to build future proof machines today that can be easily adapted to the requirements of tomorrow.
The work necessary for creating state of the art production facilities right up to the information layer is very individual and difficult, making the big players with their global approach and lack of flexibility unsuitable for it. At the same time, it can be expected to lead to a huge amount of service expenditures that RST, being focused on communication strategies and implementation, could not handle. It is therefore our strategy to cooperate with service oriented strong partners and customers who are interested in pursuing this path with us. These partners are recruited both from our technology network Embedded4You as well as externally.
Since the adaptation to the individual production network doesn't happen until the communication layer, we can jointly develop technologies and support each other:
- more interfaces for docking with the asset layer
- appropriate tools for programming the service layer
- test, diagnostic and simulation tools for quality assurance
- prefabricated hardware platforms
This way we help our customers to meet tomorrow's requirements today.
More details on using Gamma V in industrial production and facility building can be found in our information sheet "Production in the Digital Age: New Demands, New Solutions" in the download area.