25 Jul 2024


Consortium is designing tomorrow’s industrial network

A consortium of German companies and organisations including Bosch Rexroth, Festo and Siemens, is developing the foundation for the industrial Internet of the future, based on the latest networking and 5G wireless communications technologies. The three-year Find (Future Industrial Network Architecture) project has a budget of almost €7m, 61% of this coming from the German government.

The ten-member consortium is aiming to develop a network that can map and monitor the requirements of industrial applications automatically. Manual interventions will be minimised when configuring the network and during operation.

“We are seeking to develop a new and future-proof network control through the combination and integration of existing network technologies that will be flexible, secure, and efficient in operation,” explains the consortium’s co-ordinator, Professor Hans Schotten, who is scientific director and head of intelligent networks research at DFKI (the German Centre for Artificial Intelligence).

Using a variety of networking technologies, it will be possible to provide defined service packages automatically on an end-to-end basis. This will allow flexible, efficient implementations of complex, distributed control architectures, where the underlying complexity is mainly hidden from application developers and plant operators. The system will compensate automatically for failures of a single resource – control hardware, for example – reducing unnecessary downtime of other equipment and boosting plant efficiency. It should be easy to integrate emerging technologies such as Time-Sensitive Networking (TSN) or 5G, as well as existing industrial communication technologies and devices.

The Find project is devoting special attention to protecting its network against cyber-attacks, and it is developing and integrating special security concepts during the design phase. The consortium acknowledges that for the new networking technology to be accepted widely, it will need to avoid the necessity for specialised network experts, making user-friendliness another key requirement. The Find network will offer automated configuration, optimisation and control connections.