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German plant is ‘first’ to combine Industry 4.0 and IIC platforms

22 March, 2016

A German plant producing hydraulic valves has become the first in the world to combine the technical standards of Germany’s Industry 4.0 platform with those of the Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC). The Bosch plant in Homburg is using the technologies to manage and optimise its processes to avoid consuming electricity at expensive peak times.

To date, the lack of a common language has hindered the smooth international coordination of manufacturing, logistics, and building and energy management. “As we head towards connected industry, two worlds are now coming together,” says Bosch board member, Dr Werner Struth. “A combination of these two standards paves the way for numerous new cross-border business opportunities for Industry 4.0 solutions, both for Bosch and for other international companies.

“This prototype demonstrates for the first time how we can get the Industry 4.0 platform standards and those of the IIC to work together effectively in connected manufacturing,” he adds.

If all of the energy-intensive machinery at the Homburg plant runs simultaneously, it can result in high electricity consumption at peak times, pushing up the cost of manufacturing. By using software to manage production and electricity consumption at the site, peak loads can be reduced by up to 10%, cutting manufacturing costs and increasing competitiveness.

The production lines, which are based on the Industry 4.0 platform, are interacting with an energy management system that uses the IIC standard.

The project is being managed by an international consortium including SAP of Germany, Dassault Systèmes of France, and Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) of India, as well as Bosch:

•  Bosch is collecting data from the machinery in the plant, generating a stream of information about the electricity consumed. It has also provided the energy management software.

•  Dassault, a 3D specialist, is providing a multidimensional representation of the plant’s machinery and its functions, producing a “digital twin” of the plant, which visualises not only production processes, but also power consumption.

Bosch's valve plant in Homburg uses advanced technologies, including HMI displays that show instructions adapted to each worker

•  SAP is providing application services that record and analyse the data in real time.

•  TCS is using its expertise to integrate the systems.

The Bosch energy management system is based on the IIC’s IIRA architecture and connects to the production facilities via the Industry 4.0 platform’s RAMI4.0 architecture. The RAMI and IIRA standards have been made compatible with each other, allowing software-based data exchange between the production lines and the energy management system.

“It’s very good news that the two internationally leading initiatives in the field – the IIC and Industry 4.0 platform – have agreed to cooperate closely in order to set up shared testbeds and work on common architectures and standards,” says the Industry 4.0 platform’s administrative director, Henning Banthien. “The complementary nature of their approaches will greatly boost the development of connected industry and the Internet of Things.”

The Industry 4.0 platform, which originated in Germany, is intended to create the technical framework for connected manufacturing. The IIC takes a wider, more international, approach, focusing on cross-sector connectivity based on the Internet of Things. Each has developed its own reference architecture.

“Industry 4.0 is not so much a national as an international issue,” says Struth. “Only a truly global approach – without competing company standards or differing national regulations – will allow it to develop to its full potential.”  

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