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IIC and Industrie 4.0 look to align their architectures

07 February, 2018

Two of the organisations leading the transition to the fourth industrial revolution – the Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC) and Plattform Industrie 4.0 – have published a joint White Paper mapping alignments between their IIoT (industrial internet of things) reference architecture models.

The paper − called Architecture Alignment and Interoperability – emphasises the complementary nature of the two architectures. The IIC’s Industrial Internet Reference Architecture (IIRA) looks at IIoT across industries, stressing cross-industry commonality and interoperability, while Plattform Industrie 4.0’s Reference Architecture Model for Industrie 4.0 (RAMI 4.0) focuses on manufacturing and related value-chain lifecycles.

The White Paper finds that, despite IIRA and RAMI 4.0 being based on different standards, the similarities of concepts, methods and models for developing concrete architectures allow them to be mapped to each other well. It also concludes that much of the differences between IIRA and RAMI 4.0 lie in different emphases in scope and depth, and from their different perspectives in examining architecture models in manufacturing where they overlap. Consequently, much of these differences are complementary and help, rather than hinder, in addressing IIoT challenges in the digitalisation of manufacturing and beyond.

“It makes great sense to enable interoperability among IIoT systems that are based on these reference architectures,” says Thomas Hahn, Siemens’ chief software expert for Plattform Industrie 4.0. “This White Paper is a good first step in that direction.”

“In a connected world with a network of IIoT applications, interoperability and standardisation – including the lingua franca of machine-to-machine communication – is imperative,” adds Dr Tanja Rueckert, who chairs the IIC steering committee and is president of SAP’s IoT & Digital Supply Chain business. “I am happy to see that our efforts to lead IIoT architectures IIRA and RAMI 4.0 to work in concert have been fruitful.”

While IIC addresses concerns about IIoT across industries, Plattform Industrie 4.0 focuses mainly on manufacturing in depth.
Image: IIC

“The similarities of concepts, methods and models for developing concrete architectures in IIRA and RAMI 4.0 can be mapped to each other well, despite each being based on different architecture framework standards,” comments Dr Shi-Wan Lin, who co-chairs the IIC and Plattform joint task group, and is CEO and co-founder of Thingswise.

According to Martin Hankel, leader of Bosch Rexroth’s Industry 4.0 project, and co-chair of the IIC and Plattform joint task group, the next steps include addressing the semantic interoperability between the two architecture models and “exploring how to leverage Industrie 4.0 components from RAMI 4.0 for smart components and devices in the IIRA”.

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