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11 May, 2021

US and German groups shape future of smart production

21 April, 2021

The German Plattform Industrie 4.0 organisation is collaborating with the US national institute for smart manufacturing CESMII to map out the future of manufacturing. The two organisations are aiming to promote interoperability and a shared set of skills and competencies, and at the recent virtual Hannover Fair they presented first results of their cooperation.

The organisations, which have been working together since June 2020, say that for their manufacturing economies to compete and thrive, they need to collaborate, especially on standardising technologies and developing workforce skills. At Hannover, they published a joint position paper on upskilling and fostering sustainable production, while Plattform Industrie 4.0’s virtual stand included a video demonstration of interoperability.

The two organisations, say that technology standardisation is critical to ensure that pre-competitive technology in smart manufacturing is interoperable across different IT/OT systems. Developing workforce competencies and skills is essential to continue innovation and to drive its adoption. They believe that these complementary efforts will help the US and Germany to ensure that these systems work well based on common standards that are mutually beneficial.

“Both sides have invested significant time to understand each other’s approaches and national context,” reports CESMII's CEO, John Dyck. “We have now reached a point where we can start defining concrete activities. It is important to us that our efforts also respond to the needs of small and medium-sized companies, especially to recover from Covid-19 and to create new jobs in the future.

“Plattform Industrie 4.0 and CESMII also see great potential in the digital transformation of manufacturing to enhance ecological sustainability as we point out in our joint position paper,” he adds.

“Production is globally connected, and manufacturers are in digital transformation worldwide,” says Thomas Hahn, a member of Plattform Industrie 4.0’s steering committee. “Whereas digitalisation provides great potentials like higher resilience, flexibility, and efficiency, we need to shape digital ecosystems globally and learn together to unfold these potentials.”

One achievement so far has been to understand the technologies and terminology used by the two initiatives to ensure the interoperability of assets. CESMII’s Smart Manufacturing Profiles and Plattform Industrie 4’s Asset Administration Shell (AAS) allow information to be exchanged on a standardised basis throughout an asset’s lifecycle.

“The SM Profiles and AAS show high levels of synergies. Both implementations will be harmonised. Our video demonstrator on the AAS gives a first insight”, explains Dr Dominik Rohrmus, chief technology officer of Labs Network Industrie 4.0. The two organisations have agreed to implement the technologies in their existing testbeds.

Platform Industrie 4.0, which brings together 150 organisations, is Germany’s central network for advancing the digital transformation of manufacturing. It promotes the development of Industry 4.0 by developing pre-competitive concepts, recommendations and use cases for practical applications.

CESMII was founded in 2016 in partnership with US Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy’s Advanced Manufacturing Office. It promotes smart manufacturing in the US by supporting pre-competitive research and development, providing tools and testbeds for new technologies as public-private partnerships, and creating content for educating the next generation of smart manufacturers.

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