At Hannover Messe 2019, companies KUKA, SAP, Beckhoff, Endress+Hauser, Hilscher, ifm and Multivac this week announced the “Open Industry 4.0 Alliance”. This initiative aims to create an open ecosystem for the digitalization of industrial production plants. The alliance seeks to break down proprietary insular solutions and significantly boost the digitalization of European industries. Device Insight is on board as technology provider and system integrator for KUKA and is also involved in numerous Open Industry 4.0 Alliance projects.
The main problem in the implementation of Industry 4.0 is currently communication. Devices and machines from different manufacturers are being used in factories and plants or logistics centers that cannot speak the same language. Proprietary and differing standards in connectivity, data management, IT security and collaboration create additional effort, interfering with a fast, comprehensive scaling of Industry 4.0. Reinhold Stammeier, Device Insight CEO and KUKA Chief Digital Officer, summarizes the problem by stating:
The Open Industry 4.0 Alliance therefore seeks to create a standardized and open ecosystem for the operation of highly automated factories and plants, incorporating logistics and services. In the future, up to 80 percent of machines in a smart factory will be able to speak the same language based on Open Industry 4.0 frameworks. In addition to its seven founding members, a number of other companies have joined the Open Industry 4.0 Alliance, including Balluff, Gebhardt, Pepperl+Fuchs, Schmidtsche Schack, Samson and WIKA.
Initial proofs of concept were already completed in 2018, for example KUKA’s versatile and flexible Matrix Production. Further members’ proofs of concept, as well as those of their customers, are planned for summer 2019. The founding members are currently palling their first exhibition for the second half of 2019.
Further information on the Open Industry 4.0 Alliance can be found in the founding members’ joint press release. A number of media outlets have already published reports on the initiative, including Handelsblatt, Process, Automationspraxis and Factory (in German).