Industry 4.0

This blog provides information about the connection between CPS and Industry 4.0. If you want to comment on this blog, please contact to request a login to the PlatForum. Thanks.

CPS-related Research for Industry 4.0 – The CP Factory as research and learning platform

bjoern.sautter Friday September 8, 2017

Skills and qualifications for work in future production environments is a key for successfully implementing the Vision of Industry 4.0. That is why Festo Didactic is designing and implementing education solutions in companies, vocational colleges and universities, which systematically prepare people for work in dynamic and complex environments.

The Cyber-Physical Factory has been developed by Festo Didactic as a research and learning platform in order to provide higher education institutions and companies with access to the technology and applications of Industry 4.0. The platform demonstrates the production of tomorrow in a locally controlled, intelligent network. The core of the system is its modularity which enables great flexibility by combining modules in different configurations for training in a variety of applications. The use of standard interfaces for each application module allows the modules to be interchanged in just a few minutes.

Festo uses this CP Factory also to train its own workers directly on the production premises of the Scharnhausen Technology Plant. A CPS Gate within the CP Factory’s work stations is the elementary module for controlling the processes. It communicates in the network with the connected IT systems (ERP) and the production management system (MES) as well as all production-relevant data of the products being processed.

Some more information about the CP Factory can also be gathered from following youtube links:

CPS-related Research for Industry 4.0 – CPS Stopgate as intelligent component

bjoern.sautter Friday August 25, 2017

In the vision of Industry 4.0, all the relevant data for a production process is available in real time. In this context, intelligent components – which are the basis for every cyber-physical system – are a prerequisite as they play the central role for the consistent and uniform exchange of information in all Industry 4.0 processes. Due to the combination of sensors, actuators as well as data processing and communication, these intelligent components are able to network, organise and configure themselves in order to take on orders from the superordinate control level. One example of an intelligent component is the integrated stopper module “CPS Stopgate” by Festo, which is e.g. also used in the CP Learning Factory designed by Festo Didactic.

The CPS Stopgate is the prototype of an intelligent component. In one component this integrates both the necessary actuators as well as the sensors and controls to stop workpiece carriers on a conveyor belt at the right place and time. A standardised interface is used to make the function of the stopper module – for example “block” or “let pass” – available for the whole production facility. The wiring is already integrated in the component so that only one plug-in connection each is necessary on the exterior for compressed air, power and signal, which reduces the amount of cabling required.

The CPS Stopgate is a result of the research project OPAK (open engineering platform for autonomous, mechatronic automation components), which has been funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy. The vision behind the OPAK project is a production facility that exists completely as a virtual depiction. Individual components or parts of the facility can therefore be modified or replaced very easily, as all procedures can be tested virtually before being physically implemented. Downtimes and standstills are thus kept to a minimum and the production can be flexibly adapted to changing conditions.

CPS-related Research for Industry 4.0 – metamorphosis into intelligent & networked factories

bjoern.sautter Friday August 11, 2017

Intelligent, networked and resource-efficient production – that is part of the vision of Industry 4.0. However, the change to cyber-physical production systems is not possible in a single step.

The MetamoFAB project – funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) within the research programme “Research for the production of tomorrow” – e.g. researches solutions to enable the metamorphosis of existing operations in production into intelligent and networked factories. When it comes to this metamorphosis, all the participants and things involved, such as people, machinery, workpieces, IT and building infrastructure, must be incorporated. This change can only be managed one step at a time, as a comprehensive changeover interrupts production operations and high investment costs are necessary. The transformation process must therefore take place in steps, so that the switch to the factory of the future is gradually achieved and the latests methods and technologies are implemented. Thus, the MetamoFAB project aimed at describing phases of the transition and finding ways to implement it, in order to integrate successive cyber-physical systems with existing modernisation and development plans, enabling the metamorphosis into intelligent and networked factories. Several use cases in factories of Infenion, Siemens and Festo have been researched.

Festo worked in his use case on the Energy Transparency System (ETS) at its Scharnhausen Technology Plant. The developed ETS is now used to catch resource and energy saving potentials in the factory. The concept includes two dimensions. On the one hand an organisational part, to give clarity about objectives, responsibilities and ensure the application of saving measures. On the other hand, the physical assets in the factory are measured regarding their energy consumption. These assets range from technical building services to machines on the shop floor. The virtual representation of the consumption allows a specific allocation of energy costs. Within this frame, pilot machines were advanced to energy transparent machines to give a detailed image about their consumption states. The information about the systems is visualized and provides opportunities for the operators on the shop floor to be immediately informed about deviations. The installed equipment provides the option to be used in future phases as a base for local decision making to increase energy efficiency of machines, and in the end to achieve the energy targets for the whole plant.

Industry 4.0 from the perspective of Festo, a leading automation technology provider

bjoern.sautter Friday July 28, 2017

Festo is a family-owned company with about 19.000 employees worldwide. It is a worldwide leader in automation and a world market leader in technical training and development. The company has a holistic view of the changes in the production world, often subsumed under the term Industry 4.0. Thus, from Festo’s holistic perspective on Industry 4.0 new requirements are imposed on production systems, machines and people in many areas such as e.g.

  • digital depictions of production plants and factories (The Virtual Factory)
  • autonomously functioning mechatronic assemblies (Intelligent Components)
  • direct interaction between man and machine (Human-Machine Interaction)
  • data collection and processing in real time (Data Acquisition and Analysis)
  • qualifications for work in future production environments (Training and Qualification)
  • secure data exchange and synchronisation with external systems (Networking with External Systems)

In the field of intelligent components, Festo recently launched the world's first pneumatic valve, which is completely controlled by using apps. This called Festo Motion Terminal is a standardised platform that will develop into a “Cyber-Physical System” thanks to its intelligent fusion of mechanics, electronics and software. It implements functions using programs in the form of motion apps. Flexible programmable processors and smart actuator technology are integrated within the system. The decentralised intelligence and software-based function implementation make the system more flexible than "hardwired" components. Adaptations can now be carried out decentrally within the system. This reduces both the bandwidth required for communication and the complexity of controlling and programming tasks for the entire system. Thus, this intelligent component enables mechanical engineers to build new machines that are truly ready for Industry 4.0, even in terms of pneumatics.

Digitising European Industry and Industry 4.0 – A brief overview

bjoern.sautter Monday July 17, 2017

Industry is one of the pillars of the European economy with substantial impact on jobs and growth and on future investments and social welfare. New-generation digital technologies such as Cyber-Physical Systems (CPS) or Internet of Things (IoT) open new horizons for industry to become more efficient, to improve processes and to develop innovative products and services. Recent studies estimate that digitisation of products and services can add more than €110 billion of annual revenue in Europe in the next five years.

Against this backdrop, the European Commission launched on 19 April 2016 the first industry-related initiative of the Digital Single Market package. Building on and complementing the various national initiatives for digitising industry, such as Industrie 4.0, Smart Industry and l'industrie du futur, the Commission announced to use its policy instruments, financial support, coordination and legislative powers to trigger further public and private investments in all industrial sectors and create the framework conditions for the digital industrial revolution.

The European Platform of national initiatives, launched in March 2017, is at the core of the coordination effort, contributing to achieve the Digitising European Industry goals (promoting regionally embedded and pan-European networked Digital Innovation Hubs (DIH) as well as industry-driven interoperable digital platforms and large scale pilots are some other key actions to implement the Digitising European Industry actions). The German Plattform Industrie 4.0 is one example of national initiatives, which is very active in implementing the “Vision Industrie 4.0” that is closely related to an Integrated Research Agenda Cyber-Physical Systems. The Plattform Industrie 4.0 provides e.g. a map of German Industrie 4.0 use cases, and the Labs Network Industrie 4.0 offers an extensive and tangible range of information as well as access to appropriate test labs.

In my next blog posts, I will give some insights from the perspective of a leading automation technology provider on how Industry 4.0 relates to Cyber-Physical Systems and how the “Vision Industry 4.0” can be implemented in the real industrial world. This youtube video already provides a nice insight into some Industry 4.0 related activities in German businesses.