Practical example and current challenges
- Implementing Industry 4.0 in practice means, in the manufacturing domain and beyond, net-working all components along the value creation chain of production in order to offer value-added services based on data: This presents major challenges, especially for medium-sized companies.
- Modern production facilities consist of many different machines and components; in part, these also use a variety of cloud systems. At present, the data and systems are linked-up and integrated by means of laborious project work. The lack of standardised workflows, of data availability from beginning to end and of framework contracts for data exchange are factors explaining the slow, faltering adoption of Industrie 4.0 solutions.
- Operators and manufacturers of machines and integrated facilities also present major demands with respect to data sovereignty: they want to decide for themselves where they store production data and applications that sustain know-how – for instance, in system control, ‘on-edge’ or private cloud instances, instead of in their customer’s cloud.
- The breakthrough to across-the-board implementation of Industrie 4.0 can come only when an ecosystem is set up for turnkey use of value-added services in heterogeneous production environments.
What added valued does the "GAIA-X project" offer?
- The project creates added value by placing itself above existing Hyperscaler/cloud offerings as a kind of multilateral administrative layer, combining production infrastructure and clouds with a superior semantics as well as data exchange services and associated legal frameworks, thus facilitating interface management.
- Specifically, the project can reduce the effort that arises from the fact that for the integration of I40 services of each machine, a bilateral individual project solution must be found with the machine supplier in order to coordinate the access to data between security domains. Thanks to the networked data infrastructure, aggregates of all parties involved can be efficiently integrated via central interfaces based on interoperable standards, considering the safety requirements. Consequently, the workload that Industrie 4.0 projects involve can be substantially reduced.
- This means that an ecosystem can grow in a decentralised, heterogeneous and scalable form: on the one hand, it connects the various levels, consisting of computing and storing, between edge and cloud; on the other, it enables data to be stored and value-added services and algo-rithms to be used in accordance with IP rights.
- Gerd Hoppe – Beckhoff Automation (Use case coordinated with Mechanical Engineering Industry Association (VDMA) and German Electrical and Electronic Manufacturers’ Association (ZVEI))