Fraunhofer solutions integrate existing machines into modern production systems such as MES and SCADA. PLUGandWORK automatically generates a communication server for data exchange with other systems or IT systems. This means that medium-sized companies are also taking the leap into the age of Industry 4.0. The technology is market-ready and is currently being used by several pilot customers. The researchers will be presenting a demo at the Hanover Trade Fair (Hall 2, Booth C22, April 24-28).
PLUGandWORKTM helps you connect your legacy plant floor equipment into all the major Industrie 4.0 and Industrial Internet-of-Things players such as IBM Watson, GE PREDIX, Rockwell Automation, PTC Thing Worx and others. Today, the consistent implementation of Industrie 4.0 still often fails because older devices that do not yet have the necessary interfaces are still in use. In the worst case, the machines then work in isolation in the production hall.
The Fraunhofer Institute for Optronics, Systems Technologies and Image Exploitation (IOSB) in Karlsruhe has developed a solution to this problem. PLUGandWORKTM ensures that existing machines and systems can be integrated into the production system. If you don’t already have gateway systems on your plant floor, our inconspicuous cube houses a standard industrial PC with Windows as the operating system.
Your machine provides all information about itself and its capabilities via network cable to the cube. The machine is integrated into the production system, it can communicate with other systems and it is accessible via the network. "In principle, this is very similar to the installation of a USB device, such as a printer, on your office PC," explains Project Manager Dr. Olaf Sauer.
“You simply plug your device in, the device describes itself to the computer, the computer goes on line if required to find the right driver, and then the computer can fully interact with and pass information back and forth to control the device to do things (like print, copy files…)”.
In the first step, our solution creates the self-description of the machine on the basis of the XML data format AutomationM™ (Automation Markup Language). An assistance tool facilitates the structure of the self description by means of an intuitive, graphical user interface.
With this model, the cube or gateway PC automatically generates the communication server in the second step for exchanging information with other machines and the superordinate production control. However, the tools also register changes to the machine, such as an updated configuration. A change manager records the new configuration and forwards it to the communication server.
The Fraunhofer PLUGandWORKTM solution eliminates the need for complicated configuration and setup when a system is integrated manually into production. This process may take several days or even weeks, and PLUGandWORKTM is often finished after a few hours.
Maximum transparency, compatibility and data security
Use of a cube or gateway PC not only frees individual machines from their isolation. It offers a further, decisive advantage: "Data from the connected machines can also be stored on the PLUGandWORKTM Cube", explains Sauer. "The employees in plant management always see what is happening on the machine and immediately recognize any problems occurring. In this way, transparency prevails in the production hall."
The server in the cube uses the OPC UA (Open Platform Communications Unified Architecture) communication protocol and therefore adopts an internationally accepted standard that ensures the greatest possible compatibility in machine-to-machine communication. Data security is also ensured: All data is transmitted in encrypted form, and only authorized devices can connect with the system. In the process, industrial partners such as Wibu Systems AG from Karlsruhe contribute their expertise to the field of safety technology.
Depending on the complexity of the machine data and parameters, up to twenty machines can be connected to a single cube. The retrofit technology is by no means only designed for large manufacturers, such as from the automotive sector. "Even medium-sized companies with only twenty machines can integrate them into the production control," says Fraunhofer expert Sauer. System integrators that create complete systems and pass them on to their customers ready for use also benefit from the cube.
Cooperation with industry standards
For many years, the IOSB has been working on digital technologies that make companies fit for Industrie 4.0. The experts develop the necessary standardized interfaces, software modules and data transmission protocols. In addition, the Fraunhofer experts, together with national and international partners, actively participate in the further development of AutomationML and are involved in various standardization committees.
It will surely take a few years until the vision of Industrie 4.0 is fully implemented and manufacturers have brought their complete machine park up to date. Until then, the PLUGandWORKTM Cube ensures that even older machines are fit for the digital era.
Daniela Köhly | Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft
Medica 2018: Mobile motion feedback to help patients reduce relieving postures when walking
07.11.2018 | Technische Universität Kaiserslautern
Medica 2018: Control with your feet - computer game to help prevent thrombosis
05.11.2018 | Technische Universität Kaiserslautern
Max Planck researchers revel the nano-structure of molecular trains and the reason for smooth transport in cellular antennas.
Moving around, sensing the extracellular environment, and signaling to other cells are important for a cell to function properly. Responsible for those tasks...
Researchers at the University of New Hampshire have captured a difficult-to-view singular event involving "magnetic reconnection"--the process by which sparse particles and energy around Earth collide producing a quick but mighty explosion--in the Earth's magnetotail, the magnetic environment that trails behind the planet.
Magnetic reconnection has remained a bit of a mystery to scientists. They know it exists and have documented the effects that the energy explosions can...
Biochips have been developed at TU Wien (Vienna), on which tissue can be produced and examined. This allows supplying the tissue with different substances in a very controlled way.
Cultivating human cells in the Petri dish is not a big challenge today. Producing artificial tissue, however, permeated by fine blood vessels, is a much more...
Faster and secure data communication: This is the goal of a new joint project involving physicists from the University of Würzburg. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research funds the project with 14.8 million euro.
In our digital world data security and secure communication are becoming more and more important. Quantum communication is a promising approach to achieve...
On Saturday, 10 November 2018, the research icebreaker Polarstern will leave its homeport of Bremerhaven, bound for Cape Town, South Africa.
19.11.2018 | Event News
09.11.2018 | Event News
06.11.2018 | Event News
21.11.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering
20.11.2018 | Life Sciences
20.11.2018 | Life Sciences