Hannover Messe: Fraunhofer IESE makes Industrie 4.0 easy with networked digital twins

Press Releases / 25.2.2019

Flexibilization of the production processes and economically feasible manufacturing down to lot size 1 – these are the central challenges of Industrie 4.0. But how can companies, including SMEs, accomplish the transition to Industrie 4.0? This requires software that supports the changeable workflows in a manufacturing process. In addition, it must be capable of integrating heterogeneous machines by different manufacturers into one overall system. Under the motto “Making networked production easy with digital twins!”, the Fraunhofer Institute for Experimental Software Engineering IESE and NetApp will present their joint model factory at Hannover Messe (Hall 2, Fraunhofer Booth C22) from 1 to 5 April 2019 to show how the open-source middleware BaSys 4.0 can fulfill these requirements through the use of digital twins.

he open-source middleware BaSys 4.0 smooths the path towards Industrie 4.0 even for small and medium-sized enterprises: Devices can be exchanged at random for others with the same production capabilities without the need to change the application code. What is special about the project BaSys 4.0, which is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and led by Fraunhofer IESE, is the concept of service-based manufacturing, which separates the implementation of a service from the production process calling upon this service. This addresses a central problem regarding changes of today’s production processes: Programmable logic controllers (PLC) define the production process, which is distributed across implementations in numerous PLCs. Any change of the process has side effects that require adaptations in many PLCs, for instance because the meaning of signals or messages changes. Service-based manufacturing defines interfaces for services that are called independent of any process. The manufacturing process is realized in an orchestrator that calls the services. This makes it possible to change the manufacturing process without changing the services or producing side effects. In all this, the asset administration shell, respectively the digital twin, is one of the central pillars of the Industrie 4.0 production architecture.

The benefits of BaSys 4.0

  • Provision and implementation of central Industrie 4.0 concepts as an open-source project
  • Easy creation of digital twins via defined interfaces
  • Change of the production possible within minutes, not months
  • Enabler for lot size 1
  • Easy integration of both existing and new devices
  • Access to process data from the office floor
  • Ready-made reference components for fast commissioning
  • Predictive maintenance

One uniform communication interface for Industrie 4.0

The asset administration shell (digital twin) serves as the common communication interface. The basic idea is that every asset in production, e.g., a machine, a production line, a product, or a worker, has such an asset administration shell, which contains all the information about this asset in a digital form or refers to such information. This may include information about fundamental properties of a device, such as size, weight, energy consumption, etc., but also formulas and/or simulation models describing the physical process implemented by the device. The asset administration shell also serves as an abstraction layer that unifies access to the information about an asset. This unified access to assets does not only increase software reusability, but also changeability, making it possible to exchange devices for others with the same production capabilities without any problem.

Making BaSys 4.0 tangible with a model factory and “shop floor 4.0”

By setting up a miniature factory (factory simulation from Fischertechnik), Fraunhofer IESE and NetApp will demonstrate at Hannover Messe how the open-source middleware BaSys 4.0 interconnects and digitalizes manufacturing processes with digital twins. By using the digital twins created with BaSys 4.0, trade fair visitors will always have an exact overview of the current production. Quality data can be collected and processed from different sources and then be made available to customers for further analysis. To ensure that this valuable data is not lost, Fraunhofer IESE has developed a reference architecture together with NetApp that makes it possible to store the digital twins with high availability. This ensures that access to the generated multitude of data, for example for Big Data Analytics or Predictive Maintenance, is possible at any time. Visitors will be able to see for themselves that the overall integration effort is reduced by the optional service-based manufacturing and that faster transition to Industrie-4.0-capable production becomes possible.

About BaSys 4.0

BaSys 4.0 is the Industrie 4.0 open-source middleware that has been funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) since 2016. In the project BaSys 4.0, Fraunhofer IESE is collaborating with 14 partners from research and industry to realize central concepts and standards of the Platform Industrie 4.0. The aim of the project is to develop a basic system for production plants that realizes the efficient changeability of a manufacturing process as a central challenge of Industrie 4.0.


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