AAS Dataspace for Everybody

– the test environment for data spaces based on Asset Administration Shells.

Industrial data spaces are indispensable for sharing confidential data with a clearly defined number of users, such as your own suppliers. Companies can use them, for example, to precisely calculate the carbon footprint of products along the supply chain, share manufacturing documentation, create digital product passports, and efficiently identify disruptions in value chains. The data space defines both the rules of the game that must apply to all users and the basic technical infrastructure for uncomplicated data usage. Pilot projects such as Catena-X and the Manufacturing-X initiative are carrying out research regarding the necessary technologies and governance structures in this context.

Asset Administration Shells (AAS) have proven to be a key technology as the technical basis for Digital Twins. These integrate seamlessly into production processes and serve as digital representatives for products and devices, but also for processes, workstations, and all other relevant assets. Even though the software environments required for this, such as Eclipse BaSyx, are available as open-source software, their installation is often complex and requires specific expertise, making digitalization a time-consuming and costly undertaking.

With the AAS Dataspace for Everybody, the Fraunhofer Institute for Experimental Software Engineering IESE will, in cooperation with NetApp Deutschland GmbH, the Industrial Digital Twin Association (IDTA), the Plattform Industrie 4.0, Xitaso GmbH, and congatec GmbH, provide a solution to enable small and medium-sized enterprises as well as large companies to digitalize manufacturing processes, create Digital Twins and integrate them into data spaces. Small and medium-sized enterprises, in particular, will benefit from significant cost and time savings in digitalization thanks to preconfigured software containers and hosting offers. This will significantly reduce the entry barriers for the digitalization of in-house manufacturing processes and the establishment of data spaces.

AAS Dataspace for Everybody

The AAS Dataspace for Everybody will be a test environment for data spaces based on Asset Administration Shells, which will be continuously developed further in the context of Manufacturing-X. It will enable the secure exchange of Digital Twins. In the future, companies can use it to easily test their own data spaces as well as software components and applications for data spaces based on Asset Administration Shells.

Fraunhofer IESE will also offer preconfigured Industry 4.0 applications that provide an infrastructure for Digital Twins and realize common challenges such as Digital Twins. The open-source middleware “Eclipse BaSyx” forms the foundation for the implementation. With Eclipse BaSyx, Digital Twins of assets such as machines, processes, or software can be created and networked with each other.

For these solutions to grow with the requirements, our partners will offer solutions for operating Digital Twins professionally and assuring their security and fail-safe operation. We will also continue to develop the AAS Dataspace further in the context of Manufacturing-X. Would you like to use the AAS Dataspace for Everybody to test an application, for example? Would you like to digitalize your systems or connect them to a data space? Or would you like to create your own data space? If so, contact us and be one of the first users of the AAS Dataspace for Everybody.

Data Sharing vs. data space

A data space does not make just any data available to any person without a specific purpose. Rather, data is only exchanged between one or more authorized partners with one intention and mutual consent for a specific purpose. This can be, for example, the download of product-related documents such as the data sheet, access to machine maintenance data, or electronic orders and payments. As a matter of principle, the data remains with the users and therefore under their control. The data is not “uploaded”.

AAS Dataspace components

In the context of the AAS Dataspace for Everybody, Fraunhofer IESE will provide a test environment for data spaces that comprises the central components such as a registry, an identity provider, and a repository. Fraunhofer IESE will also provide preconfigured software images so that companies can test various Industry 4.0 applications. This includes, e.g., calculation of the carbon footprint along the manufacturing process or the digital product passport, which records relevant information during the manufacturing of a product. The following preconfigured components are currently planned:

  • User client/server applications (e.g., AAS Web-GUI)
  • AAS data server
  • Role-based access control
  • Identify provider & authentication
  • Decentralized discovery/registry for AAS & submodels
  • Redundant repositories for submodel templates
  • VPN connection

In addition, companies will be able to use the open-source software images provided in the future, download them, and host them themselves. Together with our cooperation partners, we will be happy to offer customized solutions for the operation of Digital Twins that also meet the highest requirements in terms of safety and security, dependability, and availability.

Getting a Head Start in the World of AAS Dataspaces & Eclipse BASYX

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AAS dataspaces promise a wealth of benefits for participating organisations. However, building and maintaining your own AAS infrastructure to join a dataspace is a complex task. Existing solutions such as Eclipse BaSyx and the AAS Dataspace for Everbody project allow organisations to get started immediately - without having to worry about every detail.

Referent Frank Schnicke, Fraunhofer IESE


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