The platform’s working groups

Meeting of working groups: a man is presenting the results of working group 2
© BMWi, Anja Blumentritt

The platform’s technical work is carried out in thematic working groups. The working groups develop and document precompetitive concepts on selected topics and specific recommendations for action that, when implemented, should ensure a competi-tive advantage for all partners in Germany.

Working group on reference architectures, standards and norms

A consensus-based, research-accompanying standardisation process is essential for the rapid realisation of more highly digitised industrial manufacturing processes.

One of the platform’s major tasks is to incorporate existing norms and standards in RAMI 4.0 (Reference Architecture Model Industrie 4.0). RAMI 4.0 is an initial proposal for a solution-neutral reference architecture model. It will first be necessary to gain a structured overview of the existing methods and approaches. Overlaps and gaps in existing standards and norms should then be identified and recommendations drawn up for preferred solutions. The working group will pay special attention to minimising the number of standards to be employed.

The Industrie 4.0-relevant standards and norms are negotiated and developed at various technical levels and by different bodies. The platform will therefore take up the coordination of Industrie 4.0 standardisation activities in numerous sub-committees and ensure consistent and concerted action across a range of organisations and associations. The platform is the contact and dialogue partner for all stakeholders that want to define Industrie 4.0 compatibilities. Agreements and proposals on such definitions are communicated by the platform in a broad and transparent manner.
Companies from any sector can participate. Many are already actively involved in the platform’s work. These companies will benefit in the future if their machines, storage systems, products, employees, suppliers, partner companies and customers are networked and able to exchange information in accordance with uniform standards.

Working group on research and innovation

The working group on research and innovation evaluates current case studies to identify research and innovation requirements from the industry perspective. The group also updates the Industrie 4.0 research and innovation roadmap. Together with the platform’s other working groups, the group identifies the research necessary to advance Industrie 4.0 in Germany. The group presents its findings on necessary innovation and research to, inter alia, the national funding bodies. The results are presented as scientific recommendations for implementation, for example, models for future research programs.

At the same time it is important that companies receive research findings in order to drive innovation. Particular attention is paid to SMEs, which are supported by targeted transfer strategies to employ Industrie 4.0 in their factories. Concrete applications are analysed and evaluated in terms of their innovativeness.

Working group on the security of networked systems

The working group on the security of networked systems will help resolve the outstanding issues concerning secure communication and secure identities of value chain partners. It will also address the detection of cyber attacks on production processes and their implications. Both of these approaches should help facilitate the necessary confidence between value chain partners. The working group will also provide SMEs in particular with a quick-start guide for the introduction of “Industrie 4.0 security” to enable the widespread introduction of Industrie 4.0 and its full benefits. In addition, the working group will define the new knowledge and experience required of employees in relation to Industrie 4.0 security issues and will deliver its findings to the technical working group. Competent users and managers are needed to ensure that the security concepts and methods that are developed can be applied consistently.

Working group on the legal framework

The Plattform Industrie 4.0 working group on the legal framework has the objective of evaluating the opportunities and risks presented by Industrie 4.0 in legal terms. The working group functions as an “enabler” to support the development and implementation of new standards and business models. It also highlights where legislative action is needed. This primary issue is how the present law, which essentially addresses human-controlled behaviour, needs to be adapted to cover machine-controlled communication.

Working group on work, education and training

The transition to a networked industry will only succeed in Germany if the relevant actors are involved in the process of change from the outset. Plattform Industrie 4.0 follows this principle and brings together a circle of people who will take up these issues in a dedicated working group.

The working group on work, education and training has defined three closely interrelated fields for its endeavours:

  • In networked information and production spaces, human-machine interfaces and cooperation must be designed to serve the interests of the people involved and the innovative capacity of enterprises.
  • The organisational frameworks for coalescing value networks must be designed to facilitate working and learning within the processes.
  • Training and qualification programmes in hybrid fields must be designed to accommodate operational skills development, processoriented learning and new forms of learning.