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“Administration Shell Day”: Successful start to the practical test for Industry 4.0

Together with its partners, Plattform Industrie 4.0 has developed the concept of the administration shell. Various actors have already taken this concept on board and used it in projects. On 20 October 2017, representatives from ten implementing projects came together in Frankfurt am Main to discuss their experiences together with the platform’s standardization experts. In order to achieve the joint aim of interoperability, these practical experiences are now being built on and the projects are receiving concrete recommendations for further implementation.

The Big Picture: Kai Garrels, Spokesman of the working group “Reference architectures, standards and standardization” at Plattform Industrie 4.0 provides an introduction into the topic.
The Big Picture: Kai Garrels, Spokesman of the working group “Reference architectures, standards and standardization” at Plattform Industrie 4.0 provides an introduction into the topic.
© Martin Hankel

Be it IC4F, open ASS, or SemAnz40 – these are all examples taken from practical experience and working with the concept of the Industry 4.0 component. The basic idea is the following: each Industry 4.0 object contains an administration shell, i.e. a digital twin. This concept was presented by Plattform Industrie 4.0 in April 2015 and since then it has been further developed on a continuous basis. At the same time, various projects and initiatives have taken on board this concept and are implementing it in practice. Now the time had come to bring everyone together and to see: how does the concept interlink with its practical application? What are some common themes, differences or needs for clarification? The aim was to further push forward the work on standardization being done by Plattform Industrie 4.0 in order to ensure interoperability in Industry 4.0.

On 20 October 2017, the ZVEI offices in Frankfurt am Main became a think-tank for Industry 4.0 standards. About 75 representatives of various projects and initiatives as well as experts from Plattform Industrie 4.0, including from industry associations ZVEI, VDMA and Bitkom, took part in the “Administration Shell Day” in order to examine ten practical approaches to Industry 4.0. The focus was on getting to know these practical applications with a view towards their interoperability. Only if the implementation and the concept developed by Plattform Industrie 4.0 are compatible, meaning that they work together, will it be possible to successfully establish the In-dustry 4.0 component and RAMI 4.0 as an internationally recognised reference architecture model for Industry 4.0.

“Administration Shell Day”: a valuable step for standardization work at Plattform Industrie 4.0

“Direct exchange with all players involved is crucial when it comes to further developing Plattform Industrie 4.0’s standardization concepts and putting them into practice. That is why today represented an important step: today we learnt about many great approaches and discussed our practical experience – a very successful start to the continued intensive work on Industry 4.0 standards in order to ensure interoperability between cutting edge projects and Plattform Industrie 4.0’s concepts”, said Kai Garrels, spokesman for working group 1 “Reference architectures, Standards and Standardization” at Plattform Industrie 4.0 and Head of Standardization and Industry Relations at ABB Stotz-Kontakt.

During the presentation of the projects and initiatives it became quite clear that they all contained ideas which employ and implement the basic idea of the administration shell – with a variety of approaches and at varying stages. Some for instance are already providing important ideas and supporting companies in a practical way: SmartFactory KL for example provides companies with concrete possibilities for implementation in its crossmanufacturer Industry 4.0 installation – the first of its kind worldwide. Others provide Open Source software in order to directly test out and codevelop the principle of the administration shell, such as open AAS (open Asset Ad-ministration Shell). When it comes to research, for example at SemAnz40 (Semantic Alliance for Industry 4.0), the administration shell also plays the leading role. Here, research is being done on how the administration shell of objects can be implemented in such a way that they communicate and interact securely and in real-time. How such a communication assembly kit can be modelled based on selected industrial application scenarios is the focal point of the IC4F project (Industrial Communication for Factories).

In addition, projects and initiatives were presented by Basys4.0, Bosch, FDT Group, SAP AIN and IBM.
The next step will be to assess the knowledge gathered throughout the day as well as the comprehensive information which was requested via a survey, and for the find-ings to be discussed in the ZVEI reflective group “Models and Standards” together with working group 1 from Plattform Industrie 4.0. In the end, recommendations will be developed which will be directly addressed to the projects and initiatives – to achieve maximum interoperability.

The administration shell is part of the Industry 4.0 component concept. It is the digital reflection of a real object. For instance, it describes a drill in the virtual world, pro-vides that drill with a unique ID and contains information on what the drill is capable of. With the help of the administration shell, it is possible to integrate any object into the Industry 4.0 world in terms of information technology. More information on the concept of the administration shell can be found here.