Kai Garrels, head of the working group „Reference Architectures and Standards“ Enlarge

Kai Garrels, head of the working group „Reference Architectures and Standards“

© BMWi / Reitz

Background: Open standards and cross-domain interoperability

Cross-domain interoperability describes the ability of systems, devices or applications to communicate with each other and work together seamlessly. The key components for interoperability are open standards. In these standards, hardware and software, user and supplier industries, and the product lifecycle must be understood as a whole. Only in this way can different components in digital systems be interoperable.

Assets connected via the AAS Enlarge

Assets connected via the AAS

© Plattform Industrie 4.0 / Anna Salari, Model AAS © ZVEI SG

Outcome: Asset Administration Shell (AAS)

The AAS is the implementation of the digital twin in Industrie 4.0. An Administration Shell is thus the "standardized connector" between the analog and virtual world. The AAS has been included in the IEC series of standards (The IEC 63278-1 ED1 project "Asset administration shell for industrial applications - Part 1: Administration shell structure" is being worked on in IEC TC65 WG24).

The working group is continuously developing specifications and publishes its work on the Asset Administration Shell together with its partners:

Outlook: Rolling out the Asset Administration Shell and enabling long-term interoperability in digital ecosystems

In line with the further conceptual development of the Asset Administration Shell and its specifications, the working group will continue to focus on laying the necessary cornerstones for the widespread use of the Asset Administration Shell in the future. This includes the initiation and coordination of future projects for implementation, specification, collaboration, and research. In addition, the further development of the open-source implementation as well as the didactic preparation is driven forward. The working group harmonizes various Asset Administration Shell projects and use cases and identifies needs for standardization.

Open-source: Develop your own Asset Administration Shells with AASX Package Explorer

With the open-source implementation "AASX Package Explorer" developers can create and use their own Asset Administration Shells. It contains numerous features, such as interfaces to common formats like XML and JSON, access to online libraries like ECLASS or existing partial model templates, sample AAS and screencasts with instructions on how to use the AASX Package Explorer and the AASX Server.

Work structures: The standardization network of the Plattform

With over 75 meetings per year, the approximately 100 voluntary members of the working group maintain an intensive exchange. The participating experts from industry, research and federal authorities, standardization and associations are well interconnected. They work in sub-working groups and task forces on topics including Asset Administration Shells, semantics and interaction for Industrie 4.0 components, secure communication for Industrie 4.0, communication protocols, and use cases in testbeds.

Cooperation and projects

The AAS is being further developed in various pilot-, research- and collaborative projects, e.g. in the projects "Networked Asset Administration Shell", "BaSys 4.2" or "Interopera". The working group cooperates with the ECLASS association, among others. In addition, the foundation of the user organization Industrial Digital Twin Association - IDTA was initiated and accompanied by the Plattform. The association, founded by the industry associations ZVEI, VDMA and Bitkom as well as twenty companies from mechanical engineering and the electrical industry, is intended to bring the AAS into broad practical use.

Through a close partnership with the Standardization Council Industrie 4.0 (SCI4.0), the results of the Plattform Industrie 4.0 are quickly placed in international standardization bodies. The cooperation with the Labs Network Industrie 4.0 (LNI4.0) ensures that practical experience from numerous initial use cases is adequately taken into account in the standardization processes.

The concept of the Asset Administration Shell is recognized among experts and is constantly being developed and transferred into practice.