An application example from the Open Industry 4.0 Alliance.
Open Industry 4.0 Alliance member KUKA demonstrates the freestyle in Industry 4.0: connecting a manufacturing cell to the cloud in ongoing production and providing it with all the features of a smart factory. This was only made possible thanks to teamwork between members of the alliance, first and foremost: Fujitsu, SAP and 3d Signals. Robots have built robots at KUKA before - now they are branching out into the cloud, with all the benefits of higher throughput, complete manufacturing transparency and predictive maintenance to minimize downtime.
Making the smart factory a reality requires cooperation. More than 85 national and global industrial companies have recognized this and joined forces with the Open Industry 4.0 Alliance in multilateral partnerships. The outstanding feature of this application example is the way it was implemented. The starting point was neither factory-new components nor a "test setup" in the corner of the KUKA machining shop. In line with the philosophy of the alliance, the application was implemented with components that have already been in operation for some time, i.e., in the so-called "brownfield". This also necessitated a few small retrofits, such as machines and software that did not originate from Alliance members but had to be integrated into the process.
Commenting on brownfield and retrofitting, Nils Herzberg, Alliance spokesperson and Senior Vice President and Global Head for Strategic Partnerships for Digital Supply Chain & Industrie 4.0 at SAP, explains, "The additional challenge we all face is that in the factories, some of these machines are 30 years old and they don't 'know', so to speak, what IIoT or Smart Factory means. So, there are a large number of retrofit requirements that relate to the interoperability issue, which I think adds an extra element to the complexity."