Open Industry 4.0

The Open Industry 4.0 Alliance supports the EU Data Act and develops best practices for its members


An integration project at Dutch Duurzaamheidsfabriek (Sustainability Factory) has received the Alliance's first OI4 Implementation Award. It took barely three months from the idea to the first results, which is a testament to the performance of those involved - including members of the Alliance and non-members. The resulting benefits are obvious to any company that decides to join this implementation alliance.

The impetus for the Alliance to carry out an implementation project for the process industry came from Jules Oudmans of UReason, an Alliance member and Director at UReason: "I have known Daan Wortel of the Duurzaamheidsfabriek for a long time. The Flow Centre of Excellence provides an exceptional, industry-oriented test facility that resembles real life in terms of hardware, communication protocols and control systems.”

The Duurzaamheidsfabriek (Sustainability Factory) is a joint facility for the city of Dordrecht near Rotterdam and the ROC Da Vinci College, a vocational educational institution for industry. "The Flow Center of Excellence is a model factory for the process industry where we teach," explains Daan Wortel, Managing Director of Duurzaamheidsfabriek.


"Software such as from UReason, as well as diverse hardware from other foundation members is already installed there. I liked the idea of taking the next step in the digitalisation of the process industry and was able to gain the support of SMITZH, the Smart Industry funding body for the Rotterdam metropolitan region, for the project."

This is the strength of the Open Industry 4.0 Alliance: digitalisation projects emerge from the personal network of the members, combining what already exists into a functioning system. The result is project delivery faster than it could be realised at the same pace by individual members alone. Once the project is set up, other members derive the greatest possible benefit. The project took just under three months from the first hardware installation in November 2021 to the tests of the field to edge, to cloud communication of equipment diagnostics and prognostics - at the end of January 2022. It’s evident why the demonstration project at the Flow Centre of Excellence received the OI4 Implementation Award 2021.

A total of 11 Alliance members are directly or indirectly involved in the Alliance's OI4 Demonstrator for Process Industry. The aim of the project is to connect sensors and flowmeters, which continuously monitor the transport and processing of liquid goods, from the factory to the cloud in a continuous and manufacturer-independent manner. This will generate more data (some of which is already processed in the Edge), which can then be used for predictive maintenance, for example. "Sustainability plays an important role for us, of course. A facility that is optimally adjusted and functioning consumes less material, which means it is more economical. By setting up digital twins, it also functions more reliably," adds Wortel.

For example, the classic players in flow measurement, such as Samson - an early member of the Alliance - and Krohne, a joint venture partner of Samson, are involved. Samson, founded in 1907 in Mannheim, Germany, is the specialist for control valves for the process industry. Krohne was founded in 1921 in Duisburg, Germany, and specialises in process instrumentation. For example, the FOCUS-1 Intelligent Process Node, developed by the two companies as part of their joint venture FOCUS-ON - a member of the Alliance - is installed in the facility on the factory floor. It combines the functions of sensors, actuators, and control in a single device, and can also perform edge functions. Hardware from non-members, such as Honeywell temperature transmitters, are also integrated. IO-Link masters from Pepperl+Fuchs and RIO HART Gateways unlock the data from the field, hardware from WAGO is included at the PLC and Edge level, and the APM-Studio monitoring software is provided by UReason. Finally, SAMDigital Valve Smart, Microsoft's Azure IoT Hub and PTC Thingworx are used in the cloud.

In FOCUS-ON electronics, for example, the models of UReason are realised in terms of controls, alarms and diagnostics up to the prediction of events. This allows emerging problems to be detected in real time, such as non-conformities and fault events, defining crisis levels that require preventive intervention.

A digital twin maps internal variables and processes (including valve control, flow, pressure, temperature), reduces the complexity of distributed control systems (DCS) and enables new functionalities. For example, the digital twin can "step in" if there is a malfunction or damage to a sensor.

"A large company from Germany with different production sites worldwide has expressed strong interest in this integration project," says Daan Wortel. But a global telecommunications company is also looking into the possibility of expanding the case with SAP IOT and SAP PAI software.

Companies from the process industry that are not yet members of the Alliance can view the Alliance's constantly evolving OI4 Demonstrator for Process Industry in practice. If they need to implement it, they are welcome to become members of the Alliance to immediately benefit from its complete best practice.