Open Industry 4.0

Highly available warehouses across the supply chain – OI4 Implementation Award II


The joint GEBHARDT Intralogistics Group and Dunkermotoren project team took just under three months to set up a comprehensive Industry 4.0 project in GEBHARDT's fully operational main warehouse. This project was awarded the second Implementation Award from the Open Industry 4.0 Alliance. But this is not the end of the project. Now, additional partners are joining on an ongoing basis to establish an intralogistics platform that implements standard-compliant best practices for Industry 4.0 across companies. Project beneficiaries are companies that have now joined the alliance and can adopt a standardised and practically proven solution almost out-of-the-box.

A warehouse that does not run smoothly is one of the greatest economic risks for a company - as well as its supply chain partners. Highly available warehouses are therefore one of the most crucial elements of Industry 4.0. Fail safety is also one of the basic conditions that must first be achieved in practice.

GEBHARDT Intralogistics Group and Dunkermotoren have spearheaded this project of the Open Industry 4.0 Alliance to address just this issue. The project was brought to life during ongoing operations at the GEBHARDT Innovation Center of the GEBHARDT Intralogistics Group at its main location in Sinsheim. The logistics centre of GEBHARDT was put into operation in 2018 and has an area of 1,200 square metres. Now, the logistics centre also serves as a reference facility for internal logistics as well as a test warehouse for the alliance partners.

The critical components in a warehouse are the units that allow teams to operate it automatically. In this case, these are the shuttles from GEBHARDT, inside of which Dunker motors operate as important components. The aim is to check the condition of parts of the Dunker motors in the GEBHARDT shuttles and to enable early intervention in the event of anomalies. The integrated operating devices and shuttles were: GEBHARDT Cheetah operating devices for containers and shelves as well as GEBHARDT shuttles of the StoreBiter® type (OLS - One Level Shuttle and MLS - Multi Level Shuttle). Type BG66 and BG75 Dunkermotors operate in these terminals.

"In this project, we more or less took on the role of our end customers and set up an even more general abstraction level than our own Galileo IoT® platform with the Alliance architecture," says Yannick Maier, Product Manager Digital Products and Services at GEBHARDT Intralogistics Group. "We were focused on an Alliance-compliant integration according to the Asset Administration Shell, which defines Digital Twins in particular. Our various shuttles in the warehouse are physically and - via their digital twins, virtually - integrated into the overarching cloud architecture of the Alliance. The goal is predictive maintenance and the avoidance of downtime in warehouse operations."

The Alliance project is about even more universality. Not only can GEBHARDT's own cloud serve as an important strategic tool for its customers, all machine data can be displayed and checked via the GEBHARDT Galileo IoT® platform and the GEBHARDT Galileo Insight extension. But it is also about paths from cloud to cloud. It is about the integration of existing products and architectures of the Alliance members into a higher-level, universal architecture. Dunkermotoren, for example, also has its own cloud technology. Now it's about standardising the signal flow, for example via MQTT, within a generally valid architecture. The Asset Administration Shell (AAS), which is funded by the German government, provides the structure.

"At Dunkermotoren, as a Tier Two supplier and member of the Alliance, we focused on the Alliance architecture from the outset," explains Markus Weishaar, Head of IIoT & Service at Dunkermotoren. "At Hannover Messe, we showed an example of how we will access one of our motors in one of the GEBHARDT shuttles live via a tablet in the GEBHARDT warehouse. We can also show the status data visually in a standardised way, i.e. not in the form of a demo programmed for trade fair purposes that only works in a specific configuration. At GEBHARDT, the visualisation of the standardised status data provided via the AAS is carried out directly in Galileo® IoT without having to integrate separate dashboards for example.” 

Many components from GEBHARDT's OI4 Alliance partners are already installed in the Sinsheim intralogistics warehouse. Therefore, the project is not yet over. Rather it is to be expanded step by step via the technology of Alliance members Captron, Bizerba, ifm, Pepperl + Fuchs, Phoenix Contact, Sick and SAP.

Bizerba will of course contribute its capabilities in terms of weighing, thus opening up additional possibilities in intralogistics. In sensor technology, in addition to the data from the sensors already integrated in the end devices in the brownfield, many other evaluations and thus insights can be developed with newly installed (non-invasive) sensors. Partners such as Pepperl+Fuchs and Sick will be involved here. Captron wants to contribute its experience with touch switches as another form of capacitive sensor technology to the project. ifm and image processing are another keyword. Phoenix Contact is contributing to energy management, which will be a key component given the current challenges. Finally, SAP wants to contribute to the comprehensive evaluation of the data streams with the integration into its cloud applications.

The first phase of the project already impressively proved where the journey in intralogistics has to go. "Our jury was very impressed by the fast implementation in the live warehouse from the GEBHARDT Intralogistics Group," explains Ekrem Yigitdöl, Managing Director of the Open Industry 4.0 Alliance. "So, it's not a showcase or a pilot application. Moreover, implementation is comprehensive with many collaborating partners across several levels, which we call OI4 Process Houses. Use cases were implemented in the following process houses: Asset Onboarding, Condition Monitoring, Process Twin, Product Twin, Enterprise Logistic and Cross Enterprise. With this project, we as an Alliance once again show that we can implement standards in a practical and market-oriented way."

Felicitas Schuring

Berkeley Kommunikation
Phone: +49 89 74 72 62 41