Companies and organizations band together to develop open platforms to drive manufacturing technology use cases forward. I’ve received notice of two more announcements from Hannover. The problem as I see it lies in the proliferation of these alliances.
Everyone says they want to be open and attract everyone. However, someone is always driving these organizations. Evidently competitors don’t want to sign in with each other. So, they go off and start another one. With any luck, each platform will construct open connectors such that the broader industry will be served.
Note to my American readers—there is a decidedly European flavor to these announcements. Many American companies seem to have a “go it alone” mentality shunning collaboration and open standards. It will take pressure from their customers to get them to open up to the new world.
In this post, I’ll take a quick look at the Open Manufacturing Platform and the Open Industry 4.0 Alliance.
Microsoft and the BMW Group launched the Open Manufacturing Platform, an initiative to drive open industrial IoT development, help grow a community to build future solutions and enable faster, more cost-effective innovation in the manufacturing industry. The OMP is the latest step in Microsoft’s commitment to the advancement of innovation in the manufacturing space by enabling open platforms. The new community is being formed now and will support the development of smart factory solutions shared by OMP members and partners. The Advisory Board is expected to be set up with four to six partners by the end of 2019.
Built on the Microsoft Azure Industrial IoT Cloud platform, the OMP is designed to:
· Provide community members with a reference architecture with open source components based on open industrial standards and an open data model.
· Foster collaboration with community members and partners who will have the capability to develop their own solutions and services while maintaining control of their data.
· Address common industrial challenges such as machine connectivity and on-premises systems integration.
Microsoft will also continue its longstanding work with SAP and other partners in the Open Industry 4.0 Alliance, also announced today, further supporting industry collaboration now and into the future.
The Open Manufacturing Platform is an open industrial IoT platform to accelerate production and logistics optimization efforts.
- Data standardization across data producers for faster insights correlation
- Central auditability and dashboards
- Data monetization opportunities through controlled sharing and ownership
- Open source for OMP components
- Community approach ensures requirement prioritization. All partners contribute and can shape the future of the platform, focusing on common industrial use cases and challenges.
An alliance for the IIoT
At the Hannover Messe 2019 trade fair, seven leading suppliers from mechanical engineering, industrial automation and software announced the foundation of the Open Industry 4.0 Alliance. With this cooperation, the companies want to overcome proprietary solutions and give a decisive boost to the digital transformation of the European industry.
Founding members of the alliance are Beckhoff, Endress+Hauser, Hilscher, ifm, KUKA, Multivac and SAP. In principle, the alliance is open to all companies. Balluff, Gebhardt, Pepperl+Fuchs, Schmidtsche Schack, Samson and WIKA have already joined the alliance as members. All companies are mutually committed to the creation of a standardized and open ecosystem for the operation of highly automated factories and process plants with the integration of logistics and services.
“The open architecture of the Open Industry 4.0 Alliance meets all the requirements of the process industry,” emphasized Matthias Altendorf, CEO of the Endress+Hauser Group. “It is based on standards, ensures transparency across all business processes and guarantees the integrity of the systems. This enables process plant operators to leverage the potential of digitalization.”
The alliance members are planning to realize a so-called Open Industry 4.0 Framework based on existing standards such as I/O Link, OPC UA and RAMI for the entire route from objects in the workshop to services. Customers can choose from a modular system of compatible and scalable solution and service components, such as digital services from Endress+Hauser’s Netilion IIoT ecosystem.
The connection to the SAP software portfolio ensures the integration of a company’s business processes as well as collaboration with partners across company boundaries. The open architecture allows the simple connection of further system landscapes.