Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT)

The Industrial Internet of Things combines the two worlds

  • Cyber-physical systems in manufacturing, e.g. sensors, Embedded systems in machines and their components, which receive and deliver data for operation via industrial communication channels like OPC UA.
  • IT systems, e.g. for product lifecycle management, resource planning, customer order management or decision support, as well as cloud computing in the form of infrastructure, platform or Software-as-a-Service (IaaS, Paas or SaaS).

Compared to the Internet of Things from the world of consumer goods, production has more extensive requirements for IIoT systems, e.g.

  • High bandwidth to transfer data in the required amount and speed,
  • Low latency, so that real-time relevant processes can also run efficiently,
  • Standard data formats so that the many devices from different manufacturers can communicate with each other and their data can be integrated,
  • IT security to protect know-how-relevant data from unauthorized access and devices from unauthorized access,
  • High availability of services, e.g. the calculation of KPIs such as cycle times or downtimes, so that they are permanently available to users.

The Fraunhofer IOSB supports customers from the manufacturing industry and the mechanical engineering in building customized and sustainable IT architectures that are prepared and designed for industrial IoT. Together with you, we answer the questions of which functionalities are executed in edge devices, in classic IT systems ('on premise') or in the cloud.

In production, there is a large amount of heterogeneous data sources that provide structured data, e.g. defined alarm messages from control systems, as well as unstructured data, e.g. images or video streams for monitoring scrap belts in the press shop. We develop innovative methods and use procedures of the Artificial Intelligence to fuse, analyze and evaluate the data from the IoT devices. The IIoT also uses other data sources, e.g. sensors that record environmental parameters, provide weather data or process traffic information. This makes it possible to derive further statements about the context of devices, machines and production processes that are not possible with the classic MES systems. IT security for IIoT, its devices and the networks in the company and in the supply chain are important fields of research and consulting for us.

As companies increasingly optimize their expenditures for depreciation-relevant assets ('CAPEX'), the functionality of 'asset management' in IIoT is becoming increasingly important. All relevant devices require a model-based description of their parameters and the data they provide, including their capabilities in a machine-readable and agreed semantics. This clarifies, among other things, the importance of data provided by IIoT devices. The IOSB has been working on such model-like device descriptions and their smooth import into asset management systems for some time now.