Secure Plug and Work

A collaborative project within the framework of the BMBF announcement “Intelligent networking in production – A contribution to the future project Industry 4.0”

© Fraunhofer IOSB

Initial Sitation

Industrie 4.0 envisages intelligent plant components, machines, plants, and IT systems connected to each other. They know relevant ‘partners' and their skills and posses an interface similar to USB. In case of (re-)commisioning, (re-)engineering, (re-)design, and startup of components, machines, and plants, all partners are able to react to changes like a new production situation. Changes affect embedded software of fi eld devices, program code of controllers, or superordinated IT systems such as MES.


Changes often result in manual effort and are time- and cost-intensive, and error-prone. In the context of Industrie 4.0, these changes shall be effected in a (semi-)automatic way, by means of an interface for plants and production components similar to the USB interface in the PC world. However, the situation within production is much more complex. All changes shall occur ‘secure'.
“Secure Plug and Work” considers application scenarios on different hierarchy and complexity levels:

Use Case Integration Component - Machine

(e.g. ball screw in machine tool)

  • Machine tool
  • Main spindle
  • Multi-spindle head
  • Ball screw

Use Case Integration Machine - Plant

(e.g. modules in industrial cleaning system)

  • Cleaning system
  • Gripping system
  • Tool magazine

Project results

The project realizes Plug-and-work mechanism with integrated security technology based on industrial standards. This results in faster engineering and reduced ramp-up time of components, machines, plants, and IT systems. The Secure Plug and Work architecture realizes the secure Plug-and-work functionality by software components for the change management based on OPC UA and AutomationML. SecurePLUGandWORK only allows authorized partners (components, machines, and IT systems) to link into the production system and encrypts communication, if necessary. Furthermore SecurePLUGandWORK equips non-communicative plant components with Industrie 4.0 characteristics by the hardware SecurePLUGandWORK-adapter.

Project partners

  • August Steinmeyer GmbH & Co. KG
  • cbb software GmbH
  • Franz Kessler GmbH
  • Fraunhofer Institute of Optronics, System Technologies and Image Exploitation IOSB
  • Industrial Automation branch INA of Fraunhofer IOSB
  • Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research ISI
  • MAG IAS GmbH
  • MOC Danner GmbH
  • ROMAI Robert Maier GmbH
  • Schunk GmbH & Co. KG
  • wbk Institute of Production Science

For more information on the project partners, see the downloadable graphic graphic.

Publications with project explanations

  • Miriam Schleipen, Olaf Sauer: Secure Plug and Work – ein Verbundprojekt im Rahmen der Bekanntmachung "Intelligente Vernetzung in der Produktion - Ein Beitrag zum Zukunftsprojekt Industrie 4.0", visIT IT-Sicherheit für die Produktion, S.8-9, 2014. To the science-journal (in German language)
  • Marco Blume, Nils Koch, Jahanzaib Imtiaz, Dr. Holger Flatt, Prof. Dr. Jürgen Jasperneite, Dr.-Ing. Miriam Schleipen, Dr.-Ing. Olaf Sauer, Steffen Dosch: An OPC-UA based approach for dynamic-configuration of security credentials and integrating a vendor independent digital product memory. KommA – Kommunikation in der Automation, Lemgo, November, 2014. To the paper

Publications and presentations with project mention

  • Olaf Sauer: Plug and Work – vertikale Integration vom Feldgerät bis zum MES-System, Industrie 4.0-Summit, Oktober, München 2013. To the presentation (in German language)
  • Olaf Sauer: Entwicklungstrends von MES in der Industrie 4.0, Industrie 4.0-Summit, Oktober, München, 2014. To the presentation (in German language)
  • Olaf Sauer: Information technology for the factory of the future – state of the art and need for action, CIRP conference DET 2014, Stuttgart, In: Bauer, Wilhelm; Constantinescu, Carmen; Sauer, Olaf; Maropoulos, Paul; Muelaner, Jody ; Fraunhofer-Institut für Arbeitswirtschaft und Organisation -IAO-, Stuttgart; International Academy for Production Engineering -CIRP-, Paris: Disruptive Innovation in Manufacturing Engineering towards the 4th Industrial Revolution : 8th International Conference on Digital Enterprise Technology, DET 2014, March 25 -28 2014, Stuttgart, Germany, Abstracts, Stuttgart: Fraunhofer Verlag, 2014, ISBN: 3-8396-0697-7, ISBN: 978-3-8396-0697-1, S.34, 2014. To the paper
  • Olaf Sauer: Secure Plug and Work – an example for the challenges from Industrie 4.0. Keynote, CIRP conference DET 2014, Stuttgart, 2014. To the presentation
  • Olaf Sauer: Trends bei produktionsnaher Informationstechnik – wie sieht die IT für die Fabrik der Zukunft aus?, IT2Industry, November, München, 2014. To the presentation (in German language)
  • Olaf Sauer: Entwicklungstrends von MES in der Industrie 4.0 – wie sieht die IT für die Fabrik der Zukunft aus?, MES & Process Minds, November, Berlin, 2014. To the presentation (in German language)
  • Olaf Sauer: Semantic interoperability for Plug-and-Work-functions in Industrie 4.0 – the combination of OPC-UA and AutomationML as industrial standards for interoperability, OPC Fay Europe, 2014. To the presentation  

Field of application Plug and Work

Do you want to learn more about the “Plug and Work” application? Then visit the page of our Plug and Work field of application and find out more (in German only).

Project details

Secure Plug and Work

Project duration: 2014-2017

Funding code: 02PJ2590 ff

The project was funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and supervised by Projektträger Karlruhe (PTKA).