One of the challenges to the IT architecture of Industrie 4.0 is the ability to adapt to modifications. This could mean that new plants or production processes have to be integrated into the system or that existing production systems have to be modified e.g. because a certain product version has to be produced additionally. The consortium members call this ability »Reconfigurable Information technology« according to Wiendahl which is not only related to the physical layer but increasingly also to software.
The main idea is that – similar to the USB standard in the PC domain – mechanisms of self-description concerning functionality, identification, self-configuration of communication and control of data exchange are used whenever new components, machines or plants are integrated in a production system or when software-relevant modifications occur in the production process.
However, today’s ICT architectures in production companies cannot yet meet this condition: proprietary interfaces, individual systems which are not integrated, or company-specific specialized solutions prevent that components and machines equipped with ICT functionality can use mechanisms of self-configuration and integrated data management. According to the research agenda CPS these »intelligent« systems and machines are Cyber-Physical Systems (CPS). Nevertheless they have to fulfil the production specific requirements e. g. time, quality and costs.
In order to meet this challenge the perfect co-operation between ICT competence and knowledge on products and processes is needed: Engineers, computer scientists as well as automation experts have to work together far more closely than before. These requirements result in the constitution of the consortium.
For further information on the project please look here: http://www.secureplugandwork.de