Internet of Production

  Photography of a robot arm from the company KUKA © Martin Braun  


The aim of the Industry 4.0 research initiative is to enable globally networked, flexible and thus adaptable production. In the vision of the Internet of Production (IoP) cluster of excellence, this requires the creation of a continuous network in which semantically adequate and context-dependent production data is available at the appropriate granularity. The basis for the creation of such a network are so-called digital shadows as digital images of networked production. Challenges for the implementation of the vision are especially the integration of new IT technologies into existing processes, the heterogeneity and missing context of the accruing production data.


Control systems in the Internet of Production

The research demonstrator IoP-AC (Internet of Production Automation Cell) abstracts windscreen post-processing and combines it with the advantages of cloud and edge architectures to control automation processes in cyber-physical production systems. Before windscreens are installed in cars, they are prepared for the application of other components. For this purpose, they pass through the “Cleaner" process stage for cleaning the functional surfaces and “Primer" for applying the primer. Despite generally robust automation technology, dimensional deviations within product lines, as well as frequent retooling of the systems due to the high number of variants, lead to frequent system downtimes and manual "re-teaching" by robots. The approach is to use a sensitive robot to send a measured real trajectory to the following robot for further processing of the product with the help of Edge devices. Process control operates on the basis of the Digital Shadow, which provides data at shop floor level thanks to edge technology.


Research topics

The demonstration scenario provides insights into the research activities within the framework of the Cluster of Excellence "Internet of Production" in the field of control technology. The topics addressed are: Digital shadow, event-based cell control, safety and networking along the value chain. The provision and processing of data for use in the Digital Shadow is the core topic of the Cluster of Excellence "Internet of Production".

IoP-AC addresses the description and provision of control technology data. These can be orchestrated with the help of ontology-based data management. The concept of the Digital Shadow is implemented for questions of process control, safety and networking. Product-centric control is implemented with the help of the Digital Shadow. For this purpose, all production assets provide status information with the help of Edge computing. Control functions can be executed event-based on the basis of this information on the Edge.
Continuous networking between the participants in the production chain is also addressed in the demonstrator. When production data is exchanged across (company) borders, it should be accessible and understandable for all participants. This can be achieved with the help of semantic information modelling of individual process participants, which is being developed at the demonstrator.
Functional safety must also have top priority in CPPS. Flexible, contract-based safety functions have been implemented to safeguard hardware and adaptive automation processes in CPPS. These integrate safety devices and ensure the implementation of emergency stop and interrupt functions in the Internet of Production.