Industrie 4.0 prototype and research platform by Smartfactory(KL) at the Hanover Fair

The SmartFactory consortium was founded in 2005, before Industrie 4.0 was a concept. Currently 46 partners develop prototypes of the factory of the future, and while doing so, they develop new concepts, new products. At the Hanover fair 2016, SmartFactory demonstrates a prototype Industry 4.0 factory. Individual production modules, infrastructure and software layers are provided by different partners. Hannover-2 The production is coordinated by an RFID chip on the carrier that moves the fabricated product through the production line. Production modules composing the line remain independent units and have conveyor belts with standard dimensions. Modules are placed very closely to each other, building a seamless conveyor belt covering all units. In the first unit, an RFID chip is initialized with the product definition linked to a production order. Next, a simple object, in this case a business card holder, is assembled, laser marked with a unique pattern, controlled for quality with a camera module and weighed. Depending on the produced object modules can be included or removed from the line. If needed, a bridge module can replace a module that has been removed because it is not necessary or in maintenance. A manual workbench is included for finishing, rework or replacing a production module out of order.  So-called infrastructure units provide energy supply, data routing and control of safety functions. The experiments have triggered questions about certification, and spawned collaboration with TÃœV, the German certification institute. SmartFactory prototyped a standard infrastructure unit, that is now interpreted by different vendors to include various functionalities. One partner developed a standard industry connector, to link infrastructure modules with production modules. Some units provide power supply, others data acquisition, sensing and actuation with process control or cyber security.  In the software layer, functions for engineering of automation, monitoring of the process performance, coordination with an Manufacturing Execution System, and connectivity with the Enterprise Resource Management where the orders are received.  Partners in the 2016 prototype are Pilz, FESTO, Rexroth, Harting, SmartFactory, Phoenix Contact, LappKabel, Mettler Toledo, MiniTec, TE Connectiviity, Hirschmann, Weidmuller, Cisco, ProAlpha, Itac, IBM, SAP ePlan, and TÃœV.  At ARC we believe the project is a necessary compliment to the more theoretical work done at the Plattform Industrie 4.0. It provides an opportunity to test out scenarios and concepts, and raises questions and needs for standardization that can fuel the standardization efforts. We are very interested in establishing a discussion between the project and other early forms of Plug & Produce, such as PackML promoted by OMACReprinted with permission, original blog was posted here  About ARC Advisory Group ( Founded in 1986, ARC Advisory Group is a Boston based leading technology research and advisory firm for industry and infrastructure.  For further information or to provide feedback on this article, please contact

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