Industry 4.0

Data flow without media interruption

Project PRODISYS team member. Photo: fortiss

The digitalization of industry (Industry 4.0) enables not only optimization of the processes or production, but also allows companies to exploit the potential of the value chain by developing platform-based ecosystems. These types of systems make it possible to connect and combine services and processes that to date, had to be separately designed and controlled. Combining the services and processes can lead to synergy effects and an end-to-end data flow without an interruption to the media. The actual implementation often fails however, because the issue of connectivity was overlooked when designing the individual proprietary services, and thus can only be achieved with extensive individual development effort, particularly when it involves company-wide collaboration.

In the PRODISYS project, researchers are piloting an approach for the development of prototype industrial platform ecosystems that feature connected and combinable services for improved planning and coordination of the production system and connected areas. Apart from the design-based new orientation of service systems for the bundling and organization of services, the project also addresses the integration of system, order and production data. Suitable models and digital representations are required for connecting the services and integrating the data. In addition to the technical challenges, productivity factors are also identified during implementation with the system partners, after which the value chain streams are analyzed on the basis of the resulting models.

Apart from fortiss GmbH as consortium coordinator, other research participants in the project, which is being funded by the German Federal Ministry for Research and Education with a 3 million euro grant, include Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nürnberg (School for Information Systems WI1, School for Production Automation and Production Systematic FAFPA) and the HHL Leipzig Graduate School of Management via its Center for Leading Innovation & Cooperation (CLIC). Application partners, who make it possible to conduct research and pilot the project in real environments, include Audi AG, Continental Automotive GmbH,, SAP SE and XENON Automatisierungstechnik GmbH. The project ran from July 2017 to June 2019.

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