End-to-end engineering for reliable, distributed and connected multicomponent systems
Society is demanding personalized products, which requires production systems that offer more flexibility than the mass production platforms so common in today’s environment. This wide variety means that production systems have to be adapted more frequently, which in turn requires measures that lead to more efficient engineering, such as modularity.
The modularity that is needed results in integrated components that offer skills in the form of standardized, manufacturer-independent automation functions. These skills must be combined in engineering into a set of high-quality skills, until a skill-level is reached that corresponds to the manufacturing process for the product. This leads to a component-based automation, with a suitable component-oriented engineering approach, which is a prerequisite for implementation in Industry 4.0 environments. Re-tooling and the adaptability of the machines become more efficient since the components and their corresponding skills are interchangeable.
In the engineering process, integrated components and their skills are described in AutomationML. This enables the interdisciplinary exchange of engineering data. OPC UA information models can be generated from the AML models that are developed. The combination of these information models, and the standardized communication mechanisms available from OPC UA, makes it possible to design uniform interfaces. This means components with the same skills can be swapped out more easily and more quickly, even during runtime. The skills-based engineering concept was successfully introduced at the 2018 Automatica trade fair using an OPC UA VDMA demonstrator that evolved for the most part through the Devekos project.