Proceedings of the IEEE International Conference on Emerging Technologies And Factory Automation (ETFA),
September 2019 · Zaragoza, Spain
The manufacturers are in quest for flexible and agile production facilities capable of accommodating changes to product specification. The need for flexible production facilities is stemming from the desire for customized products and fluctuating market trends. Industry 4.0 impels for adaptable manufacturing plants by employing intelligent devices and advanced communication technologies. The complexity of the configuration process determines the adaptability of production facilities to accommodate changes to the production process. We propose a systematic integration process and multi-level production system using Software-defined Networking (SDN) and OPC Unified Architecture (OPC UA) to reduce the configuration complexity to a Plug and Produce level. OPC UA, as a service-oriented middleware, provides the tool-set for semantic modeling and automatic device discovery. However, due to the multicast nature of the OPC UA discovery mechanism, the existing approaches require intelligence at the device level to select the desired device to connect to. In contrast, our proposed solution shifts the intelligence to a centralized SDN controller to route multicast traffic to facilitate device discovery. The combination of an SDN controller and OPC UA discovery enables the integration of new devices by adding more intelligence to the device discovery.