Sirris launches its new standards cell Industry 4.0!

Much has been said about Industry 4.0. So what about today's standardisation? Can we use previously published standards as a basis?

With support from FPS Economy and the Bureau for Standardisation (NBN), like many other centres, Sirris has implemented a number of standards cells. They are services, specially created to inform Belgian businesses - essentially SMEs - on existing and forthcoming standards in a number of different fields. Several standards cells are already in place at Sirris; however, since the 1st of September 2016, a new service has been launched, specifically connected with Industry 4.0. 

Industry 4.0 is a vision that describes our industrial future in an era where all products, machines, production sites, etc. exchange data, through interaction and mutual recognition. Products, production processes and plants combine to form a huge 'Cyber Physical Production System' (CPPS) which is largely self-regulated by machine-object interactions and from which gains are expected in terms of flexibility and agility, along with gains in time, quality and costs. Once connected, systems communicate with each other and are capable of self regulating without any centralised control. The production plant can be configured based on needs via the addition or removal of modules thanks to 'plug and work' functions.  

The major stakes

Changes associated with Industry 4.0 imply the command of 4 major stakes:

  • interoperability or the capacity to synchronise a set of elements (products, machines, processes, plant, virtual models...) that evolve independently.
  • managing the complexity of data and their organisation, such as exploiting all information generated by sensors.
  • configuring interface in order to exclusively return to the user pertinent information for the execution of specific tasks.
  • ensuring data safety in order to avoid intrusions within production systems. 

Industry 4.0 can only accomplish its goal if the intelligent objects provided by different manufacturers integrate, as from their design phase, the capability to collaborate together in a reliable, efficient and safe manner according to consensus-based standards rather than proprietary standards.

Yet much remains to be done with regard to standardisation. What is the current state of affairs? Can businesses base their choices on published standards?

To help businesses find their way, the standards cell Industry 4.0 is keeping an eye on work to consolidate and define a harmonised architecture reference model, and to develop the necessary standards for its implementation (IEC TC 65, ISO/TC 184, ISO/TC 299…). Such standards concern, not only the objects themselves, communication standards and semantic interoperability (uniform meaning for data), but also the safe use of cobots and cyber-security related aspects.

The standards cell Industry 4.0 has a vocation to help builders of machines and of automated manufacturing cells, computer system integrators and end users to take into account acknowledged or pending standards when elaborating explicit development strategies for the company's internal or external digital services. The aim is to help them shift from a 'Hierarchical Automation Architecture' to a 'Service Oriented Control Architecture' via actions such as organising informative seminars, producing publications and providing individual consultancy services.

Ongoing objectives include, on the one hand, increasing business awareness of the concepts behind Industry 4.0 in general, of the standards to abide by and their evolution and, on the other hand, to answer questions on the development and the implementation of cyber physical production systems, and to indicate which standards apply. 

We would be delighted to help you!