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Welcome to the first Open Manufacturing Platform Newsletter!

We are incredibly proud of the work we have achieved in 2020, even in the face of a global pandemic, economic hardships, and many other uncertainties. We believe the work we do at OMP will deliver platform-agnostic solutions, open standards, and technologies to enable smart manufacturing, facilitate the rollout of the Industrial IoT, and increase manufacturing efficiencies for the entire ecosystem.

This newsletter will highlight new members that share our vision, the activities and achievements of our working groups, and our first white paper. We hope you enjoy browsing our news!

White Paper: Insights Into Connecting Industrial IoT Assets

OMP is proud to announce the delivery of a critical milestone with the publication of our first white paper. The IoT Connectivity Working Group, chaired by Sebastian Buckel and co-chaired by Dr. Veit Hammerstingl of the BMW Group, authored Insights Into Connecting Industrial IoT Assets. Contributions from member companies Capgemini, Cognizant, Microsoft, Red Hat, and ZF present a consensus view of the connectivity challenges and best practices in IIoT as the 4th industrial revolution unfolds. This paper is the initial publication laying out an approach to solving connectivity challenges while providing a roadmap for future OMP work.

Manufacturing at an Inflection Point

The intersection of information technology (IT) and operational technologies (OT), as well as the advent of the Internet of Things (IoT), presents opportunities and threats to the entire manufacturing sector. In manufacturing, multiple challenges complicate the connection of sensors, actuators, and machines to a central data center. Lack of common standards and proprietary interfaces leads each engineer to solve similar problems, introducing inefficiencies and forcing the same learning curve’s ascension over and over. The long renewal cycles of shop floor equipment, software, and processes present gaps in modern technologies and a general avoidance of making significant institutional changes. This initial publication begins to tackle these problems and lays the groundwork for future, more detailed work.

IT/OT Convergence

Each connectivity challenge will have a range of diverse constituents and the content of this paper addresses issues faced by individuals and teams across job functions. Operational technology (OT) professionals are responsible for the commissioning, operation, and maintenance of shop floor equipment. Information technology (IT) personnel look after overall data processing, the hardware and software infrastructure, and enterprise-wide IT strategy. General managers and logistics teams are typically aligned at a corporate level, coordinating processes across a network of plants. Each of these functions will have roles spanning from operational hands-on to strategic and managerial. The unique demands of each part will require connectivity solutions to be forward-thinking and value-accretive while offering practical solutions implemented with minimal incremental investment.

Industrial IoT Challenges

Also explored in the paper are the IIoT devices’ critical real-time needs for repeatability and high availability. An example is an AI model that optimizes a bending machine’s parameters based on the current air temperature and humidity. Possible connection failures or high latencies can lead to stopped or interrupted processes or products with insufficient quality.

Manufacturing throughput requirements vary from low bandwidth for simple sensors using small packets to much higher bandwidth required for streaming data for video analytics, vibration sensors, or AR/VR visualization.  A holistic connectivity solution can successfully address this complexity, spanning from the individual devices on the shop floor up through edge gateways and servers to the central data center or cloud resources such as compute and storage.

Network Levels

Networks are usually customized to their precise environment and the desired function, and therefore can be very complex. For this white paper, we consider a system with three logical levels:

IoT Ecosystem
  • The cloud level describes globally available and scalable compute, storage, and other services running in a public cloud. It is remote from the production site.
  • The edge level extends the cloud capabilities geographically closer to OT devices. It’s an on-premise network that possesses a path to the cloud and the Sensor/Actuator level.
  • The production asset level is the network level where the OT assets are located, capturing real-world processes (e.g., robots, cameras, machines).

In the white paper, we discuss the functions of each of the network levels, their benefits and limitations, and security considerations. Additional sections of the document cover common challenges in IIoT, connectivity levels, basic principles for successful connectivity solutions, communication types, and best practices for program implementation.

Want to read more? Click the button below to access your free copy of the complete white paper.

Download the White Paper

Welcome New Members!

Since our launch in 2019, OMP has grown to over 25 member companies, with more than 200 individuals from those companies contributing work to our four working groups. Here is what some of our new members have to say about OMP.

“Within the OMP, we can share our thought leadership and expertise among trusted peers in the manufacturing domain. This enables an insightful exchange of inspirations and ideas to help accelerate innovation at scale and address collectively real-world industry challenges.” -Lukas Birn, IT Transformation Director, Application Services, Capgemini

“This is an exciting opportunity to collaborate across OMP’s engineering groups in designing repeatable solutions that drive the integration of IT/OT and make smart manufacturing a reality. Manufacturers can truly benefit from OMP’s forum for open standards, reference models, and applied experiences to unlock value faster by simplifying core process and technology integration challenges—albeit connecting inflexible legacy equipment to the Cloud/Edge, scaling initiatives beyond POC to multiple locations, or ensuring data from modern and legacy systems are interoperable and usable for intelligent decisioning.”   -Randal Kenworthy, VP of Cognizant IoT and Engineering Services.

“For almost 70% of manufacturing companies, the digital transformation is key to success. With machinery and workers enablement being key value drivers, FORCAM would like to contribute to OMP with our competence for connectivity in order to support given projects obtaining transparency, efficiency, and scalability”. -Dr. Andrea Rösinger, Co-CEO / CTO of Smart Factory-Expert FORCAM

“We are delighted to join the OMP and contribute to leading manufacturing architecture and connectivity standards with our latest technologies and extensive experience across industries. Our goal is to engage with the industry to ensure its digital transformation and to collaborate with leaders across public and private organisations through an open community approach to drive intrinsically secure interoperability and standardization at a global level. We are looking forward to further supporting manufacturing organisations by unlocking the potential of applications, data, infrastructure, and innovative business models.” -Joe Baguley, VP, Chief Technology Officer, EMEA, VMWare

OMP provides an exceptional platform for cross industry collaboration, free exchange of ideas across organizations, and know-how to collectively drive the digital transformation of today’s manufacturing industry. The advent of Industry 4.0 is continually forcing enterprises to rethink how they innovate & stay competitive and relevant. We are at the cusp of a massive digital transformation of the industry value chain ‘from source to design to build to make to consume’. I believe a smart, digital, and intelligent way of accessing, synchronizing, augmenting, analyzing, and applying insights across the board can help to build cognitive and agile enterprises which can take up the manufacturing challenges of the future. Wipro is excited to be part of OMP & will contribute leveraging the combined Industry experience of Wipro ER&D services as well as Wipro Infrastructure Engineering.”  -Harmeet Chauhan, Senior Vice President, ER&D Services, Wipro Limited

Thank you to all our members for a successful 2020!

Working Group Updates

OMP now has four working groups working on topics across Industrial IoT. From semantic data structuring to logistics core services for autonomous robots to connectivity to reference architectures, members of the working groups contribute technology and expertise to ease the burden of adoption and speed ROI for the manufacturing ecosystem members as they embrace digital transformation.

ATS Core Services Working Group

The ATS Core Services Working Group defines and develops logistics core services to set up, execute, and monitor transportation orders carried out by various autonomous robots (AGVs, tugger trains, smart forklifts). Also, the working group provides the APIs to connect all types of robots to the core services, as well as the links to the logistics and manufacturing systems, the maintenance systems, and connects the robots to other IoT devices. Currently the group is working on the first work package, the Vehicle Connector Service (VCS). This component will follow the VDA5050 standard for the bidirectional communication between centralized control systems and driverless transport systems in logistics. This Vehicle Connector Service will specify how to onboard, operate, maintain, communicate and de-provision for fleets in logistics with a high variety of vehicle types from different vendors. The goal of the working group is to provide the specification as well as a reference implementation and the code to the OMP-community by February 2021. BMW will use the open source Vehicle Connector Service in production critical environments in multiple plants, to demonstrate the potential of the collaborative OMP working model and gain in-depth experience in the open source domain. Work packages are currently being defined and scoped inside the Working Group to fully utilize the potential and expertise of the ATS Core Services Working Group.

Joachim Michniewicz, BMW Group – ATS Core Services WG Chair

IoT Connectivity Working Group

IoT Connectivity WG Chair

Sebastian Buckel, BMW Group – IoT Connectivity WG Chair

The first step of each IoT use case is the connectivity to devices. That’s also why the IoT Connectivity Working Group was the first OMP working group founded at the beginning of this year. In regular working meetings, we look at the device capabilities in nowadays plants and which connectivity approaches are sensible for existing (brownfield) and new (greenfield) production facilities. From the discussions and the exchange of experiences, a white paper has developed. It describes how a reliable and secure connectivity solution based on open standards should look. It’s the starting point for future publications like specifications, best practices, and code samples. “The challenge of an IoT connectivity solution is not to extract data from a device, but to do so in a scalable, open, and modular way,” said Sebastian Buckel of BMW Group, Chair of the IoT Connectivity Working Group.

Manufacturing Reference Architecture Working Group

Since the launch of this group at the end of August this year, the Manufacturing Reference Architecture Working Group has been working on the most relevant use case themes like Maintenance, Asset Management, End-2-End Traceability, Condition Monitoring, just to name a few. While one team follows this top-down approach and derives technical requirements from the use cases, another team works in parallel on a bottom-up approach to synthesize technical architectures from the members’ experiences to build the overarching technical architecture to address them. “Manufacturers nowadays need to handle complex engineering tasks. I am very excited that in the Manufacturing Reference Architecture Working Group, we are uniting an immensely concentrated knowledge from different disciplines. The openness with which we meet here is not only very inspiring but also brings our work forward in terms of substance,” said working group chair Martina Pickhardt of Microsoft.

Martina Pickhardt of Microsoft

Martina Pickhardt, Microsoft – Reference Architecture WG Chair

Semantic Data Structuring Working Group

Brigit Boss of Bosch

Brigit Boss, Bosch – Semantic Data Structuring WG Chair

The Semantic Data Structuring Working Group officially started in September this year. In this working group, a semantic data-structuring layer will be developed that addresses the needs to share, join and reuse heterogeneous data of the manufacturing domain by applying common semantics for various stakeholders through comprehensive semantic data homogenization and by conveying manufacturing data along with contextual information. Currently, the group is working on which problem symptoms companies have and several hypotheses on how to solve these problems together with an outline of solution concepts. “We do not need just data. We do need comprehensible data: we need information and knowledge. An exciting topic we deal with in the Semantic Data Structuring Working Group,” said Dr. Birgit Boss of Bosch, Chair of the Semantic Data Structuring Working Group.

Join Us!

As you can see, we have made tremendous progress at OMP over the last six months and we are just getting started! Each working group has an ambitious agenda for 2021 and is excited and motivated to start building the future of manufacturing technology. Are you interested in joining one or more of our working groups? Visit our membership page and reach out to us today to learn more about OMP membership.

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