The use of Industry 4.0 technologies in production often requires extensive networking of different production facilities with each other or at remote manufacturing facilities. In addition, applications for process control or data analysis that run in the cloud are integrated. Information technology and operational technology continue to merge. Therefore, on the one hand, all components involved require a higher degree of data consistency and flexibility, on the other hand, previous requirements with regard to latency, real-time, and security must continue to be met. Only in this way can the advantages of Industry 4.0 such as more flexible production processes, better machine utilization or the use of data analytics algorithms for preventive maintenance or process optimization be exploited. The transition to Industry 4.0 will be gradual in many of the existing facilities, so appropriate retrofitting measures and components are required.
In order to be able to implement these requirements in your production environment, Fraunhofer IIS offers a secure Edge Computing software platform for Industry 4.0. It has already been implemented on various industrial edge controllers. The platform allows uncomplicated integration of various industrial and building automation communication protocols, including common Internet protocols, to communicate with the cloud. The added value over gateway solutions is the intelligent linking and processing of data. Thus, the connection of one or more OPC UA servers allows the fast acquisition of all relevant data within a production environment or plant. The coupling with a software PLC on the edge controller is possible and facilitates the creation of individual real-time applications for machine control, which increase the need for data exchange, for example. B. own with the cloud. The platform can be expanded and adapted flexibly with new standards and devices at any time.