Edge Computing for Industry 4.0

Edge Computing for Industrial IoT

In addition to the large established cloud providers such as Amazon, Oracle, IBM and Microsoft, many German providers of automation solutions have now started their own cloud. In the cloud, this data can be collected and analyzed with data analytics to improve production results, increase energy efficiency or optimize logistics for production delivery. In some research projects, investigations have already been made as to whether the automation control process is also possible. Unfortunately, it has been found that today's communication technologies can not meet real-time or safety requirements.

New trend »The future of the cloud lies in the Edge«

Edge today is the edge between the local context and the cloud. With proven communication and control technology, the processing of production processes in real time can be ensured at this point. Edge Computing is a fusion of control technology and gateway technology for connecting to the cloud. It ensures that only data that is actually needed in the cloud to streamline processes is transferred. With this architecture, security requirements and the desire for data economy can be more easily met.

OGEMA is very well suited as an Edge Computing platform

The integration of a PLC into the OGEMA architecture and the operation on standard industrial platforms make it easier for system integrators to customize Industrie 4.0 solutions. With OGEMA, the sensors and actuators of a production solution are easily connected to the cloud, bringing the cloud to the machine. An ideal field of application is the retrofitting of older systems. Individual services work as a link between sensor data and users and produce interoperability between different parts of the system. Specific interfaces facilitate access to the internal system data. Tailored services with analytics functionality will prepare captured data for the cloud.

OGEMA facilitates vertical integration in the plant. MES or master computers in the classic automation pyramid can be omitted, the communication takes place, if desired, directly with the ERP system. By directly exchanging routings, production programs and corresponding confirmations, production can be individualized up to lot size 1.

Numerous requirements in digitization

Edge Computing platforms must meet the requirements for Industry 4.0.

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.

Comprehensive communication with individual production

In the future, companies need to expand their production with intelligent and connected solutions to stay competitive in Industry 4.0. However, offering  customized lot size 1 products brings with it some challenges. The communication between internet or cloud, production facilities and the supply of the finished individual products must be guaranteed data-safe. Fraunhofer IIS is aware of this problem and can offer you OGEMA as a secure Edge Computing platform for Industry 4.0. By integrating a wide variety of communication protocols and the internet, your end customers can realize their product ideas via a configurator and, thanks to OGEMA, the information is forwarded directly to the processing machines. According to your requirements and wishes, we can develop individual applications for machine control in connection with the integrated software SPS. An additional manual entry and order processing by clerks is no longer necessary. OGEMA can be expanded and adapted flexibly with new standards and devices at any time.

In addition to individual production, OGEMA can provide a special service for recording the energy consumption of individual plants or the produced good. The energy data is collected by different sensors and communicated to the OGEMA platform. The service displays these graphically and evaluates the information. Also warnings and status queries are always mobile or on attached displays possible. On the basis of further services, the system offers the option of determining machine wear or upcoming maintenance based on energy consumption data or other sensor data. Through intelligent Edge Computing, the data is meaningfully stored in its own system and only information relevant to further processing is forwarded to the cloud.

OGEMA is Java-based and uses standardized data models for interoperable communication and control of various systems. The integrated app concept allows the flexible installation of the application software for different usage scenarios and additional services adapted to the respective machine situation, such as condition monitoring or load management. The hardware independence of the software allows easy adaptation to different platforms such as PCs, servers or embedded systems. Safety is very important to us. OGEMA includes a multi-level security concept. Depending on your needs, you can choose from three security levels. The allocation of access rights and rights of use is easy to implement.

USPs for Industry 4.0:

  • Safe: Multi-level security concept
  • Flexible and interoperable: Understands all common communication standards
  • Expandable and customizable
  • Own individual apps can easily be created

OGEMA enables the merging of real and virtual worlds. Individual products, devices, and objects with embedded software can merge into a single system.