Industry 4.0 Germany: VDW begins initiative for network production
German machine tool manufacturers tackle Industry 4.0 together by undertaking the network production initiative.
The VDW (German Machine Tool Builders’ Association) presented the initiative of network production for the first time at EMO Hannover 2017. “The aim is to develop a standard for linking a huge range of disparate machinery control systems to a shared interface (a connector), and create the requisite software,” says Dr Heinz-Jürgen Prokop, Chairman of the VDW. A core team of companies such as DMG Mori, Emag, Grob, Heller, Liebherr-Verzahntechnik, United Grinding, Trumpf and the VDW have been involved in the first phase of the project.
The VDW Executive Board decided to take on this project as there has not been a standardized and consistent solution so far. With the planned standard, data is to be read from different machines with different controllers of many generations and transported into infrastructural systems or the cloud in a standardized data format in order to analyze it and use it for optimizing production tasks. “This is the basic requirement for the success of Industry 4.0, especially in medium-sized firms,” states Prokop.
For the machinery manufacturers, too, this would help in easing their workload, enabling them to shed tasks that entail high costs. The standard being targeted thus frees the individual VDW member from time-consuming work on infrastructural issues. Not least, this creates an open system that offers an urgently needed degree of independence and flexibility.