Industrial Internet Consortium

USA: Industry 4.0 the American Way

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No competition between Industry 4.0 platform and Industrial Internet Consortium

A meeting did take place at the highest level last year: Matthias Machnig, State Secretary in the Federal Ministry for Economics and Energy met Soley – at a neutral venue in Switzerland. As a result, the Industry 4.0 platform and IIC announced that the practical implementation of Industry 4.0 will take place in future under mutual cooperation, as the Federal Ministry for Economics said.

Machnig mentioned “a milestone” which has the potential of bringing peace in the future on the competition issue so that Industry 4.0 may play a leading international role on questions of standardization. “The unified power of the IIC and the Industry 4.0 platform will level the path to a digitized economy, which would be advantageous to both sides”, retorted Machnig supporting the conciliation. And he emphasises expressly: “It was always clear to us that there is no such thing as a German solution.” The initial discussions focussed on interconnections between the two architecture models RAMI (Reference Architecture Model for Industry 4.0) and IIRA (Industrial Internet Reference Architecture) in order to ensure future interoperability of the systems. Besides, the two initiatives want to cooperate in standardisation and to use the common test environments.

Earlier, the practical implementation of Industry 4.0 or even Internet of Things had pulled in different directions rousing the ire of numerous market participants and also political observes, according to Elektrotechnik. Different perspectives seemed to harden into fronts. People spoke of “German mania” on the one hand and “vertical concentration” on the other. A uniform alignment seemed unthinkable, as a result of which industry increasingly missed the orientation towards sustainable development.

International standardisation for Industry 4.0 has started

The rounds held in Switzerland searched common levels for a solution, and also discussed the interaction between RAMI and IIRA. “There were many misunderstandings in the general discussion”, says Prof. Siegfried Russwurm, Member of the Management of the Industry 4.0 platform, CTO and Member of the Board of Directors of Siemens AG. “However, as we reached the material level in the discussions in Zurich, we were able to have a manual discussion.”


Soley has a similar viewpoint: “The effort shows that technically well-versed people can close all gaps and find a way of solving problems, which would otherwise have created obstacles against the use of IoT technology for industrial applications.“ For the VDMA General Manager Thilo Brodtmann, “the approach is particularly different from other international standardisation processes”.

Meanwhile, according to information received from Russwurm, the discussions are continuing. “Cooperation is the clear objective. There is no ideological warfare between the Industry 4.0 platform and IIC – and also no differences of opinion on economic locations. There are differences, also because the German initiative Industry 4.0 focusses on digitization of the manufacturing industry, while IIC concentrates more on mobility, energy or logistics themes”, he explains. There are overlapping regions between the initiatives, but also differences. “Within Industry 4.0 itself there will be no reference architecture – that is why it is defined as, RAMI 4.0' a framework of suitable architectures. We shall examine right away whether the architecture approaches of IIC fit this frame“, says the Siemens Management Board. Due to the different thematic alignment, one should not expect the emergence of a common standard for production, medicine, energy or the logistics world.

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