Taking important steps on the way to interoperability, making progress with global IT security approaches, assessing competition law and GTC law, transferring knowledge into different fields of application and strengthening cooperation with partners from China, Europe and the US – the Plattform Industrie 4.0 and its partners have achieved some sturdy results in the last twelve months. Data economy, organisation and qualification are on its agenda in 2018.

Taking an important step for standardization

Features, measured values, capabilities – the so-called administration shell contains all the information on a machine and is its digital ‘interface’. It ensures the seamless integration of the machine in the world of Industrie 4.0 – across companies and sectors. Experts at the Plattform Industrie 4.0 have defined the administration shell and are starting to put it into practice. This prepares the ground for interoperability in digital ecosystems.

At the Hannover Messe the Plattform Industrie 4.0 is presenting four exhibits of implementation projects of the administration shell for different fields of application at their own stand (Hall 8, D24) and at the stand of the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (Hall 2, C28). Additionally, the platform is presenting a language concept which will let machines interact with each other in the future. More details on the administration shell will be published this summer. The publication will enable companies to develop and implement administration shells for their own assets.

Building a global basis for Industrie 4.0 through international cooperation

The Plattform Industrie 4.0 has introduced and developed its concepts in international cooperation. The collaboration with China and the trilateral cooperation with France and Italy have brought tangible progress: national standardization approaches have been harmonized and the concepts of the Plattform Industrie 4.0 (RAMI and administration shell) positioned as supporting elements of international standardization – true milestones on a way to global Industrie 4.0 solutions. Cooperation with the US, e.g. with the IIC, is still a top priority. Upcoming activities with partners from the US are planned for the IMTS / Hannover Messe taking place in Chicago from 10-15 September 2018. Together with Japan, the platform promotes international cooperation in the area of IT security.

IT security first – international concepts necessary

IT security is a key enabler for upcoming Industrie 4.0 ecosystems. The Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy and the Plattform Industrie 4.0 are hosting the international conference ‘Securing Global Industrial Value Networks’, which takes place in Berlin on 14-15 May 2018. The platform will be putting its concepts up for discussion and comparing them with the approaches of other countries. The aim is to start an international process to harmonize IT security concepts and standardization needs. The Plattform Industrie 4.0 provides input on concepts for data integrity, trustworthiness and secure communication. As the Plattform Industrie 4.0 sees it, IT security needs to be implemented as a quality attribute for standards and companies and in education and training.

In the spotlight: data economy and law

The Plattform Industrie 4.0 recently founded the working group ‘Digital business models in Industrie 4.0’, adding a central topic of digitalization to their spectrum. Prof. Svenja Falk, Managing Director at Accenture, leads the working group. The working group will research crucial operating principles of data and platform economy and illustrate them with use cases.

Business models are closely linked to platforms and intelligent data usage. Legal issues are covered by the legal experts of the Plattform Industrie 4.0. Lately, they have researched questions relating to competitive law and published their recommendations. In the eyes of the Plattform Industrie 4.0, German GTC law needs to be made more flexible under the current legislation. In a digital world, it has a negative impact on the international competitiveness of the B2B sector.

Qualification and organization are crucial for companies

There is an urgent need to renew employees’ competencies and working structures. For the Plattform Industrie 4.0 humans are at the center of those changes and a social partnership exchange is essential. One of the upcoming topics to be tackled by society as a whole is the future of academic education, especially in engineering.

SME transfer

The success of digital transformation will greatly depend on the midsize sector, which feels in need of more practical support. The platform is part of the Transfer Network Industrie 4.0. Other partners include the federal government, federal states, chambers of commerce and associations, who all support SMEs with a wide range of activities and measures. The aim is to find and use synergies through the Transfer Network. The secretariat of the Plattform Industrie 4.0 has been commissioned by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy to provide organisational support and function as a contact point. The network partners will now jointly develop projects and prepare the know-how of Industrie 4.0 for companies in an understandable way.