If there’s one aspect about the digital transformation of industry that nearly everyone agrees on, it’s the fact that no one company can provide all the technology assets needed on its own. That’s why we’ve all seen so many partnerships and collaboration agreements between technology companies and organizations develop over the past few years.
Some of the more high-profile agreements that have emerged include:
· Cybersecurity partnerships between Schneider Electric and Nozomi;
Amid all the technology supplier partnerships, a number of organizations focused on the modernization of industrial manufacturing also work closely together, such as the Industrial Internet Consortium and the Trusted IoT Alliance and the Open Industry 4.0 Alliance. Now comes news that Germany’s Industrie Plattform 4.0 and the U.S.’s CESMII are working together on the digital transformation of manufacturing.
Industrie Plattform 4.0 supports German companies with use cases and recommendations for action on the implementation of Industrie 4.0 and includes more than 350 members from more than 150 organizations. CESMII is the United States’ national institute on Smart Manufacturing, driving cultural and technological transformation and secure industrial technologies as national imperatives; it is funded by Department of Energy’s Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Advanced Manufacturing Office.
According to the two organizations, the principal areas of focus for the two groups will be on standardization to ensure that smart manufacturing technologies are interoperable across different IT/OT systems as well as developing workforce competencies and skills essential to industry’s digital transformation.
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“Both sides have invested significant time [since beginning work together in June 2020] to understand each other’s approaches and national context,” said John Dyck, CEO of CESMII. “We have now reached a point where we can start defining concrete activities. It is important to us that our efforts also respond to the needs of small and medium-sized companies, especially to recover from COVID-19 and to create new jobs in the future.”
A significant aspect of the two groups’ work on technology standardization involved each group’s understanding of the technology and terminology used by the other group. This first step is key to ensuring interoperability of assets across countries and domains between the two initiatives.
Both groups note that the Smart Manufacturing (SM) Profiles from CESMII and the Asset Administration Shell (AAS) from Plattform Industrie 4.0 enable the exchange of information between partners in value-added networks.
The information exchange will reportedly be “realized on a standardized basis along an asset’s entire life cycle. The SM Profiles and AAS show high levels of synergies and both implementations will be harmonized,” said Dr. Dominik Rohrmus, chief technology officer of Labs Network Industrie 4.0, on behalf of Plattform Industrie 4.0. The AAS will be implemented in both organizations’ existing testbeds.
“Whereas digitalization provides great potentials like higher resilience, flexibility, and efficiency, we need to shape digital ecosystems globally and learn together to unfold these potentials,” said Thomas Hahn, member of the steering committee of Plattform Industrie 4.0.