VDMA raises awareness about Global Production Language with Mexican stakeholders
Global value chains are being increasingly digitalised and interconnected due to the application of Industrie 4.0 solutions. Compatibility between machines and factories, disregarding their location, is necessary to keep the industry competitive. Along with the German Mechanical Engineering Industry Association (VDMA), GPQI organised two online seminars about GPL (Global Production Language) and OPC UA (Open Platform Communications Unified Architecture) destined for the Mexican industry and standardization bodies. The seminars, which took place the 28 July and 16 August 2022, respectively, aimed to inform stakeholders from both sectors about GPL and OPC UA and to raise awareness of their importance to ensure interoperability of machines in a digitalised economy and rising Industrie 4.0 solutions.
Christoph Mönnigmann, Political Advisor from the Division ICT Technical Regulation and Standardisation, Product Safety, Market Surveillance, Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action, opened both seminars. Mönnigmann emphasised that promoting the use of international and cross-industry standards can ensure broad compatibility. Therefore, it is important to develop a joint understanding of the technical and regulatory conditions for the intelligent networking of machines and processes.
International standards enhance broad compatibility
OPC Foundation is an industry consortium that creates and maintains standards for open connectivity of industrial automation devices and systems. Michael Clark, Director of OPC Foundation North America explained that standardised OPC UA information models provide solutions for companies to structure and strengthen their communication framework and automate production processes and factories. Models allow companies to:
- Constantly monitor the machinery conditions and operation.
- Transfer and store information coming from the field – e. g. from factories and machines - to a cloud platform.
- Conduct constant and fast machine-to-machine and machine-to-cloud transferences of information.
- Set integrated communications between all nodes and supervisory systems.
- Enable predictive maintenance and efficiency and process optimisation.
Heiko Herden, VDMA, elaborated on the relevance and benefits of OPC UA. For instance, OPC UA allows a more efficient production by integrating machines into a production environment. And it reduces the effort destined for making the components work together.
Moreover, OPC UA, as a universal interface, allows manufacturer-neutral interoperability. However, interoperability can only be successful if the communication partners understand the interface contents, which are defined in OPC UA Companion Specifications. Since the specifications set the vocabulary of the Global Production Language, they are crucial.
VDMA promotes the use of OPC UA Companion Specifications
For the mechanical and plant engineering sector, the VDMA is leading and coordinating the creation of these specifications. Currently, there are 40 active working groups from different sectors and around 600 companies taking part in the development of the cross domain harmonised information models for machining.
The seminar for the industry counted also with the participation of Götz Görisch, Technology Evangelist from universal machine technology interface (umati). Umati is a community of the machine building industries and their customers to promote and adopt open, standardised interfaces based on OPC UA. OPC Foundation shows “how to speak the same language” and VDMA makes the industry use the same dictionary. Umati helps machines to understand each other. Al of these elements comprise Global Production Language.
As a conclusion, for achieving a truly global production language, it is particularly important to get all stakeholders involved: machine manufacturers, the industry, including SME’s, standardization bodies, research institutes, etc. Hence, dialogue and knowledge transfer matters.
VDMA and OPC Foundation were present at the Industrial Transformation Mexico (ITM) 2022 that took place from 5 – 7 October 2022. GPQI hosted a panel discussion with Heiko Herden, Michael Clark and Gerardo Perez Lechuga, Head of Cloud Application Solutions at Siemens Mexico on 6 October.