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Cyber-physical systems in factory automation - Towards the 4th industrial revolution

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1 Author(s)
Schlick, J. ; DFKI, German Res. Center for Artificial Intell., Kaiserslautern, Germany

Industrial production is increasingly driven by megatrends like globalization, product individualization, shorter product life cycles and volatile markets. This means that production equipment and facilities have to be adapted to new products and product variants in less time. On a technical level, major challenges in factory automation are about shorter engineering phases, quicker ramp-up of production lines and connecting technical processes to business processes. Modern information and communication technologies can help to cope with these challenges. Cyber-Physical Systems - Embedded systems with decentralized control intelligence can establish communication through open networks based on internet protocols. This will lead to the replacement of classical hierarchical automation systems by self-organizing cyber physical production systems. In the near future, intelligent products themselves will become an active component within automated manufacturing systems. However, in order to let this vision come true, automation has to converge with IT. Component based automation will help to elevate the signal based point of view, which is a core concept of automation technology since decades to the level of semantic interoperability. Field bus technologies will converge with IP based network technologies opening the way for easy vertical integration. Context aware automation will automatically adapt production and logistics processes to new configuration requirements. Of course open communication and open interaction will lead to security issues that will have to be addressed on more than the technical level. While some of these technological changeovers already have begun, others are still on the level of academic research concepts. The before mentioned developments do have the potential to lead to disruptive changes in the way automation equipment is engineered and utilized. Cyber-physical production systems will drive industrial manufacturing to the digital-age and c- eate technological as well as the organizational basis for the 4th industrial revolution.

Published in:

Factory Communication Systems (WFCS), 2012 9th IEEE International Workshop on

Date of Conference:

21-24 May 2012