Open Manufacturing Platform Expands

May 13, 2020
Three steering committee members and new working groups have been added to the The Open Manufacturing Platform to help guide manufacturers through digital transformation.

The Open Manufacturing Platform (OMP) continues to grow, adding Anheuser-Busch InBev, Bosch Group, and ZF Friedrichshafen AG as new steering committee members. The group has also established new working groups with a focus on Internet of Things (IoT) connectivity and semantic data modeling.

Established in 2019, under the umbrella of the Joint Development Foundation, which is part of the Linux Foundation, the OMP was developed to bring companies across manufacturing sectors—including discrete and process manufacturing, consumer goods, and OEMs—and their supply chains together to address the common, and often daunting, challenges organizations face when implementing intelligent systems. The OMP supports other industrial groups—such as the OPC Foundation and Plattform Industrie 4.0—and leverages existing industry standards, open source reference architectures, and common data models to further its goal of helping manufacturers digitize their operations.

“Through the open collaboration approach, that is the cornerstone of OMP, manufacturing companies will be able to bring offerings to market faster, with increased scale and greater efficiency,” said Scott Guthrie, executive vice president cloud & AI (artificial intelligence) at Microsoft. “Solutions will be published and shared across the community, regardless of technology, solution provider, or cloud platform.”

As for the working groups—which are comprised of members from across the manufacturing industry—the first group will focus on IoT connectivity. With this group, OMP looks to support the efforts manufacturers are making to connect IoT devices and machines to the cloud, which, according to OMP, is one of the first steps in digitizing production lines and leveraging cloud-connected Industrial Internet of Things applications.

Today, it is all about analytics and predictions, but without data and connectivity, there are no analytics, said Werner Balandat, head of production management at ZF Friedrichshafen AG. Because modern devices can easily be connected via the OPC Unified Architecture (OPC UA), the IoT Connectivity working group will focus on providing industrial grade edge and cloud functionalities for the integration and management of OPC UA devices in brownfield environments where interoperability challenges associated with various standards and interfaces must be addressed to interconnect these historically developed legacy systems.”

The second working group will focus on developing a semantic data model. Managing data in a common format, across multiple sources with constantly evolving semantics, is a challenging feat for many organizations. Looking to alleviate this process, OMP is developing a semantic data model to help make machine data understandable and illustrate its relations and dependencies.

With this model, “users will no longer receive cryptic, incomprehensible numbers and characters, but production-relevant information including their context. This semantic data structure ensures improvements along the entire value chain and makes AI-based business models possible on a large scale,” said Dr.-Ing. Michael Bolle, member of the board of management, Robert Bosch GmbH.

The OMP steering committee has also approved other working groups with a focus on core areas important to industry, including an Industrial Internet of Things reference architecture and core services for autonomous transport systems. According to OMP, the organization’s scope will continue to expand as new organizations come on board.

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