From data acquisition and analysis to process intervention: OPC UA-based integration of a linear module in MES implemented

iTAC and Bosch Rexroth realise an Industry 4.0 first
(PresseBox) (Montabaur, ) iTAC Software AG, a Dürr Group company, and Bosch Rexroth have pooled their automation and IT expertise for the development of sustainable Industry 4.0 solutions. This represents a milestone in smart production, because iTAC’s manufacturing execution system (MES) isn’t just capable of acquiring and displaying data, it can also analyse it and intervene in the processes. The partnership is the first step in a joint Industry 4.0 strategy.

Bosch Rexroth develops automation solutions with the OPC UA standard. These, in combination with the iTAC.ARTES middleware, made the OPC UA-based integration of a linear module in the iTAC.MES.Suite possible. As a result, the motor can be directly accessed by the manufacturing execution system and controlled with web services. This is implemented with the assistance of the Rexroth SPS “IndraControl XM21” which allows the MES to communicate with the actuators. It is based on Rexroth’s Open Core Interface technology. iTAC has therefore implemented the first seamless access from MES down to field level in near real time.

Open standards are the future for M2M communication
The partnership has produced a solution for the bi-directional machine-to-machine communication that we will be seeing in the smart factories of the future. “Open communication standards are essential for sustainable Industry 4.0 solutions. Until they are introduced, electronics manufacturing machine and equipment manufacturers and operators will continue to face challenges,” explained Steffen Winkler, Head of Factory Automation Sales at Bosch Rexroth. “Although today’s control systems will continue to be used, data will be exchanged via an open standard in future. In the mid to long-term, control functions will become increasingly hardware-independent, and thus more open and flexible,” added Winkler.

“Modern, platform-independent communication technologies are the key to the smart factory. The integration of the linear module in the MES environment is impressive proof of that,” said Dieter Meuser, CTO of iTAC Software AG. “This partnership confirms that viable smart factory solutions can only be developed on an interdisciplinary basis. An automation specialist and a manufacturing software manufacturer that both support open standards is the perfect combination in this case,” he continued.

The two companies are currently planning further projects. They are both involved in Smart Electronic Factory e.V., an association whose members include various hardware and software manufacturers, and university departments. Bosch Rexroth and iTAC are involved in the development of Industry 4.0 solutions at the Limtronik GmbH electronics factory with other association members.

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