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BaSyx / Benefits

BaSyx features

Eclipse BaSyx supports the realization of Industry 4.0. It is an Industry 4.0 middleware that serves as operating system for the fourth industrial revolution. By enabling the end-to-end digitalization of production systems, Eclipse BaSyx connects production devices, resources, and processes with IT systems, orders, offerings, and remote partners. Eclipse Basyx enables the digitalization of individual devices and processes to support e.g. predictive maintenance, and also supports the digitalization of complex inter-company supply chains. BaSyx realizes the following major features:

Virtual Automation Bus: Today, production systems use numerous networking standards, bus systems, protocols, and data models for communication. The consequence is that inter-device communication is difficult – as if all devices would be speaking different languages. In fact, an end-to-end communication that does not also involve shopfloor devices, but also the IT, and that works for both modern devices, but does also integrate existing devices (i.e. retrofitting) is a major challenge in industry 4.0. The Virtual Automation Bus is a software component of Eclipse BaSyx that manages the end-to-end communication in digital production environments. It is not a new protocol, but bridges existing protocols and technologies to create an extensible object space with digital twins of all production assets. It is the foundation for all inter-asset interaction. Its object model is extensible and therefore supports project and domain specific event types, such as specific product and customer data, as well as Industry 4.0 assets, like asset administration shells. Virtual Automation Bus connectors integrate native protocols and enables existing legacy devices to connect to Industry 4.0 communication. With OPC-UA and http/REST, the Virtual Automation Bus also supports major industry standards and enables the seamless integration of modern production devices and IT systems. The integration of new protocols is possible by adding a Virtual Automation Bus connector. A connector only needs to define the five main Virtual Automation Bus primitives (read/write/create/delete and invoke) to access the Virtual Automation Bus.

Asset Administration Shells: While the Virtual Automation Bus bridges the borders of individual networks and protocols, the Asset Administration shell serves as the common language for automation. Asset Administration Shells (AAS) provide a unified interface to production assets, and enable on one hand asset management, and on the other hand access to data and services. Every major asset is represented by an AAS in a digital process; AAS therefore exist for physical assets like devices, future physical assets, such as orders, but also non-physical assets like processes, quality requirements, and supply chains. The concept of the Asset Administration Shell is in the process of becoming a standard – backed by a large consortium from industry and academia, it is the upcoming digital asset representation in Industrie 4.0.

Sub models: while the Asset Administration Shell is the digital representation of an asset, concrete data and services are structured in sub models. These sub models are product and domain specific and may contain various kinds of data. One sub model for example may define static data, such as the digital nameplate of a device. A second sub model provides access to spare parts and dynamically queries the availability of these parts from the servers of manufacturers. A third sub model provides access to live sensor data from devices and enables the controlling of a device. Sub models define specific data and service models that can be accessed through a unified interface. Sub models are therefore the backbone of digital processes, and their unified interfaces enable the rapid orchestration of tools and the creation of digital processes.

Lot-size one production: Efficiently changeable production lines are a precondition for the economic production of small lot sizes. Today, production is automated with programmable logic controllers (PLC), or the German SPS. Due to the low level of abstraction of PLCs and the resulting high complexity of control programs, changing of the automation of a production process is very complex, error-prone, and therefore expensive. Eclipse BaSyx enables service-based manufacturing: PLC controllers provide production services that are orchestrated according to the product recipe and a digital process model, which enables the product specific tailoring of manufacturing processes and the economic manufacturing of small lot sizes.

Control components: The control component interface defines a unified interface to devices that enables the setting of operation modes, and to access production services and variables. With the control component interface, device users may query the device status independent of the device type and check, for example, if a device is idle, or if it is still busy with a running task. Furthermore, presence of error conditions may be checked. AAS sub models describe available device services and provide information about variables supported by a specific device type.

Eclipse BaSyx realizes digital manufacturing processes with highest flexibility. Its unified interfaces enable the rapid integration of (open-source) tools that enable the development of intelligent processes and manufacturing systems. Dashboard for example can access all process data through AAS sub models and visualize them in customized dashboards. Every stakeholder gets exactly the data that it needs in a customized view. Tools like Node-RED define behavior that autonomously reacts to events and reduce the amount of work that operators need to spend with routine tasks. BaSyx enables autonomous decisions, for example to agree on maintenance schedules to optimize the uptime of production lines, or to autonomously schedule production tasks in a production environment.


BaSyx benefits and use-cases

BaSys 4.0 enables the digitisation of manufacturing processes and the implementation of Industry 4.0. Eclipse BaSyx is an Open-Source reference implementation of BaSys 4.0 concepts that include common Industry 4.0 components and a Software Development Kit (SDK) that supports the development of new components. Eclipse BaSyx did originate from the BaSys 4.0 project, which is funded by the german ministry of Research and Education. The following examples highlight common Industry 4.0 use-cases that can be realized with the BaSyx middleware:



Digitisation of manufacturing process

BaSys 4.0 enables end-to-end digitisation of manufacturing processes. This enables end-to-end communication between devices in office floor and in shop floor and therefore breaks the automation pyramid. BaSys 4.0 supports horizontal and vertical networking of production devices:

  • Horizontal networking is the connection of devices along the production process. BaSys 4.0 defines communication primitives, and interfaces that enables devices from different vendors and different device types to communicate with each other, regardless of used protocol or network.
  • Vertical networking is the connection of entities in different levels of the automation pyramid, e.g. a connection between an ERP system in office floor and a device in shop floor. Linking office- and shop floor enables for example a better control of production and the creation of dashboards that visualize the production status in one place. Operators do not have to move to machines to query their status and faults are detected much faster.

BaSys 4.0 uses Asset Administration Shells (AAS) and AAS sub models to structure information. End-to-end communication across network is supported by defined communication primitives and by BaSys 4.0 gateways that bridge networks and protocols to yield one end-to-end communication medium, the Virtual Automation Bus (VAB).


Product guiding its production / Multiple product types on same production line

BaSys 4.0 supports Asset Administration Shells for all relevant entities of the production. Relevant entities include for example the produced products, devices, and workers. Asset Administration Shells (AAS) reference sub models that structure information. This information includes for example the recipe for a product that describes production steps and parameter. AAS sub models also describe device capabilities. Control components can access the production data of each product through its AAS and configure devices accordingly, which yields a production system that adapts to the needs of every single product.

The service-based production approach of BaSys 4.0 enables changeable production. In context of service-based production, machine controllers, e.g. PLC controllers, implement base services, whose control programs and safety functions need to implement real-time behavior. Orchestration of these services is not by the PLC controllers but by a designated orchestrator, e.g. group control components that implement higher-level production services, or an agent that executes the product production process. Orchestrators combine and parametrize production services. Changing the service orchestration is much easier than changing the PLC code, because it is specified on a higher level of abstraction. Changing a production by changing the orchestration is faster, and much less error-prone than changing low-level PLC code. This way, e.g. the night-shift can configure new product types.

Product recipes in this case invoke services offered by controllers and define parameter for service invocation. An orchestrator, e.g. a Business Process Modeling Notation (BPMN) Engine, implements the product agent that controls its production. The production agent for a product controls its manufacturing steps and invokes transportation and manufacturing services. This enables the processing of different product types on the same assembly line.


Documenting product quality

More and more manufacturers are faced with the challenge that they need to document the individual quality of each manufactured product. This quality data is available in machines, however, it is not collected, aggregated, and stored in a central entity. Furthermore, no standardized interfaces exist to pass this quality data from a manufacturer to the commissioner. Asset Administration Shells are digital data structures that are being standardized at the moment that represent important entities of the production process like products, devices, and workers. With their standardized structure, they enable the exchange of data between stakeholders. Sub models of product Asset Administration Shells (AAS) may represent different kinds of information. This includes information regarding the product quality, which has been collected during production steps. BaSys 4.0 enables storing of this information in the product AAS to enable automatic documentation of product quality that can optionally be passed to stakeholders.


Optimizing production processes

Dynamic optimization of production processes has significant potential. The dynamic scheduling of tasks to worker stations for example has proven to be superior to static schedules, because it is able to react on changing working times and resource availability. Dynamic optimization of production processes however requires live-data from shop-floor devices and the ability to control production. BaSys 4.0 enables the collection of live-data from the shopfloor, and its organization in Asset Administration Shells and their sub models. HTTP-Rest and TCP interfaces enable the integration of storage systems and data lakes that support data analysis and implementation of optimization strategies.




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