Exchange on Global Production Language underlines need for uniform standards


A digitalised industry requires uniform standards for the exchange of data between different machinery. A Global Production Language is a key for a successful introduction of Industrie 4.0 in production. At an event organised by the Global Project Quality Infrastructure (GPQI) and the German Mechanical Engineering Industry Association (Verband Deutscher Maschinen- und Anlagenbau - VDMA) on 22 September 2021, open interface standards were debated by over one hundred participants from the manufacturing sector. They discussed the need for international harmonisation to support interoperability of the industrial automation space.

International harmonisation achievable through cooperation

Woman with safety glasses examines an industrial machine
The individual machines and systems should be able to communicate with each other. © Science in HD –

For efficient digitised industrial production, the individual machines and systems must be able to communicate seamlessly with each other. Uniform standards for the exchange of data are an important prerequisite for that. In his opening remarks, Ernst Stöckl-Pukall from the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) highlighted that Germany was celebrating ten years of Platform Industrie 4.0 at the Hanover Trade Fair earlier this year. Looking to the future, he stated that now that the conditions for communication are in place, the focus must be on their application. Then all companies could operate in an open economy with fair competition. Stöckl-Pukall underlined the need for a compatible regulatory framework across countries. International harmonisation and cooperation are essential for the interoperability of Industrie 4.0 systems, machinery, and processes, he said. Especially with regards to the communication between factories and the whole value chain is room for further development, he added.


OPC UA standard supports the secure and reliable exchange of data

Slide of Presentation on The Global Production Language; Picture of Heiko Herden from VDMA; Poll on the importance of the implementation of OPC UA and GPL for companies
Heiko Herden from VDMA highlighted the relevance of interoperable interfaces and associated standards. © GIZ - GPQI

As part of the event, Indian and German experts shared their experiences and discussed their perspectives about the need for a Global Production Language. Heiko Herden from VDMA highlighted the relevance of interoperable interfaces and associated standards. Standards for data communication between continents and across borders need to be interoperable. This guarantees that they work on multiple devices from different suppliers based on different systems, he said. Herden introduced the Open Platform Communication Unified Architecture (OPC UA), which aims to establish a worldwide standard as the Global Production Language for the connectivity of machines for the secure and reliable exchange of data in the industrial automation space. This standard enables machines and peripherals to connect to customer-specific IT ecosystems, inside or outside the production environment, via an open, universal interface, he explained.


Dr Nagahanumaiah, Director at the Indian Central Manufacturing Technology Institute (CMTI) offered an introduction to the implementation of Industry 4.0 in India, based on different practical examples. He also acknowledged that OPC UA would be a fundamental prerequisite for standardised application of Industrie 4.0 around the world.


Aligning the framework conditions for Industrie 4.0

As part of a live poll, 85% of the participants indicated that they regard the implementation of a Global Production Language as important or very important to their company in the future. Julian Willms from GPQI emphasised that the topic of Global Production Language is also an important objective of the Indo-German cooperation on Quality Infrastructure: Industrie 4.0 involves the integration of various systems across different domains, hierarchy levels and different phases in the life cycle of a product. This makes a structured and coherent approach to Industrie 4.0 standardisation and international cooperation in this area so crucial. Both German and Indian stakeholders are working towards harmonising the framework conditions for Industrie 4.0 between the two countries and internationally. The relevance of a Global Production Language is underlined by the amazing list of participants from renown Indian and German companies as well as by the commitment of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, he added.


BMWi supports the international efforts of the German Standardization Council Industrie 4.0 and VDMA to harmonise framework conditions for Industrie 4.0. Within the framework of GPQI, the development of a Global Production Language and its implementation in India is supported. A similar cooperation also takes place as part of the activities of the project in Brazil. Find more information on this here.

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