Survey of Industry 4.0 in the Domain of Fluid Power by the Example of Automated Commissioning

  Buzzwords Industry 4.0

At the Hannover Fair 2011, developments in digitisation in the industrial context were taken up for the first time and officially brought together under the term "Industry 4.0" (I4.0). At the time of the study, there is no consensus as to how fluid technology as a classic supplier industry can optimally support its customers' developments with regard to I4.0 and what prerequisites must be created to generate new business models. The aim of the study is to uncover relevant aspects of I4.0 for fluid power and to derive needs for action for the industry.

Benefit Procedure
Identification of relevant aspects in fluid technology in context I4.0 Survey of representatives from the fluid power industry on the state of the art of fluid power commissioning
Creating a basic understanding of the aspects and their effects Comprehensive analysis and presentation of general aspects and activities in context I4.0
Need for action for the fluid power industry Conception of automated commissioning of fluid technical systems (hy. & pn.) based on I4.0 technologies
Analysis of the human role during an automated commissioning

Challenges during Commissioning of Classical Fluid Technology Systems

Challenges during the Commissioning of a Fluid Technology System Challenges of Automated Commissioning of Classical Systems

Even with the current state of the art, commissioning is associated with a great deal of manual effort. This is mainly due to an insufficient, non-machine-readable and interpretable information base at the required location at the given time. Furthermore, the existing assistance systems are not sufficiently adaptable to changing boundary conditions, cannot be executed across manufacturers or systems and are not linked to form a coherent solution chain.

A heterogeneous or even missing communication makes the acquisition of necessary status data and the resulting derivation of commissioning steps more difficult. Furthermore, many modules are not integrated in terms of information technology or do not have sufficient functionality for commissioning.


Basics of an Industry 4.0 System


The basic concept of an I4.0 system is based on the fact that a task, such as commissioning, is broken down into smaller subtasks. These are processed by the industry 4.0 components available in the system using their services. The distribution of these tasks and coordination of the I4.0 components is generally referred to as orchestration and is guided by the business processes of orchestration modules. These contain services that are relevant to the use case and take into account rules and criteria, such as those for commissioning. The terms plug-and-produce or plug-and-play describe the business process of automated commissioning.

  Orchestration Modules and Fluidic I4.0 Components Elements of an I4.0 System

Industry 4.0 Components and Interoperability

The application-specific logic behind the orchestration of a system is as independent of the system as possible. This places demands on the information and service interfaces of the fluid-technical I4.0 components, which must be processed by the orchestration modules and made available to the requirements in a suitable and appropriate manner. This aspect distinguishes so-called cyber-physical systems from an interoperable industry 4.0 component.

In this context, the administration shell describes a concept for the integration and standardized use of real heterogeneous components in industry 4.0 systems by providing I4.0 compliant data and service interfaces.

Cyber-Physical System

Industry 4.0 components ultimately represent unified cyber-physical systems. They supplement objects in general and fluid-technical components in particular by three essential aspects.

  • Self-descriptiveness: The components carry information about their identity, which characteristics they own and which abilities they have. In the context of automated commissioning, information about the steps required for module activation can also be found here. For the effective and automated use of the information by IT systems, the information should be available in a standardized and semantically described form.
  • Services: Additional skills, which are used, for example, during commissioning. They represent an important part in the implementation of the solution logic of flexible systems and form a so-called service-oriented architecture (SoA).
  • Basic communication: An additional communication interface is advantageous for the effective exchange of information and the use of available services. In contrast to other communication paths in the field device area, it has the properties of automatically establishing connections and exchanging data and services independently of the system.

PnP Process

The process of automated commissioning can be divided into different stages:

  • Structure of the basic communication
  • System analysis and derivation of the commissioning process
  • Execution of the commissioning

Once all components involved in the system have been set up and connected, basic communication is established. In the next step, the orchestration module collects all commissioning relevant information of the modules in the system. During commissioning, the module activation steps of each individual module and a list of available services are of particular relevance. Based on all collected information, the orchestration module creates a transparent virtual machine model. From this model, a commissioning sequence for the entire system, consisting of services of individual components, can be derived. During the subsequent commissioning, all services of the components are called up in the determined sequence.


Need for Action for Fluid Technology

With I4.0 some new concepts and technologies to overcome the described challenges were presented. The solutions discussed (e.g. the I4.0 component or the administration shell) are formulated in the literature in a very general and abstract way so far, so that a cross-industry and benefit-generating implementation has not yet taken place and appears difficult. Fluid power, I4.0-compliant components with openly defined information and service interfaces do not exist.

In the future, a successive development of the fluid-technical sub-models with simultaneous implementation and validation with superordinate business processes such as automated commissioning will be necessary. Such a project will be initiated with the follow-up cooperation project with the Institute for Applied Computer Science (IAI) of the TU Dresden for the "Functional verification of the interoperability of fluid technical components using the example of plug-and-produce".



The study Industry 4.0 in Fluid Power Engineering was funded by the FKM - Fluid Power Engineering Research Fund of the VDMA. ifas would like to thank all participants who contributed to the success of the study during the expert interviews and during the project-accompanying committees.



Alt, Malzahn, Murrenhoff, Schmitz: A Survey of Industrial Internet of Things in the Field of Fluid Power - Basic Concept and Requirements for Plug-and-Produce, BATH/ASME 2018 Symposium on Fluid Power and Motion Control, FPMC2018, Bath, UK, 2018

Alt, Murrenhoff, Schmitz: A survey of Industrie 4.0” in the field of Fluid Power - challenges and opportunities by the example of field device integration, Fluid power networks - 11th International Fluid Power Conference, IFK2018, Aachen, 2018