The factories of the future are not exclusive, homogeneous blocks, working out-of-the-box once installed and never changed again. Industrie 4.0 envisages agile and living systems, working together, shifting and changing to match different use cases, and constantly evolving to keep pace with technological developments.
In this rich landscape, diverse components, machines, and IT systems need to be able to communicate with each other and know what other devices exist around them to maintain a flexible and agile process chain.
Up to now, changing a working industrial system was a complex and error-prone, laborious task. Industrie 4.0 environments are inherently expected to accommodate new features and capabilities, both hardware and software-realized, to respond to changing business needs, product specifications, or customers’ requests. What has long been a reality for PC users – simply connecting plug-and-play-enabled devices by USB or similar technologies – still remains an aspiration in industry. Deceptively simple tasks like retooling a machine can have repercussions down the line, as physical parts need to be replaced, machine operating systems need new instructions, and even the entire MES system might have to be reprogrammed. SecurePLUGandWORK intends to streamline these changes with secure identities and secure communication in a pliant and intelligent industrial organism.
Objectives and Approach
The SecurePLUGandWORK project employs open standards already in use in industry to add the required change management capabilities even to non-Industrie 4.0 systems. This is achieved by injecting software components based on OPC UA and AutomationML or, where required, special SecurePLUGandWORK adapters to enable formerly mute systems to communicate with the world around them. The end result is true plug-and-work flexibility with unparalleled ease of use.
As the system becomes easier to manipulate for legitimate purposes, it becomes even more crucial to protect the new flow of communication against illicit manipulation. With the license-driven protection technologies of Wibu-Systems, the system is designed to allow only authorized and known entities into the mix and keep communication secure and encrypted.