Bosch launches open machine language for industry 4.0

September 23, 2016 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
As a contribution to lower the initial hurdle to the industry 4.0 technology, Bosch is suggesting a new data exchange standard for the internet of things. The Production Performance Management Protocol (PPMP) is designed to facilitate the interplay of partners in different technology segments and vertical markets. Though developed in-house by the Swabian industry giant, Bosch characterizes the protocol as an open, common language for machines.

“Open standards are one of the major prerequisites for enterprises to benefit from the business opportunities of industry 4.0”, says Bosch CEO Volkmar Denner. “With open standards, everyone can participate in exchanging data. This increases interoperability, enables new business models and improves the competitiveness of the actors involved”.

The protocol supports Production Performance Management, an important element in the industry 4.0 context of automated, self-organizing production environments: In manufacturing processes, sensors generate huge amounts of data which then will be analyzed with the goal of further optimizing the production process. It allows operators to be aware of many parameters in the production line: Do all components of this production line really collaborate in the best possible way? Are there bottlenecks in the production line, do I have a single component that slows down the production speed? Is there a machine with unusual energy consumption patterns? Did a drive run hot, threating to fail? PPM systems help users to answer questions of this kind and correct any errors and problems. At the same time, the PPM system ensures efficient, comprehensive production control.

To optimize production processes, it is necessary that numerous sensors and machines in a production system provide their real-time data to a central PPM software – which is rather complex because many machines and sensors involved are using different data formats and communications protocols. The PPMP serves as a means to enable better understanding between these sensors, machines and data sources. Many large enterprises (like Bosch) are utilizing third-party components and benefit, as users, from such standards. On the other hands, also component vendors, in many cases small and medium-sized enterprises, benefit from such a standard.