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With KUKA to the digital factory

KUKA unites the world of mechanical and systems engineering with the digital transformation of industry – and is thus decisively shaping the topic of Industrie 4.0.


The smart transformation into the digital world

Digitalization needs pioneers: KUKA is not only a proactive driver of cross-manufacturer and cross-industry standards, but is also involved in the development of platforms that connect real production with corresponding digital structures. We are thus creating the necessary conditions for an open and universal platform architecture. To this end, we are a partner and member of numerous associations and institutions advancing research and technology, for example the OPC Foundation (OPC UA), Plattform Industrie 4.0, the Open Industry 4.0 Alliance, MindSphere World e.V., and the Industrial Digital Twin Association (IDTA).

A platform architecture of this kind brings decisive advantages: for example, it allows production data to be accessed at any time and from any device. This means that components and processes can be analyzed, administered and, as required, adapted or reconfigured with virtually unlimited computing power. And not least, it is possible to reach completely new markets and regions via the Internet and to scale know-how.

  • Shopfloor

    Every data transfer begins with a component in production: the control and sensor systems generate data and forward them to the edge via specific protocols and bus systems.

  • UI & apps

    Apps and their UIs are used to process and clearly display the data for end users.

  • Edge gateway

    The local interface between the physical and digital worlds: here, all I4.0 components are connected, data are analyzed and processed in real time, encrypted and transmitted to the cloud.

Shopfloor and edge gateway

In the digital factory, every data transfer initially begins with a component or process in production. Their control and sensor systems communicate with their periphery via specific protocols and bus systems. The standardized communication protocol for this is OPC UA.

The edge gateway provides the communication interface between the cell network (operational technology, OT) and the higher-level IT network (information technology). At the local edge level, the information from the real things is already collected, consolidated, compressed and encrypted.

You can easily integrate edge gateways into existing (brownfield) production facilities, thus connecting these to the new digital world. As the edge layer interacts between things and the cloud, the components are relieved of cloud communication requirements, such as security, computing power, memory requirements, etc., and at the same time are augmented with missing, cloud-compatible communication protocols.

For you as the end customer and operator of the cells and systems it is important that the data accessibility of your processes is enabled with minimally invasive integration of an edge. KUKA is therefore driving the standardization and disclosure of interfaces so that all things in production can communicate with the cloud via the same edge. In this connection, KUKA is working in the established committees and is promoting OPC UA as a standardized communication protocol.

Deep dive: beyond this, the expansions TSN (Time-Sensitive Networking) for deterministic real-time communication via OPC UA, and AMQP (Advanced Message Queuing Protocol) for OPC UA cloud communication are being pushed. In addition, KUKA draws on many years of experience with products on the edge for remote maintenance and has only recently expanded this knowledge.
KUKA is revolutionizing the digital factory with the latest technology.

The cloud layer on the Internet

The data is collected on the Edge, pre-filtered and sent to the Internet of Things platform (IoT platform) in compliance with the latest security standards. The platform is provided by established cloud providers such as Microsoft Azure or Amazon Web Services. This guarantees modern security standards, resilience, and cost efficiency.
The IoT platform then resides on one of these cloud infrastructures and is continuously developed with the support of IoT specialist Device Insight. It can be operated on any infrastructure, i.e. as a private or public cloud as required.
Numerous services are offered on the IoT platform: These include basic services for data storage and processing (Big Data), as well as for authentication and authorization management. Based on this, artificial intelligence processes, predictive maintenance, and event evaluations take place.
This data can be evaluated in the context of a machine or even an entire factory and enriched with additional information from the KUKA Cloud. This enables plant operators to gain detailed insights and use the results to adapt their processes and make them more efficient.

KUKA is constantly focused on the needs of small and medium-sized mechanical and systems engineering companies. Our IoT platform is therefore available to enterprises from all sectors and can be used across all markets. This allows you to concentrate entirely on your core competencies while gaining access to established microservices.


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