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Enabling SMEs to Industry 4.0 Using the BaSyx Middleware: A Case Study

Subash Kannoth; Jesko Hermann; Markus Damm; Pascal Rübel; Dimitri Rusin; Malte Jacobi; Björn Mittelsdorf; Thomas Kuhn; Pablo Oliveira Antonino
In: Stefan Biffl; Elena Navarro; Welf Löwe; Marjan Sirjani; Raffaela Mirandola; Danny Weyns (Hrsg.). Software Architecture - 15th European Conference, ECSA 2021. European Conference on Software Architecture (ECSA-2021), September 13-17, Sweden, Pages 277-294, ISBN 978-3-030-86044-8, Springer International Publishing, 2021.


Industry 4.0 (I4.0) concepts evolve the current industrial processes towards directly connecting shopfloor machines to systems from different layers of the Automation Pyramid, such as Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) or Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES). Companies introducing I4.0 concepts aim at (i) facilitating changeable production systems in order to quickly react to customer inquiries such that even lot-size one becomes feasible and (ii) having a holistic view of the different parameters of a production process. Enabling these calls for accessing the different systems of the Automation Pyramid, which is hard to achieve in traditional production systems without technical changes consuming time, effort and budget, mainly due to the lack of standardization, heterogeneous protocols, and the lack of proper interfaces among the systems of the Automation Pyramid. This challenge is greater in small and medium-size enterprises (SMEs) due to economic reasons or lack access to personnel with a skill set encompassing all the levels of the Automation Pyramid. I4.0-based concepts are built according to the Service-Oriented Architecture principle to enable peer-to-peer communication of systems from each layer of the Automation Pyramid. The service-oriented middleware architecture Eclipse BaSyx 4.0 implements SOA and other I4.0 concepts such as Digital Twins, and has been instantiated in German companies of different sizes. In this paper, we present two use cases focusing on of adoption of Eclipse BaSyx in two German SMEs and show how this enables the adoption of I4.0 concepts with improved time, effort and budget.