Microsoft and the BMW Group launch the Open Manufacturing Platform

Microsoft and the BMW Group launch the Open Manufacturing Platform

The companies collaborate in a new initiative to stimulate the development of open industrial IoT solutions and contribute to the development of a community to build future Industry 4.0 solutions

This week at Hannover Messe, Microsoft Corp. and the BMW Group have announced a new initiative dedicated to the community through which they intend to provide faster and more cost-effective innovations in the manufacturing sector. Now, production and profitability can be aggravated by complex property systems that generate data warehouses and low productivity.

The Open Manufacturing Platform (OMP) is a platform designed to remove these barriers by creating an open technology framework that can be applied to many industries. This initiative will support the development of intelligent production solutions that will be distributed by OMP participants in the larger automotive and production sectors.

The goal is to significantly accelerate future IoT industrial developments, increase efficiency and boost production efficiency, while addressing industry emerging challenges.

OMP is created on the Microsoft Azure IoT cloud platform and gives community members a reference architecture with open source components based on open industry standards and an open data model.

In addition to facilitating collaboration, this platform is designed to unlock and standardize data models that allow analyzes and automated learning scenarios - data that has traditionally been handled in patented systems.

By using industrial use and sample code, community members and other partners will be able to develop their own services and solutions, while retaining control over their data.

"Microsoft joins forces with the BMW Group to turn digital efficiency into industry," said Scott Guthrie, executive vice president, Microsoft Cloud + AI Group. "The commitment we have made to build an open community will create new opportunities for collaboration across the value chain of production."

With over 3,000 devices, robots and autonomous transport systems connected to the IoT BMW Group platform built on Microsoft Azure's cloud, IoT and AI capabilities, the BMW Group plans to bring relevant initial use cases to the OMP community. An example is the company's use of the IoT platform for the second generation of its autonomous transport systems in the BMW Group plant in Regensburg, Germany, one of the 30 production and assembly units of the BMW Group around the world. This case of use enabled BMW Group to greatly simplify its logistics processes by centrally coordinating the transport system, creating an enhanced logistics efficiency. In the future, this case along with other usage cases - such as digital feedback loops, digital supply chain management, and predictive maintenance - will be available and, furthermore, will be further developed within the OMP community.

"A complex task such as the development of customized premium products requires innovative IT solutions and software," said Oliver Zipse, member of the Board of Directors of BMW AG, Production.

"Interconnection of production units and systems, as well as the safe integration of partners and suppliers are particularly important. We rely on the cloud in 2016 and we are constantly developing new approaches. Through the Open Manufacturing Platform, we want to put our solutions at the disposal of other companies and exploit their potential together to strengthen our strong and long-lasting market position. "

OMP is the next step in the development of the long-term technology partnership between BMW Group and Microsoft and the mutual commitment to innovation and the creation of opportunities in the industry.

Through OMP, community members will have greater opportunities to unleash the potential of their data, allowing them to build and integrate industrial solutions faster and safer and, in turn, benefit from contributions and learning from other organizations.

The OMP will be designed to respond to common industry challenges such as machine connectivity and local integration of systems.

This will facilitate the reuse of software solutions between original equipment manufacturers, suppliers and other partners, significantly reducing deployment costs. For example, OMP will benefit from a ROS-based robotics standard for autonomous production and logistics systems available to all. OMP will be compatible with the existing Industry 4.0 benchmark architecture, using the OPC UA Industrial Interoperability standard.

"This is good news for the manufacturing industry," said Stefan Hoppe, president and CEO of the OPC Foundation. "The use of open international industrial standards such as OPC UA in the OMP community allows manufacturers, car makers and suppliers to integrate existing equipment and systems efficiently and securely. Companies have long embarked on closed property ecosystems - OMP's commitment to open the development horizon will outline future production. "

The core platform will continue to evolve over time alongside production requirements to integrate new innovations, including analysis areas, artificial intelligence, and digital feedback loops. Currently, the OMP community expands by partner recruitment.

The OMP Advisory Committee will be operational by the end of 2019 with an initial set of four to six partners and a minimum of 15 use cases to be launched in selected production environments. The two initial partners, Microsoft and BMW Group, encourage other manufacturers and suppliers, including non-automotive companies, to join the community.