Phase 2: Plug & Work

The Plug&Work concept is inspired by the well-known concept of plugging in a new USB device into a computer. The properties of the device are read-in, evaluated, the necessary driver software is activated automatically and the applications can use the device. Plug&Work for a factory applies to assets of varying complexity, e.g. ranging from complete handling stations down to I/O modules and sensors.

Plug & Work implements a scenario showing how new components such as devices or machines can be “plugged” into a factory with an automatic recognition of the component’s characteristics and interfaces and an automatic re-configuration of the application functions. Plant models in AutomationML and OPC UA for data communication provide the standards basis.

The industrial standards OPC UA and AutomationML are used in combination. The asset model is defined in AutomationML; this includes e.g. its interfaces and accessible data. The Companion Specification “OPC Unified Architecture for AutomationML” describes how an AutomationML model can be mapped onto the information model of an OPC UA server. Fraunhofer IOSB has software tools for this step. This then becomes the basis for data communication with the asset over OPC UA.

The figure shows the Plug & Work for a factory asset