PI 020-17 Lohr am Main, 2017-04-19

The sweet side of M2M communication

M2M communication with OPC UA: At interpack, the "ChoConnect" project will demonstrate how four exhibition machines from different manufacturers are merged into one virtual production line.

At interpack, the collaborative project "ChoConnect" will showcase a virtual production line of four individual machines connected with OPC UA.

  • M2M: real machine to machine communication using OPC UA
  • Virtual line of four individual machines from different manufacturers
  • Live demo: Status visualization at the project partners’ booth

With their M2M project, "ChoConnect", the four machine manufacturers Loesch Verpackungstechnik, SOLLICH, THEEGARTEN-PACTEC and WINKLER und DÜNNEBIER Süßwarenmaschinen demonstrate the practical application of the open Industry 4.0 standard OPC UA together with the automation supplier, Bosch Rexroth. Connected to a virtual production line for chocolate products, four regionally distributed machines without a MES system exchange information in the style of the Weihenstephaner Standards. Visitors at interpack can experience the current status of the line and all the individual machines live at the booth of the four participating machine manufacturers as well as at Bosch Rexroth and the VDMA.

With ChoConnect, the project partners hope to show the industry how modern communication mechanisms from Industry 4.0 can provide sufficient information to react quicker to malfunctions, make processes more flexible and efficiently increase the overall equipment effectiveness (OEE). The basis is a consistently transparent machine status within the value stream – from the processing and molding plants to the first and secondary packaging. In comparison to this real M2M communication, the previous networking provided only rudimentary information, such as input and output signals.

"The system is not a replacement for MES systems. It is used primarily for communication at the shop floor level," explains Tobias Gerhard from Sales Processing and Packaging at Bosch Rexroth. "Instead of copying or substituting the existing mechanisms of a supervisory control system, it transmits the relevant status of the plant module directly via OPC UA."

As an example for future M2M projects, ChoConnect demonstrates how the complete line can be centrally switched on from stand-by mode and that its production status can be visualized with standardized diagnosis. Visitors will also be able to view an automatic production speed adjustment: the overall line speed is automatically adapted to the slowest process in the chain. The line generally becomes more available and more effective. In line with this objective, the project also shows how the actual product controls the production process. The system modules adjust themselves automatically or they report the need for manual adjustment.

Call for joint development of an official standard

With ChoConnect, the project partners want to start developing an official standard for the confectionary production industry and invite all industry professionals to contribute.

"I am thrilled that several companies representing different processing operations have come together to take a step forward into the future. Through the first intelligent networking of machines from different manufacturers along a chocolate line, I expect an immediate and noticeable increase in OEE for our customers," said Tobias Heinze, Product Manager Sales at Loesch Verpackungstechnik.

The scope of M2M communication currently follows the Weihenstephaner Standard WS Food. In addition, it is supported on the software side by a service-oriented client server architecture based on open OPC UA standards. This enables a secure, reliable and platform-independent exchange of information via internet and firewalls and prevents unauthorized access to data. On the hardware side, ChoConnect consists of an Ethernet network with embedded controllers and industry PCs for the individual machines.

"We are very excited that Bosch Rexroth, a driver of innovation and a highly experienced automation supplier, have taken on the crucial role of coordinator," commented Bernd Plies, head of electrical engineering and automation at WINKLER und DÜNNEBIER Süßwarenmaschinen. "The most important factors for the success of the project were the good technical support and the high degree of expertise in the areas of open interfaces and OPC UA."

"M2M communication achieves transparency for operators of complex lines. Our customers can now operate their systems efficiently and react quickly to incidences during operation," describes Dr. Egbert Röhm, Managing Director of THEEGARTEN-PACTEC. "Providers of machinery and systems need to be able to provide these functions in the future. Thus, it is important to rely on open standards and to develop these further. This will avoid barriers caused by using proprietary systems. This is the goal we are working towards."


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Susanne Herzlieb
Maria-Theresien-Straße 23
97816 Lohr am Main
Phone: +49 9352 18-1573

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