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DIMA: Decentralized Intelligence for Modular Applications


DIMA: Decentralized Intelligence for Modular Applications

In todays manufacturing environment, companies have to be able to convert their production facilities quickly to react to changing market requirements. However, most existing production lines are not designed for the requirements of rapid conversion, because mobility, scalability, universality, compatibility and modularity were not taken into account in the initial application planning.

Breaking up these monolithic facilities into modules opens up a wide range of options. It becomes possible to easily adapt the production volume, relocate individual modules, carry out testing and perform run-in and acceptance at the R&D site, and then enter production without the need for trained engineers available on site. To achieve this, a virtual map (AAS) of the production system should always correspond to physical reality. If a new module is added, it should be represented it in the process control system without additional programming, very much in the spirit of “plug-and-produce.” Together with the Dresden University of Technology and Helmut Schmidt University of Hamburg, WAGO has dedicated itself to this approach and presented DIMA (Decentralized Intelligence for Modular Applications) in November 2014.

DIMA shifts large parts of the control intelligence to the modules. These provide their intended function as services that can be accessed by other communication elements via a unified interface. A module is still operated via operating images. Furthermore, the operating images are also described in such a way that can be generated automatically in any target systems.

The process for announcing the services and operating images is not based on proprietary solutions, but rather on a new description method – the “Module Type Package” (MTP). This serves as a digital description of a system module and contains all the information required for integrating the module into the system and then operating it. Modeling this capability description is the core of DIMA. The process function of the module is modeled in the form of a service, i.e. a closed function, which is only addressed via its standardized interface. Thus the process control level becomes the service user. The orchestration of the services of all modules connected to the backbone and announced by an MTP occurs in the engineering tool of the process control level.

As the digital calling card of a system module, the “Module Type Package” (MTP) provides an initial approach to implementing the virtual representative in the information network. It already represents the application module’s functions and manages them within the architecture of the overall system. Thus MTP is an initial real-world module to meet Industry 4.0 requirements. However, the program code necessary for this service is executed in the module.



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