The two announced at Hannover Messe earlier this month that they plan to develop an Open Manufacturing Platform (OMP) aimed at enabling faster and more cost-effective innovation in the manufacturing sector.
In manufacturing today, production and profitability can be hindered by complex, proprietary systems that create data silos and slow productivity.
The OMP is designed to break down these barriers with the creation of an open technology framework and cross-industry community, the companies said in a joint statement.
It is expected that the initiative will support the development of smart factory solutions that will be shared by OMP participants across the automotive and broader manufacturing sectors.
The goal is to significantly accelerate future industrial IoT developments, shorten time to value and drive production efficiencies while addressing common industrial challenges, the companies said.
The OMP will be built on the Microsoft Azure industrial IoT cloud platform. BMW already manages more than 3,000 machines, robots and autonomous transport systems on Azure cloud, IoT and AI. The company said it will provide use cases to other manufacturers who sign up to the platform.
Microsoft and BMW said they aim to bring in more manufacturers and suppliers and the goal is to have between four and six partners with them, working on 15 use cases by the end of the year.
According to the companies, members will have access to reference architecture with open source components to integrate their own systems and a repository of data models to apply machine learning solutions.
The platform meets the interoperability standards established by OPC.
“The use of open international industry standards such as OPC UA in the OMP community enables manufacturers, machine builders and suppliers to integrate their existing equipment and systems efficiently and securely,” said Stefan Hoppe, president and CEO of the OPC Foundation. For a long time, companies have promoted proprietary, closed ecosystems — the OMP commitment to open development will shape tomorrow’s manufacturing.”
Image credit: iStock Photo