Bosch heads up Industry 4.0 research project IT infrastructure for smart factories Optimizing and connecting production facilities

  • CoCoS project to bolster German manufacturing with support of German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy
  • Development of an infrastructure for cyber-physical production systems in smart factories
  • Flexible communication instead of fixed, hierarchical levels
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  • June 06, 2014
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press release

Stuttgart – In the future, cyber-physical production systems (CPPS) will allow industry to manufacture more flexibly and efficiently. Made up of intelligent machines, storage systems, and operating resources, these systems can autonomously exchange information, trigger processes, and control each other. An important foundation still missing for CPPS, however, is an integrated information and communication infrastructure that connects the entire system and other CPPS to each other, even between companies. A research team has set itself the task of developing this infrastructure. Supported by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, the CoCoS (Context-Aware Connectivity and Service Infrastructure for Cyber-Physical Production Systems) project kicked off at the beginning of this year and is set to run through the end of 2016.

Shifting away from the automation pyramid
Present-day production systems are organized hierarchically. In line with the classic automation pyramid, each process is assigned to a level. The fact that each level has its own function and sometimes even its own communications technology can lead to data discontinuity. As a result, changes in the production process – especially at interfaces – are cumbersome, time-consuming, and consequently expensive. In contrast, CPPS can promptly respond to a changed need. Because all technical production processes are closely linked to the business processes, they can be easily and flexibly controlled or modified to allow optimum use of resources. CPPS relies on cooperative network architectures, not hierarchical ones; this means the entire CPPS is connected, including all sensors and actuators. Moreover, it is designed to connect to several CPPS and also integrate isolated solutions. This allows companies to control the entire production process uniformly and across locations, from management to logistics.

Networking and services platform
Working in what is known as a multi-layer approach. CoCoS project researchers want to use standardized software to integrate the individual production components into the overall system – merging what were previously separate levels to create a flexible structure. The CPPS landscape is based on two platforms. First, the networking platform, which is scalable and hence easily expanded, determines the way in which the manufacturing components as well as the embedded sensors and actuators communicate with each other. Building on this networking platform, the services platform comprises software for controlling the entire modular system and includes smart applications such as software agents, knowledge databases, and business apps. This structure supports the development of new electronic services and makes modern manufacturing facilities more autonomous. Cloud computing can be used to integrate and couple together different cyber-physical production systems.

Research collaboration
A consortium of industrial companies and academic partners are working on the CoCoS project. Heading up the project is Robert Bosch GmbH in Stuttgart. Additional partners are the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence GmbH (DFKI) in Kaiserslautern, DMG Electronics GmbH in Pfronten, Technische Universität Berlin, trustsec IT-Solutions GmbH in Stuttgart, and XETICS GmbH in Stuttgart. To document the performance capacity of the new platform philosophy, three of the partners – Bosch, DFKI, and DMG – are each building a demonstrator. These individual demonstrators will then be coupled together and evaluated.

Contribution to Industry 4.0
The CoCoS findings will lend themselves to application wherever production is split into several steps, such as the delivery of raw materials, the manufacture of components, or finished products – even when the production steps take place in different companies or at different locations belonging to a single company. CoCoS is thus helping to establish CPPS, which in turn will form the core of smart factories. Industry will be able to use the structures and functions of the internet of things to create smart, flexible production systems, making them a vanguard of the so-called fourth industrial revolution (Industry 4.0). This could give Germany a distinct competitive advantage both as a manufacturing location and as a leading global provider of plant equipment. Part of the “Autonomics for Industry 4.0” technology program, CoCoS is receiving some 2.4 million euros of funding from the German Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi), following a decision in the German Bundestag.

The participants:
German federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi)
Robert Bosch GmbH
German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence GmbH (DFKI)
DMG Electronics GmbH
Technical University Berlin
trustsec IT-Solutions GmbH

Project website (under construction):

The Bosch Group is a leading global supplier of technology and services. It employs roughly 375,000 associates worldwide (as of December 31, 2015). The company generated sales of 70.6 billion euros in 2015. Its operations are divided into four business sectors: Mobility Solutions, Industrial Technology, Consumer Goods, and Energy and Building Technology. The Bosch Group comprises Robert Bosch GmbH and its roughly 440 subsidiaries and regional companies in some 60 countries. Including sales and service partners, Bosch’s global manufacturing and sales network covers some 150 countries. The basis for the company’s future growth is its innovative strength. Bosch employs 55,800 associates in research and development at 118 locations across the globe. The Bosch Group’s strategic objective is to deliver innovations for a connected life. Bosch improves quality of life worldwide with products and services that are innovative and spark enthusiasm. In short, Bosch creates technology that is “Invented for life.”

The company was set up in Stuttgart in 1886 by Robert Bosch (1861-1942) as “Workshop for Precision Mechanics and Electrical Engineering.” The special ownership structure of Robert Bosch GmbH guarantees the entrepreneurial freedom of the Bosch Group, making it possible for the company to plan over the long term and to undertake significant up-front investments in the safeguarding of its future. Ninety-two percent of the share capital of Robert Bosch GmbH is held by Robert Bosch Stiftung GmbH, a charitable foundation. The majority of voting rights are held by Robert Bosch Industrietreuhand KG, an industrial trust. The entrepreneurial ownership functions are carried out by the trust. The remaining shares are held by the Bosch family and by Robert Bosch GmbH.

Additional information is available online at and,

PI8580 - June 06, 2014

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