The AAS is the digital core of all future production architectures. This is where fixed and flexible data for each asset is stored. The AAS enables distributed and flexible supply chains to be generated as needed for individual products. The capture of live data like the carbon footprint and the energy consumption also relies on the AAS.
Prof. Martin Ruskowski, CEO of SmartFactory-KL, said: "We see the administrative shell as the communication hub of every production asset. The Digital Product Pass, which is to be rolled out across Europe, is a good start." But, Ruskowski thinks that is not enough. "It's more like a digital data plate than the administrative shell that is needed." The Digital Product Pass (DPP) allows an asset to self-identify. It contains information on production, components, raw materials, repair options, etc. "But, what if something gets a rebuild, where does that data go," he asks. "We need sub-models in the AAS that can be dynamically updated if we ever want to achieve a circular economy. Component parts will need to be reused."
SmartFactory Kaiserslautern shows what this can look like at this year’s event. A user configured model truck is produced on site at the production station_KUBA. During production, data is collected and stored in the administrative shell. "What we see, for example, is the actual carbon footprint during operation. We also know the respective energy consumption," Ruskowski added. "In the future, dynamic supply chains for products will be the reality. In other words, the machines and services required for manufacturing will be found in data spaces using a matching-engine. And that requires dynamic administrative shells." In Ruskowski's vision, the administrative shell contains all details about the product history. If an unnecessarily energy-intensive machine is used, it will be identified and not selected for future orders.
The idea of flexibly organising resilient production via sovereign data spaces is already incorporated in the SmartFactory-KL vision of Production Level 4. "It is all the more significant that the value of this topic has been upgraded through the BMWK Manufacturing-X initiative," Ruskowski continued. "A mind change is needed among companies here, otherwise this won't work." Similarly, the benefits of asset administration shells cannot be exploited without the networking of machines and services in sovereign data spaces. Manufacturing will not become resilient without dynamic supply chains. "I hope, in this respect, that Manufacturing-X acts like a booster shot. But, in the sense that companies agree to participate, not that we get bogged down in senseless discussions."
In the meantime, SmartFactory-KL has already acted and set up skill-based, shared production that works via administrative shells at different locations in Kaiserslautern.