The (german language) white paper "Von Daten zur Wertschöpfung: Maschinen sprechen lassen und sie endlich richtig verstehen" analyzes possibilities for the secure and manufacturer-independent networking of machines and systems with the OPC UA communication standard at Deutsche Bahn.
A team of authors in partnership from Deutsche Bahn (Jonas Podszuweit, Cord Gatzka and Michael Krebs) and Detecon (Dr. Hendrik Grosser, Lino Lindner, Uwe Weber) evaluated fields of application and potentials for this purpose. The cooperation has confirmed that open, ecosystem-based action and partnering across business areas is the best approach to bundle challenges in a meaningful way and to allow impulses from other industries to flow into the evaluation.
Digitization and technology are the decisive key factors for making rail operations, rail technology and maintenance fit for the future. A highly intelligent mobility network is to make Deutsche Bahn more robust, more powerful and more modern. Based on digital and technical foundations such as connectivity, platforms and data management, new technologies (e.g. Digital Twin and Robotics) are to increase the intelligence and reliability of the rail system. To achieve this, information from the physical world must be transferred from maintenance plants to trains and signaling systems to the digital world.
To enable vertical and horizontal communication with all players in a network, a wide variety of technologies, platforms and systems must interact with each other by making interfaces compatible. For this reason, communication standards are of crucial importance. The focus here is on interoperable interfaces, i.e., those that enable standardized, secure data and information exchange between devices, machines and systems from different industries and manufacturers.
One of the most important standards granting this level of digital networking is OPC UA (short for Open Platform Communications Unified Architecture), which is managed by the OPC Foundation. OPC UA aims to provide the framework so that communication between different systems can be realized in a secure and robust way, regardless of its platform and the communication protocol used.
Download the Whitepaper (only available in german)