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"Skill-based Propagation of ""Plug&Produce""-Devices in Reconfigurable Production Systems by AML"

Final Report Summary - SKILLPRO (Skill-based Propagation of "Plug&Produce"-Devices in Reconfigurable Production Systems by AML)

Executive Summary:
The objective of SkillPro is to bring the vision of smart reconfigurable manufacturing systems into application. It considers a modern production system as a combination and collaboration of cyber-physical assets that offer different skills. SkillPro provides an extension of the Plug-and-Produce paradigm using knowledge about the skills of the diverse automation system components and about their composition and cooperation and is based on the open standard of AutomationML.
The outcome of the project Skillpro will increase on the one hand the production flexibility and the market share and otherwise reduce the ramp-up time and the process planning effort and production lead time and additional reduce costs related to energy consumption in existing manufacturing systems.
Writing the proposal for SkillPro in the past, it was not clear that many of the tasks and partial solutions in SkillPro are also mentioned as sections and challenges of the forth industrial revolution, the actually “Industry 4.0” initiative here in Germany. Therefore showing the SkillPro framework on a dedicated booth at the Hannover Fair 2015 was at the right time.

Project Context and Objectives:
The objectives for the first period can be summarized as the definition and specification of the SkillPro concept especially comprising the major components Asset Management System (AMS), Manufacturing Execution System (MES), Skill Execution Engine (SEE) with their functionalities.
For this reason a roadmap was defined in D-6.1.0-Roadmap towards SkillPro Framework [M9]. The roadmap aims to make the development accessible for evaluating the progress towards the scientific and technical objectives of SkillPro.
In particular, the roadmap follows a rapid prototyping approach combined with agile methods from the SCRUM development concept. The goal of the rapid prototyping was to provide dummy services, simulating the functionality and the interaction of the modules with each other. With this concept the SkillPro consortium was able to show an integrated demonstrator at the Mid-Term-Review on the first of April 2014 comprising all the main modules of the SkillPro architecture and their interaction.
Beside modules and services additional stand-alone functional mock-ups were developed using the same approach in order to test and validate functionality for specific and well-defined concepts. After the availability of the first prototypes, the dummy services and mock-ups are replaced continuously by the framework interfaces and the framework components. The main effort at the beginning was put into developing the rapid prototypes and investigating different technical possibilities to realize the project goals. Subsequently the focus shifted with the time to the framework development as the validated methods and work results has to be integrated in the final solution.
As outcome of the first reporting period of the Skillpro the use case scenarios and the requirement specification were defined. Additionally a Competitive Evaluation Tool has been defined to evaluate the SkillPro solution at the end of the project.
The concept of Skill was formalized and the Skill-Extension of AML Standard has been finalized. Additionally the design of the Asset Management System (AMS), the Manufacturing Execution System (MES) and the Skill Execution Engine (SEE) was finalized and a common architecture for AMS, MES and SEE was found. The implementation of infrastructure for example OPC-UA client and technical skills like grasping objects or detecting persons started. Supplementary the necessary technical infrastructure for the collaborative work was set up and maintained.
In Mid-Term review at the beginning of the second and last project period of SkillPro, a prototype demonstrated successfully the basic functionalities of the three major framework components AMS, EMS and SEE. Additionally a mobile dashboard for human operators together with a visualization of the shop floor have been demonstrated on the Mid-Term review . These basic functionalities are continuously developed further. The focus was shifted to the framework development as the validated methods and work results have to be integrated in the final solution.
The Asset Management System (AMS) was implemented according to the requirement of the specifications. There for the subcomponents like AML Model Manager, AML-Server, Skill Server and the Production System Configuration Manager (PSCM) are developed. This also included a mobile client for the Asset Management System.
After defining a federal data model the interfaces and communication between SkillPro components and Manufacturing Executions System (MES) was implemented. The MES implementation also consider the Simulation-based reasoning Unit, the Evaluation Toolkit, the Skill Viewer and also a Mobile Dashboard for human operators. Additionally the standardization activities regarding AutomationML and OPC-UA were promoted in context of SkillPro.
The implementation of the Skill Execution Engine (SEE) according to the requirements specification was done with C#, C++ and Python in three different ways. The infrastructure and communication between SEE, MES, AMS and the corresponding components like AML-Server, Skill-Server and Environment-Server was finally implemented. As examples for outcome of the implementation regarding technical skills could be mentioned, the grasping of unknown fixed and moving objects, safe detecting persons in work-spaces or the construction of maps based on provided information of the AMS.
The technical infrastructure for collaborative work between the project partner was continuously maintained and a git repository and trac system for bug reporting was provided. For the achievement of the maturity gates maturity-level workshop were prepared and conducted. The integration of the framework was supported and documented by deployment guideline and will be finished for the open source version of SkillPro.
The SkillPro framework and the final prototypes of AMS, MES and SEE were demonstrated in April 2015 on the Hannover Fair in Germany. Specific needs for the industrial partner were considered in SkillPro Demo scenario in May 2015 in Dresden at DDE for PCB manufacturer and in September 2015 in Karlsruhe at KIT for manufacturer of metal products. The final evaluation of the SkillPro framework was also done at the final review Meeting in Karlsruhe with the lab scenario at KIT.
Information and news about SkillPro together with the public deliverables were accessible at the website of SkillPro ( Several publications on important conferences were made in context of SkillPro. Regarding dissemination and clustering the project was presented on three Impact Workshops in Brussels together with the projects I-Ramp³, PRIME and CassaMobile. Additionally the communication of SkillPro idea to national and European projects started. Two Exploitation Seminars were held specially addressing the issue that SkillPro is not focusing at one specific Technology, but laying the ground for different companies integrating technologies to set-up a production system. The SkillPro framework was successfully shown on a dedicated booth in the Production and Automation Hall at Hannover Fair 2015. The E-Book will document the SkillPro idea and concepts also after end of the project. Finally the SkillPro framework and components will be open-sourced.
For supporting communication, date exchange and documentation different web-based platforms are intensively used. Regular weekly web meetings with all project partners secure the project progress, supplemented with additional task forces supporting specific tasks or integrations weeks near General assembly meetings. Besides Kick-Off, Mid-Term and Final Review meeting there were four additional General Assembly meetings for showing and demonstrating the ongoing project progress. The Money transfer of the second payment was handled.

Project Results:
The technical implementation of the SkillPro framework was realized according to the essential functional specification. The main components of the SkillPro framework will be available as an open-sourced version.
Every partner did incorporate its components into the common framework showing the feasibility regarding automatic configuration, autonomous production schedule and interplay of components based on skills and showing the ability of an easy interplay of multiple partners for realizing a common production task.
New robotic Skills where developed regarding object detection, object manipulation, object movement estimation. This functionality will be opens-sourced.
New methods for the detection of humans, the human-robot-interaction and the data fusion of different sources for mobile robots usage were developed.
A standard-ready representation of Skills based on AutomationML was defined and continuously discussed in the official AutomationML-group. Due to constant promotion and discussion the idea of combining OPC-UA and AutomationML lead to a new group in the OPC-UA consortium defining and further developing AutomationML as companion standard.
A full working example was presented on Hannover Fair 2015. SkillPro was placed in Hall 17 as part of the official Automation and Production Topic. It is important to point out that many of SkillPro tasks and partial solutions are also mentioned as sections of the forth industrial revolution, the actually “Industry 4.0” initiative here in Germany.

Potential Impact:
SkillPro did aim at enabling a new type of reconfigurable production system which allows for the seamless integration of new automation equipment. The SkillPro concept of Skills and the interfaces for registering new resources at the MES and AMS shows a possible self-configuration of the pro-duction system and thus demonstrates a way for drastically reducing the need for expert efforts, time in commissioning and ramp-up. Special features of the SkillPro concept are: a faster response to engineering changes, greater process transparency; access to up-to-date information in a central da-tabase, improved cost estimating, procedures and fewer calculation errors, more complete and de-tailed process plans, improved ability to introduce new manufacturing technology and rapidly update process plans to utilize the improved technology.
Even if the idea of SkillPro to create the technological framework around existing industrial stand-ards like OPC-UA and AutomationML turned out to be the right choice, it is difficult to predict how and in which form the SkillPro concept will be adopted from others after project's end. The goal of the consortium was and is to widely inform industry about the developed solutions. For the SkillPro consortium consisting of SMEs and research institutions it is not possible to push the solution into the market but it can provide information and create interest by showing the return on investment that could be generated by using the SkillPro concept. In this context especially to mention is the success of setting up an AutomationML task group which achieved AutomationML to become an accepted companion standard to OPC-UA. The latter will ensure that at least the SkillPro ideas will be incor-porated in the standardization bodies and therefore be part in future standards. A further central on-going dissemination instruments will be the SkillPro Website ( which will remain available providing videos how the system works and information like presentations, deliverables, and free source code and deployment guidelines.

List of Websites:

Karlsruhe Institute of Technology
Institute for Information Management in Engineering
Thomas Maier
Zirkel 2, Bldg. 20.20
76131 Karlsruhe
Phone: +49 721 608 46631