Manufacturing AUTOMATION

News Industry 4.0 & Smart Manufacturing
Open Industry 4.0 Alliance adapts ECLASS standard to bring digital twins to life


December 2, 2022  by Manufacturing AUTOMATION

Ricardo Dunkel, Technical Director at Open Industry 4.0 Alliance, wants to bring Digital Twins to life with ECLASS. (Photo: Open Industry 4.0 Alliance)

The Open Industry 4.0 Alliance is working with ECLASS to adapt the globally used and ISO/IEC-non-compliant reference data standard for the classification and unique description of products and services. Through ECLASS, product master data can be exchanged digitally across all borders. This is a standard that is already established in the industrial, retail and service sectors and is driving Industry 4.0 initiatives. As part of this partnership, the Open Industry 4.0 Alliance will rely on the ECLASS standard to provide the basis for IIoT and Industry 4.0 assets and to further expand the innovation capabilities of its members and their end users for the future.

When manually transferring data from one IT system to another, the use of a standard that is not comprehensive and interoperable can cause friction. The Open Industry 4.0 Alliance wants to prevent this by adapting the ECLASS, providing a unified cross-industry standard. Currently, ECLASS includes about 45,000 product classes and over 19,000 unique characteristics that can be categorized into four levels. This allows each product and service to be represented by an eight-digit code. Features, such as supplier name, type or manufacturer designation, can be contained in additional, machine-readable identifiers.

“Our cooperation with the Open Industry 4.0 Alliance supports companies in the field to represent their product descriptions digitally and implement Industry 4.0 initiatives,” says Thorsten Kroke, managing director at ECLASS e.V. “ECLASS is the semantic standard for digital product illustrations and services of the European industry. Companies can – in cooperation with partners like the Open Industry 4.0 Alliance – use our standard as an important building block in creating a complete representation of a digital twin.”

“The Open Industry 4.0 Alliance relies on the integration of existing market standards for its members and end customers. ECLASS is particularly well suited to exemplify such integrations,” said Ricardo Dunkel, technical director at Open Industry 4.0 Alliance. “We are taking this standard and integrating it into our reference architecture and implementation approach, allowing the management shell to bring the digital twin to life – and subsequently find its way into the production floors of our members and end users.”

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