Volkswagen, together with Amazon Web Services (AWS) and integration partner Siemens, is opening up the Industrial Cloud to other manufacturing and technology companies. New partner companies will be able to connect with Volkswagen plants and to contribute their own software applications for optimizing production processes to the Industrial Cloud. This way, a rapidly growing range of industrial software applications for Volkswagen’s plants will be created. Each location will be able to obtain applications for its machinery, tools and equipment direct from the Industrial Cloud to optimize production (app store approach). The Volkswagen Group expects significant efficiency and productivity gains at its plants. The partner companies will be able to scale and further develop their applications in one of the world’s largest automobile production networks. This will also enable them to optimize their own processes and products. As a first step, eleven pioneering international companies, ABB, ASCon, BearingPoint, Celonis, Dürr, GROB-WERKE, MHP, NavVis, SYNAOS, Teradata and WAGO, will be joining the Industrial Cloud.
“With the Industrial Cloud we are creating a platform allowing partners to contribute their solutions. This will help the Volkswagen Group achieve global efficiencies at its plants. At the same time. we are creating the pathway for partners to scale their applications and optimize their own operations. This way, everyone will benefit,” says Nihar Patel, Executive Vice President New Business Development at Volkswagen AG.
In future, the Industrial Cloud is to include all Volkswagen’s factories throughout the world and its global supply chain and will facilitate data interchange between systems and plants. The system is based on AWS technologies in the fields of Internet of Things (IoT), machine learning, data analytics, and computing services, which have been extended specifically to meet the requirements of Volkswagen and the automotive industry.
“Today’s news continues our initial mission of the Industrial Cloud project to help Volkswagen together with Siemens and their partners to focus their resources on optimizing production, creating new business opportunities for smart products, and improving operational efficiency across the entire value chain”, says AWS Dirk Didascalou, Vice President of AWS IoT, Amazon Web Services, Inc. “We look forward to watching the marketplace collaboration flourish as participants take advantage of the AWS native open architecture of the Industrial Cloud.”
Growing range of software applications on the Industrial Cloud
The Volkswagen Group will expand the range of software applications thanks to the support of partner companies. As a first step, eleven pioneering partners are already making their software applications available via the Industrial Cloud.
These include, for example, an algorithm with artificial intelligence to calculate requirements for driverless transport systems for plant logistics and to distribute these systems in the ideal way. Also available are software for optimizing plant efficiency (Overall Equipment Effectiveness, OEE), and an application for generating a digital twin on the cloud to simulate the capacity deployment and maintenance intervals of machines without intervening in the physical production process. Discussions with additional companies are already underway.
Opening of Industrial Cloud brings benefits to all concerned
Volkswagen believes that the evolution of its Industrial Cloud into a partner network will bring benefits to all the companies participating. Volkswagen plants will be able to use a growing range of software applications. This will boost the development of the Industrial Cloud as a whole. In addition, partner companies could also provide specialized applications which are relevant for certain Volkswagen plants. This way, the Volkswagen Group will be able to take account of the diverse structure of its plants at the same time as avoiding the need for inefficient in-house development of specialized applications. The partner companies will gain specialist knowledge for the development of their software and ultimately also for optimizing their own business processes and products. This will be especially beneficial if the companies concerned wish to establish their software applications as market solutions.
From partner network to marketplace for exchanging applications
Volkswagen and AWS see the development of the Industrial Cloud into an open partner network as a key step and intend to further intensify the App Store approach. In the long term, the partners aim to create a marketplace for industrial applications. All participants would then be able to exchange their applications with each other, to acquire applications and to use them irrespective of any links to Volkswagen. Development of the technological basis for this marketplace is already in progress.