Siemens and GEA are collaborating on a Module Type Package (MTP) digitalization project where processes can be changed with little effort, modules can be added or removed, and production quantities can be adapted.
With MTP, manufacturers can respond to market demands at short notice because it acts as a ‘standardized interface’, integrating everything into an overall system, adapting to production capacity in a flexible way.
Shorter time to market
Highlighting “standardization” as key, the partners are using a Plug & Win separator to demonstrate how the standardized exchange of data between the automation system and the engineering system leads to shorter time to market, greater flexibility, improved product quality and efficiency.
Christoph Schröder, responsible sales engineer, Siemens, said the advantages for users are undeniable and the MTP project adds an important perspective to theoretical preparations achieved so far by working groups such as Namur, ZVEI and VDMA.
“Siemens and GEA have decided to be innovation drivers. We see our partnership as an incubator for this interface – whether we call it standardization, automation, modularization or digitalization. It’s an interface that translates into digital solutions for the user and the market,” he said.
“The visualization and operation are uniform throughout the system, regardless of the manufacturer. The higher-level system then controls the individual components in the overall process.”
Explaining the process, Matthias Wiemann, head of automation and controls, GEA separators, said GEA has been producing modular products for more than 20 years, because every single component – be it a separator, homogenizer, pasteurizer or drying system – has to be integrated into the higher-level automation system of the entire facility.
Secure data management
“If both the control system and the components to be connected were talking the same ‘language,’ it would run as smoothly as a printer connected to a PC using a printer driver,” said Wiemann.
While Siemens’ Open Platform Communications Unified Architecture (OPC UA) has already established itself as an open, Ethernet-based standard for machine communication, the MTP interface is designed to provide information on all module properties, status descriptions, stylesheet illustrations on the control panel, diagnostic tools and alarm handling.
Instead of troubling the customer with a long data exchange list and hardware contact descriptions to integrate the machines into the system, MTP eliminates the need for a system integrator.
“MTP enables continuous, secure data management, accommodating the user’s desire for flexibility and documentation,” added Wiemann.