The VDMA represents over 3,200 mainly small and medium size member companies in the engineering industry, making it one of the largest and most important industrial associations in Europe.

The Food Processing and Packaging Machinery Association represents one of 38 specialist associations within the VDMA and with more than 300 members it is one of the largest. The many different engineering products produced in this field make it a very heterogeneous sector. The member companies manufacture machines in the subdomains of bakery, meat processing, beverage production and dairy technology, confectionery, packaging as well as machines and equipment for vegetable raw material processing and installations for producing pharmaceutical and cosmetic products.

OPC is the interoperability standard for the secure and reliable exchange of data and information in the industrial automation space and in other industries. It is platform independent and ensures the seamless flow of information among devices from multiple vendors. The OPC Foundation is responsible for the development and maintenance of this standard.

OPC UA is a platform independent service-oriented architecture that integrates all the functionality of the individual OPC Classic specifications into one extensible framework. This multi-layered approach accomplishes the original design specification goals of:

  • Platform independence: from an embedded microcontroller to cloud-based infrastructure
  • Secure: encryption, authentication, authorization and auditing
  • Extensible: ability to add new features including transports without affecting existing applications
  • Comprehensive information modelling capabilities: for defining any model from simple to complex

The Weihenstephan Standards Industry User Group consists of market leaders in the domains of packaging, filling and general food processing. Within this WS Industry User Group, a universal communication interface was developed for connecting machines to higher-level data collection systems such as a Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES). The definition of necessary data points and content is done separately for each domain and currently specified for machines in filling and packaging plants (WS Pack), machines for food processing (WS Food) and further specialized for machines in the baked goods (WS Bake) and brewing industry (WS Brew). The WS Industry User Group is managed by the Technical University of Munich within the research group Smart Production Systems at the Chair of Brewing and Beverage Technology (TUM BGT).

The Technical University of Munich (TUM) combines top-class facilities for cutting-edge research with unique learning opportunities for students. It is committed to finding solutions to the major challenges facing society as we move forward: Health & Nutrition • Energy & Natural Resources • Environment & Climate • Information & Communications • Mobility & Infrastructure. The university thinks and acts with an entrepreneurial spirit. Its aim: to create lasting value for society. All this combines to make it one of Europe’s leading universities.

The research group Smart Production Systems at the Chair of Brewing and Beverage Technology focuses on the digitization of the food and beverage industry through the research areas Artificial Intelligence, Multi Agent Systems, Modelling and Simulation as well as standardized data and communication interfaces. The research group's special focus is on the scientific consideration of issues that support the individual industrial sectors in solving current or future challenges. For example, the supply of individualized products of the beverage industry through a decentralized control system as well as the flexible composition of the required machines is solved with the help of multi-agent systems. The application of artificial intelligence is intended to optimize processes across industries and to make them more efficient through the interaction of standardized data. The simulation of different systems in the food and beverage industry aims to increase energy and media efficiency on the one hand, and to enable the virtual commissioning of process engineering plants by means of simulation models on the other.

In addition, the research group deals with the questions of plastic packaging with special functions. Among other things, the development of intelligent sensors and the topic of microplastics play a role here.

The Fraunhofer Research Institution for Casting, Composite and Processing Technology IGCV is an institute for production technology in general. It was founded 2016 and specializes on combining the benefits of ad-vanced casting, composite and processing technology to primarily achieve lightweight products while being energy efficient at the same time. Within the scope of processing technology, the Fraunhofer IGCV focusses on flexible production systems, robotics with focus on CoBots and Digital Engineering, with the aspects of Simulation, Data Analytics, AI and connectivity concepts for the Industrial Internet of things. The IGCV is also involved in several OPC UA activies, especially in terms of creating domain specific data models in form of OPC UA Companion Specifications and also promoting concepts for Cloud2Cloud Connectivity as well as the interaction of OPC UA with Time-sensitive Networking (TSN).