The Industry 4.0 Framework: Idea, Tool, & Guide (Part 2)

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RAMI 4.0 Model Industry 4.0

The Industry 4.0 Model Framework: Idea, Tool, & Guide (Part 2)

The RAMI 4.0 Model

The Industry 4.0 Model follows the outline structure of the RAMI 4.0 Model. The Reference Architectural Model Industrie 4.0 (RAMI 4.0) was developed in Germany as part of the country’s Plattform Industrie 4.0 initiative. As Industry 4.0 achieved more acceptances throughout Europe and beyond, the need for a clear and consistent vocabulary became increasingly important. The RAMI 4.0 goal was to create a uniform framework for national and international communications and ideas.

Rami 4.0 Structure

Targeting at a collective understanding of Industry 4.0, RAMI 4.0 is an idea map that describes manufacturing processes and production objects in a clear and systematic way. RAMI 4.0 ensure that those involved in discussions of Industry 4.0 will understand one another.

In this model, each production object is defined with its related functions and data. The result is a complete, virtual description of the object. The RAMI 4.0 structure is built on a three-dimensional framework consisting of the Value stream and life Cycle, Hierarchy Levels and Layers.

Industry 4.0 framework RAMI 4.0 model

Three-dimensional RAMI 4.0 framework. Image Source:

Dimension 1: Life cycle and value stream. In RAMI 4.0, each product is described and tracked from the first idea to the scrap yard by Life cycle axis based on IEC62890 standard. First of all, a specific product type consists of an identifier, meta data and associated certificates, while a product instance behaves as the instantiation of a product type, characterised by an instance identifier. Based on this definition, the life cycle of a product will detail the life cycles of both product type and instance. According to Rami 4.0 model, product type life cycle starts from the development phase throughout maintenance & usage stage. On the other hand, the product instance life time model starts from the production phase throughout usage stage which includes commissioning and disassembling or disposal of the instance.

Dimension 2: Hierarchy levels. The foundation of the axis description is IEC62264 and IEC61512 (also well known as ISA95 and ISA-88), representing different functional levels of a factory. To make it easier to talk about complex production processes, engineers and plant managers divide them into several categories:

  • The connected world (new to RAMI 4.0) – visualises and describes the relationship of inter-connected assets, both internally and externally.
  • The enterprise – the meaning in Industry 4.0 goes beyond traditional territory of enterprises, referring to both physical organisations and strategic initiatives or missions.
  • Work centres – highest level of unified manufacturing production line. A good example can be the stamping line for a typical automotive factory.
  • Machines or workstations – refers to the work cells carrying the operations with the resources such as machines, human labours and materials.
  • Control devices – characterized by the typical control systems such as PLC and DCS.
  • Field devices – field level installation such as sensors and actuators
  • Products with expanded scope

Dimension 3: RAMI interoperability layers. This dimension represents different types of data and functions relevant to elements of Dimensions 1 and 2. These data and functions include:

  • Business layer — represents business-related data exchanged in industrial processes. Allowing users to map regulatory and market-related policies, business models, products, and services of market participants. Data in this layer can also represent business capabilities and processes.
  • Functional layer — supports the business layer by providing the runtime and modelling environment.
  • Information layer — describes the data used and exchanged between functions, services, and components. This layer contains the data services such as provisioning and integration. The key value for this layer is its capability of receiving the events from physical asset via lower level layers and applies the adequate processing and transformation to support the upper levels.
  • Communications layer — emphasises protocols and mechanisms for the interoperable exchange of information between components. The outcome is the unified data formats and interfaces that grant the data access, which has been the bottom neck to the Industry 4.0 adoption for long.
  • Integration layer — describes physical assets as their digital equivalents. This layer shoulders the most important responsibility of representing the transition from physical world to the cyber space via various innovative approaches (comparing with traditional integration methodologies) to work on documentation, software, control and monitoring mechanism.
  • Assets layer — identifies and describes the real assets in the physical world.

With precisely defined contexts for Industry 4.0 ideas and production objects, users can work their way through the model knowing that other users have the same information, vocabulary, and contexts.

The RAMI 4.0 Standards

Developing consistency across RAMI users is essential to gain the most from the framework. For this, standards must be developed, adopted, and integrated into systems. In RAMI 4.0 context, there are a few standards that have been leveraged, expanded and presenting integrated value for Industry 4.0 development.

IEC 62264

IEC 62264 showcased in RAMI 4.0 architecture model is a standard for enterprise-control system integration, built on the well-known ANSI/ISA-95. Referenced in Figure: 3-2. ISO/IEC 62264 is an integral part of the RAMI model for Industry 4.0 development and has been singled out as a key standard for the factory of the future initiatives.

The ANSI/ISA-95 (better known as ISA-95) is an international standard developed by the International Society of Automation (ISA). ISA-95 provides standards for the development of automated interfaces between enterprise business and manufacturing control systems.

The ISA-95 framework is used by manufacturers around the world to develop consistent data models and terminology. The primary goal of the standard is to enable smooth information flow across Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), Manufacturing Execution System (MES) and Supervisory Control And Data Acquisition (SCADA) systems. ISA-95 supports interoperability in all industries and to every type of manufacturing process.

ISA-95 provides the concept of modular segments to define any manufacturing task. Where process designers can link several segments into an operation and perform, track, and schedule more complicated tasks. New generations of IIoT solutions and devices are coming to market and playing a larger role in factory operations. Device evolution is expected to flatten the structure of the ISA-95 model further.

IEC 61512:

Good note to be taken is the IEC61512 which is commonly referred to as ISA-88 (IEC-61512-1) addressing batch process control with the description on equipment and procedures.

IEC 62890:

As explained in the reference structure, IEC 62890 represents life-cycle management for the systems and products used in industrial process measurement, control and automation.

Written by Colin Koh, Senior Business Development Manager, Industry 4.0 Consultant. This Industry 4.0 Article Series is aimed to enlightened readers about everything they need to know about Industry 4.0 and its application about technologies and benefits to companies and consumers.

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