Plug & Produce

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The research activity on Plug&Produce (PnP) refers to the automation of the integration of field devices in process engineering plants during operation.

Plug and Play has been a widely used technique in computer technology for decades. However, a spread of equivalent techniques in process automation has never seen a breakthrough. Technical implementations by individual manufacturers exist, but an independent and general concept is lacking. On the one hand, this is due to the increased requirements for availability and safety. On the other hand, the configuration of the devices is strongly dependent on the intended use.

In process control engineering, planning based on functional units is common. These are generally called (device) roles. Especially with regard to actuators and sensors, the term "PCT stations" is commonly used. These roles must be realized by field devices. The roles place requirements on the properties and configuration of the field devices, which must be fulfilled by assurances on the part of the devices. The assurances can be divided into static properties, depending on the field device type, and dynamic settings, in the form of configuration.

With the help of concepts and semantic descriptions from the Industry 4.0 environment, the manufacturer-independent, automatic implementation of an alignment with subsequent integration of the field device into the automation system is being investigated. Procedures are implemented in the PnP system for this purpose. The necessary changes are implemented via manager instances in the automation and communication system so that the functions of the field device are available to the automation system via the communication system after the successfully completed PnP process.