Terminology regarding Industry 4.0 (glossary of the VDI GMA technical committee 7.21 »Industry 4.0«)

The VDI GMA technical committee 7.21 »Industry 4.0«, under the direction of Prof. Dr.-Ing. Ulrich Epple from the RWTH Aachen, is working on a basis for the understanding of the standard terminologies, reference models and architectural concepts for Industry 4.0.

This is happening on the basis and for further devolpment of the existing standardization in the area.

Within Industry 4.0 the languages of production and information and communication technology (ICT) are growing together. There are however differences and unclarities regarding the terminlogies of Industry 4.0 which have historical reasons. The workgroup »Terminology« under the direction of Mrs. Dr.-Ing. Miriam Schleipen from the Fraunhofer IOSB is working on a common »basis« (terminology) of Industry 4.0 in terms of linguistic and mental contructs. Existing norms and standards of the areas of ICT and production are the base for these constructs.

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I4.0 Component

Globally uniquely identifiable participant with communication capability consisting of administration shell and asset (corresponds to CP24, CP34 or CP44) within an I4.0 system which there offers services with defined QoS (quality of service) characteristics. 

Note 1: For its services and data, the I4.0 component offers protection commensurate with the task. 

Note 2: An I4.0 component can represent a production system, a single machine or station, or even an assembly within a machine.

I4.0 Platform

Implementation of a (standardized) communication and system infrastructure with the necessary management and production services and defined QoS (quality of service) characteristics as a basis for the efficient construction and integration of I4.0 systems in an application domain.

Note 1: To ensure interoperability, an I4.0 platform must be based on a reference architecture.

Note 2: An I4.0 platform must define a relation to the I4.0 system.

I4.0 System

System, consisting of I4.0 components and components of a lower CP classification, which serves a specific purpose, has defined properties, and supports standardized services and states.

Note 1: A system may be present as a component in a further I4.0 system.

Note 2: An I4.0 system must define a relation to the I4.0 platform.


Defined connection point of a functional unit which can be connected to other functional units.

Note 1: “Defined” means that the requirements and the assured properties of this connection point are described.

Note 2: The connection between the interfaces of function units is also called an interface.

Note 3: In an information system, the defined exchange of information takes place at this point.

Note 4: Interface places certain requirements on the connection that is to be made.

Note 5: Interface demands certain features.