Digitalisation Modular Production

Editor: Ahlam Rais

The GEA and Siemens technology group have recently announced their cooperation on a Module Type Package (MTP) digitalisation project. MTPs functionally describe the properties of process modules independent of the manufacturer and technology.

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Siemens and GEA have ambitious plans to make MTP the industry standard.
Siemens and GEA have ambitious plans to make MTP the industry standard.
(Source: GEA)

Using the keyword ‘standardisation,’ the partners are using a Plug & Win separator as an example to demonstrate how the standardised exchange of data between the automation system and the engineering system leads to shorter time to market, greater flexibility, improved product quality and efficiency.

If machines and platforms could speak ‘MTP’

The MTP project adds an important process perspective to the theoretical preparations achieved so far by working groups such as Namur, ZVEI and VDMA. For this, Siemens is providing both a superior process control system and modular automation system, whereas GEA is acting as the practice partner with its outstanding application expertise.

Advantages of standardised industrial communication

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 for alarm handling. According to the company, instead of troubling the customer with a long data exchange list and hardware contact descriptions to integrate the machines into the higher-level system, MTP eliminates the need for a system integrator.

Hence, processes can be changed with little effort, modules can be added or removed, and thus production quantities can be adapted very efficiently. Using MTP, manufacturers can respond to market demands at very short notice, adds the firm.

Flexible process integration for GEA plant engineering

For decades, GEA customers in the chemical and pharmaceutical industries, as well as in food production, have come to expect a high degree of automation, solely due to the requirement for batch traceability. The innovation lies in the seamless process integration into the higher-level control system – despite very different operating philosophies. The company states that depending on plant complexity, the cost of internal project planning and commissioning is often still a significant cost factor for users.

Siemens and GEA also have ambitious plans to make MTP the industry standard.