ZF and R&D. Open Manufacturing Platform

ZF and R&D, two acronyms that work well together. Let’s start with what’s happening in Germany, where ZF is joining the Open Manufacturing Platform (OMP), with was announced in 2019 by the BMW Group and Microsoft. You can’t talk about R&D without talking about IoT and AI. But what is it? The OMP technology framework and community are designed to nurture the development of smart-factory solutions across the sector.

ZF is new member of the Open Manufacturing Platform. The initiative enables faster and more cost effective innovations in the manufacturing industry.


We report the full passage of the ZF press release. “Seamless data sharing is still a vision, since many data sources first need to be connected and interlinked within a company, and then extended to partners and external entities. ZF is working actively in improving Industry 4.0 maturity towards smart factories, one major aspect is the seamless data integration via open and interoperable platforms and processes. The OMP aims to provide community members with a reference architecture with open source components based on open industrial standards. The approach is designed to standardize industrial data models to accelerate analytics and machine learning scenarios by unlocking the access to data that used to be stored in proprietary systems. The OMP will be compatible with existing Industry 4.0 reference architecture, leveraging the industrial interoperability standard OPC UA. The community members retain full control over their data. «The OMP is a key-enabler for us at ZF to further develop our digital manufacturing capabilities to cover current and future requirements to reach the next level of I4.0 maturity,» says Dr. Jürgen Sturm, Head of IT at ZF. The OMP addresses the needs of the entire industry – for instance with regard to data connection of machines and systems or system integration. This means that manufacturers, suppliers, and their partner companies do not need to build new software from scratch but can build on existing components. One example is the integration of functions with which autonomous transport systems can be coordinated regardless of the manufacturer”.

ZF Employee China 2015

ZF and R&D. The research and development center in Guangzhou

And now, we move to China, where established the third Chinese research and development center in Guangzhou, southern China, added to the other two R&D centers in Shanghai. «The decision to build a third development center in China is of great importance and confirms ZF’s strategic goal of further expansion in the largest global automotive market,» says Dr. Holger Klein, member of ZF’s Board of Management and responsible for the Asia-Pacific region. «The new center will develop key technologies and system solutions for ZF that we can also use in other market regions.»


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