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By increasingly networking production processes, the fourth industrial revolution offers numerous advantages. But there is a downside, with numerous new threats emerging due to security loopholes. Only too aware of this issue, the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) is lending its support to IUNO - Germany's national reference project for IT security in Industry 4.0. Over the past three years, the companies participating in the project have identified threats and risks for smart factories, devised protective measures, and successfully implemented four application scenarios centered on secure data, services, processes and networking.

In terms of secure processes, the companies have primarily focused on two risks. Firstly, the threat that hackers pose to production processes and, secondly, the challenge of ensuring a workpiece always follows the right route through manufacturing and can be identified at all times. "The idea is to ensure that alternative routes can be found if a bottleneck occurs in production. This requires 'navigation systems' for workpieces,”" explains Oliver Pütz-Gerbig, Product Manager for RFID & Locating at Balluff GmbH. As part of this project, Balluff teamed up with WIBU Systems, which specializes in protecting and licensing software and documentation, to help the Homag Group, a manufacturer of woodworking machines, to establish secure processes for customized production. By meticulously analyzing each process step within furniture production, the participants were able to derive and superbly implement appropriate protective measures. What's more, the OPC-UA protocol is now used in production with end-to-end encryption to stop would-be spies from stealing or tampering with data, thereby ensuring communication is safe and secure.

Balluf GmbH (73765 Neuhausen, Germany)
Website: www.balluf.com