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At this year's HANNOVER MESSE, seven leading companies in mechanical engineering, industrial automation and software joined forces to form the Open Industry 4.0 Alliance. By coming together, the participants hope to abolish proprietary standalone solutions and thus provide the potentially ultimate impetus for digitizing European industry. Founding members Endress+Hauser, Beckhoff, Hilscher, ifm, KUKA, Multivac and SAP are eager to see all kinds of companies join them in their quest.

Balluff, Gebhardt, Pepperl+Fuchs, Schmidtsche Schack, Samson and WIKA have already registered their interest in coming on board. All members have made a joint commitment to create a standardized open ecosystem for operating highly automated factories and process engineering plants that incorporates logistics and services. "The open architecture of the Open Industry 4.0 Alliance meets all the requirements of the process industry," says Matthias Altendorf, CEO of the Endress+Hauser Group, adding: "It is built on standards, ensures transparency across all business processes and guarantees the integrity of systems, enabling operators of process engineering plants to leverage the potential of Industry 4.0."