In the previous article we looked at the organizations “involved” in Industry 4.0, the international approach and the common ground needed for Industry 4.0 to be successful. In this article we look at the international organizations involved in providing the (de facto) standards.


This is needed as all parties need to speak the same language and follow the same (communication) rules. Only this allows correct communication between machines, servers, technical systems etc. To allow better understanding of the level on which the communication is defined, the RAMI (Reference Architecture Model for Industry 4.0) has been defined. This is a a three dimensional graph that takes a little bit of explaining but once understood provides a good understanding of Industry 4.0. 




Alongside international initiatives in the form of partnerships between countries (see above), there is a second important route towards internationalization (where the Platform Industrie 4.0 plays an important role). It is very important that everybody involved, agrees on the approach taken and works towards the same goal (common standards enable international co-operation).


One part of harmonization is to embrace standards that have already been ‘accepted’. There are various forums and consortia that draw up standards or recommendations (de facto standards) and are designated as standards developing organizations.


For example, the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) is an international community where Member organizations, a full-time staff, and the public work together to develop (Internet) Web standards. The National Institute for Testing and Materials (USA) is a well know organization that has developed a wide range of testing methods. Since a lot of these tests are already accepted as a standard, they are very suited to be included in the industry 4.0 development (no need to reinvent the wheel).


An image of the “Bodies and consortia from around the world of relevance to Industrie 4.0” is included below. 


 Figure 1: Bodies and consortia from around the world of relevance to Industrie 4.0 (p18) by Din E.V, 2018. Berlin, Din EV.

Germany takes the lead in the development of Industry 4.0, but other national initiatives are present as well (as shown earlier). Common languages and standardization are of crucial importance for world-wide acceptance of the Industry 4.0 initiatives.


But with so many parties involved, how can we best ensure we all talk about the same things and work on the same strategy. For this reason, the RAMI (Reference Architect Model Industry 4.0) has been defined.



RAMI common ground for standardization

With all the different companies and organizations involved in the development of Industry 4.0 (standards), having common understanding of the ‘scope’ is very important. For this reason, the RAMI (Reference Architectural Model Industry 4.0) has been defined. RAMI 4.0 is a three-dimensional map showing the most important aspects of Industry 4.0 and ensures that all participants involved share a common perspective and develop a common understanding.


Well that sounds easy enough, let’s take a look at the model which is included below. 

0314 RamiFRameWork

Overview of RAMI (framework)


It seems understanding the model proves to be something of a challenge. Let’s break down the various components to explain them a little closer.



Life Cycle Value Stream

On the top of the model we see a reference to the Life Cycle Value Stream (IEC 62890). This standard focuses on the full life cycle of a product, from design to the disposal.


As an example, company A designs and produces a product (e.g. electrical motor) where company B purchases this motor and uses it to build a complete machine (e.g. robot). Company C will then use the robot in an assembly process (e.g. building a car). The Life Cycle Value Stream follows the product (electrical motor) from the design to the assembly process and the stage where will be disposed of. 


Industry 4.0 “follows” the products at all these companies (value stream).


For reference purposes: IEC 62890 is the “Life-cycle management for systems and products used in industrial-process measurement, control and automation”. 


An example of a value stream is shown on the left, an electric motor is produced by company A, where this motor is used by company B to create a fully automated robot system. This in turn is used by company C in the production, together with additional automated robot systems.





Hierarchy Levels

The hierarchy levels shown on the top right of the RAMI includes IEC 62264 and IEC 61512. The first standard deals with collecting and processing data for manufacturing processes. IEC 61512 looks at the production process and how to control and keep track of them. The hierarchy levels in general, deal with information about the production processes and how to control them.


IEC 62264 is an international standard for enterprise-control system integration. This standard is based upon ANSI/ISA-95. The IEC 61512-1:1997 standard is for “Batch control - Part 1: Models and terminology”.


Simply put, the life cycle value stream and hierarchy levels, follow a product through its life cycle (from idea to disposal) and provide means to best control the manufacturing process for this product at the various stages. It is all about controlling the various processes during the life cycle of the product (e.g. reduce waste, avoid incorrect production, etc.).


The next article is availabe as well, dealing with layers and assets (a fundamental concept in Industry 4.0).




(2018) GERMAN STANDARDIZATION ROADMAP, Industrie 4.0. Version 3. Berlin: Din e.V.

(2018) Details of the Asset Administration Shell from idea to implementation. Berlin, Platform Industry 4.0.

(2017) Key lessons from national industry 4.0 policy initiatives in Europe. Digital Transformation Monitor.

(2018) RAMI4.0 - a reference framework for digitalisation. Berlin, Platform Industrie 4.0.

Schweichart, K. Dr. Reference Architectural Model Industrie 4.0 (RAMI 4.0), an introduction. Berlin, Platform Industrie 4.0.

(2018) RAMI4.0 – Details of the Asset Administration Shell, from idea to implementation, Berlin, Platform Industrie 4.0.

Zaheer, M.A., Industry 4.0 Hierarchy Level, November 29. Industry 4.0 Hierarchy Level [Online]. [Accessed 06 July 2020]. Available at

Leeuw, Valentijn, de (2019). Concepts and Applications of the I4.0 Asset Administration Shell. [Accessed 05 July 2020]. Available at,orchestration%20systems%20or%20engineering%20tools.

(2017) Examples of the Asset Administration Shell for Industrie 4.0 Components –Basic Part. Frankfurt am Main, Germany, ZVEI.

Binder, C. (2017). Introduction to the „RAMI 4.0 Toolbox“. Salzburg, Salzburg University of Applied Sciences.

Fraile, F, Sanchis, R, Poler, Raul, Ortiz, A. October 18, 2019. Reference Models for Digital Manufacturing Platforms. Basel, Switzerland, MDPI.

Henning Banthien, "Implementation of an Industry 4.0 Strategy - The German Plattform Industrie 4.0", entry posted 25 January 2017,







The Federation of German Industries (BDI)


Bitkom is Germany’s digital association.


Federal ministry for economical affairs and energy


German Institute for Standardization


Expertise center for electrotechnical standardization in Germany

LNI 4.0

Labs Network Industrie 4.0

SCI 4.0

Standardization Council Industrie 4.0


Small & Medium Enterprises


Platform 4.0

Platform Industry 4.0 is sharing the digital transformation in manufacturing.  As a network from Germany we make change tangible, develop technical foundations and create worldwide impact.


Mechanical Engineering Industry


German Electrical and Electronic Manufacturers' Association

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