In the previous article we introduced the RAMI (Reference Architecture Model Industry 4.0). The purpose of RAMI 4.0 first and foremost is to ensure that all participants in Industry 4.0 discussions have a common understanding of what Industry 4.0 entails, the function of each element, and the interfaces between them.


Since the model may be a little hard to under stand we deal with the various aspects in these articles. Life Stream and Hierarchy levels were deal with in the previous article. These standards basically mean that a product is ‘followed’ from the idea to the disposal (so at all companies that develop and use the product). The hierarchy level deals with the control over production processes.


So “following” a product is important. But how can we track the products and add information to it? Here we need information protocols. This is what is mainly described in the layers of RAMI.


The RAMI is included below with its various components:

0314 RamiFRameWork



 The layers section, (located on the left of the RAMI) describes the various levels of communication and information. This part of the RAMI basically deals with the means to make sharing of information possible (at any point in the product life cycle).


It is important that a e.g. a common language is used to allow correct communication at any point. It is also important to use a uniform (same) method to store and access data (by all parties involved).


Layers in RAMI


The layers overview starts (at the bottom) with an interesting aspect which is the “Asset”. When looking at the DIN SPEC 91345, an asset is defined as:


….” Anything that holds value to an organization” ....


This is true but perhaps a little hard to understand at first. It may include physical objects such as robots, valves, guiding systems but may also include nonphysical items such as documents, ideas and even human beings. This may appear strange at first but taking the life cycle into consideration it may become more clear. We follow the “asset” through its life cycle from the idea to its disposal.


All assets will get a virtual representation (e.g. description of the characteristics and behavior) in the digital world. So, everything becomes available in a digital form (this is a fundamental principle of Industry 4.0).


A common language and standardization are really important to accurately describe an object (e.g. EC 61360, ISO 13584-42). If a standardized way is used to describe an object, all parties (supplier and customers) can add information in a standardized way. The transition from the physical world to the information world is described in the integration stage.


Integration (layer) is the transformation from the real work into the digital world. A standardized way is available to describe an asset and ‘include’ it in a digital form.


The communication layer is responsible for the standardized communication between the Integration and Information layer. This layer ensures the communication is done using the same common “language” (e.g. everyone speaks English).


We have the communication going, now we would like to organize the data in a structured manner (so we know where it and we access it / store to it). This is what the information layer is used for, it holds the data in a structured and integrated form.


In the functional layer the (logical) functions of an asset are described (with regards to its role in the industry 4.0 system). This may relate to the control aspect of a process. In this layer, actions such as “How to reduce painting time”, “How to avoid thick paint layers”, can be described. This allows to re-use and combine functions (see also Industry 4.0 “Hierarchy levels”).


The business layer describes the commercial and business views. It may include pricing information, availability of resources, modeling rules that the I4.0 system must follow but also provides rules for the legal and regulatory conditions and the links between different business processes available.


Simply put, everything is described in a structured digital way, and we know the methods to retrieve and store data and we know how to control and run the processes based on this data.


We may now also want to know how to retrieve the actual (production) data and perhaps share this. This is where the hierarchy levels come into view.


The next article about "getting the data" is available.




(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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