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Semantic Web Systems for Knowledge Based Life Cycle Management of Production Facilities


Objective of this project is to analyze the market potentials of „Semantic-Web-Systems for Knowledge Based Life Cycle Management of Production Facilities (SemSys)”. Focus of the analysis is on the areas of automotive, aerospace and white goods production.
Within this screening project, a scenario analysis will be conducted. Based on the results a technology roadmap for future-robust innovation fields in the SemSys area will be developed.


Within the area of industrial production facilities a high value added is gained by services accompanying lifecycle during the phases design, configuration and installation, operation, adaptation or disposal. Knowledge intensive tasks such as commissioning, maintenance or reuse planning require that the right knowledge is provided at the right time in the right way.  
Many agents and IT-System in different life cycle phases of a production facility have available domain specific information and terminologies. In case such information is needed in a later life cycle phase, it often requires a very high effort to make those understandable and usable.
The existing knowledge base in an organization or a network is constantly changing, e.g. due to the entry or exit of knowledge carriers or acquired experiences. A lot of information is also distributed across time and space and available in different formats and mediums. A plurality of actors and IT-systems from different phases of the life cycle of the production facilities dispose of area specific information and terminologies. Today, if these kinds of information are needed in later phases of the lifecycle, they can often only be made available and understandable with immense efforts. Even though product lifecycle management (PLM) systems are able to manage product information and characteristics, so far, there is no integrated knowledge management for all phases of the life cycle of the production facilities.
Semantic Web Systems (SemSys) represent data with their meaning and their relation to other data in a machine-readable format. Like this, machines are enabled to interpret even very heterogeneous knowledge and information. The potential of SemSys technologies in the area of life cycle management lies in the formal semantic of these technologies, i.e. in the ability to represent relevant knowledge domains and their interrelations by using the first order logic formalisms. It is possible to give precise answers with the help of automatic logic-based reasoning rather than to obtain a plurality of possibly only partially relevant answers.


Today, the industrial application in the mechanical and plant engineering field fails due to a missing systematic analysis of the knowledge domains resp. the time consuming preparation of so called ontologies (information technology based representation of knowledge in a specific field). However, production equipment offers ideal requirements for implementation of SemSys because of their integration in the information technology infrastructure of companies and thus their ability to acquire relevant data automatically.


The potential screening, as the first phase of the project until March 2010, will be elaborated with the strategic planning tool scenario management. Market and product scenarios will be first developed independently and later connected to build a technology roadmap. The scenarios allow the consideration of external, non-influenceable as well as internal, influenceable factors, thus not only a general prognosis will be developed, but several development perspectives will be considered.

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