IVI Letter Vol.5(English)(2016/12/08)


Industrial Value Chain Reference Architecture (IVRA) has been developed

While the IIRA and RAMI have already been published in the past by the Industrial Internet Consortium, and the Plattform Industrie 4.0, respectively, it was felt that opinions and experiences from the Japanese manufacturing industries deserve to be expressed in terms of an own reference architecture, as a contribution to a truly global view on the most complex topic called Smart Manufacturing. 

The IVRA provides three perspectives to understand manufacturing industry as a whole: The knowledge/engineering flow, the demand/supply flow and hierarchical levels from the device level to the enterprise level. A key element is the introduction of Smart Manufacturing Units (SMUs) in a way that allows to smoothly integrate human beings as elements with their autonomous nature – paying tribute to the fact that it is the human being who discovers a problem, defines a problem, and solves a problem in many cases not only in the past, but also in the foreseeable future.  

Moreover, an approach to build an eco-system for Smart Manufacturing is also proposed.


General Function Block (GFB) for Smart Manufacturing


→You can download the full text from here


From the Editors

This year, IVI developed by size and density its activities including Business Scenario Workgroups, Platform Workgroups as well as establishing international relationships. We would like to continue informing you of our latest news. 

【IVI Publicity Committee】
IVI Newsletter Editors’ Group


IVI Letter Vol.4(English)(2016/06/08)

IVI’s speech at Hannover Messe (Hannover, April 28)

The Hannover Messe, also known as the Hanover Fair, is said to be the world’s largest industry fair, as many cutting-edge industrial technologies and products are presented at the event.  This year’s fair was held at the Hanover Fairground in Germany on April 25 (Monday) to 29 (Friday), 2016, reportedly drawing 190,000 people from across the world.

続きを読む “IVI Letter Vol.4(English)(2016/06/08)”


IVI Letter Vol.3(English)(2016/04/05)

Report of the IVI Spring Symposium 2016

It was still chilly in Tokyo on March 10 when the symposium was held. Receptionists were very busy to receive 450 participants. Pepper, the very special IVI member, also welcomed the participants and softened their heart.

■ Opening speech by Mr Kasutani, METI

Mr. Toshihide Kasutani, Director-General, Manufacturing Industries Bureau, Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, opened the symposium by a guest speech titled “Dealing with the fourth industrial revolution.”


Mr. Toshihide Kasutani,Director-General, Manufacturing Industries Bureau, Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry

■ IoT is not just for large enterprises!

Mr. Kasutani pointed out that political responses in Japan included a programme “Support of SMEs for introduction of the IoT”, and encouraged the audience to be active in this field.

Naturally, in IVI there is a workgroup “Connected small factories” (WG 306). At the symposium, it has been made clear that IoT is not too cumbersome to implement, and can be utilized by organizations other than large enterprises, taking the right approach.

In fact, SMEs have more restrictions than large enterprises. However, IVI is expected to create an IoT model which would make a difference especially for environments with limited resources.

■ What is important in the first place is a connection of people

Different workgroups presented their outcome and findings. Many projects not only were novel by their scope, but also were a first time for many companies to work together, as all projects were having mixed participation from sometimes even competing enterprises.



The presentation of most workgroups ended with a photo of the workgroup’s celebration party. A speaker said a remarkable comment, “Connection of people is as important as the connection of data.”, and similar notes were mentioned by other speakers.  Data sharing may not be effectively realized without communication.  Communication should thus be the first step for “Connectivity.” And the increased cross-communication was clearly felt a one of the outcomes of IVI activities since its inception.

■Feedback from questionnaire

Participants have been asked to fill in a questionnaire before leaving the symposium. Here is some feedback.

To the question “What is an important issue for manufacturing business regarding the IoT?”, many cited a speedy response by the top management, cost-effectiveness in dealing with the IoT, creation of a business model, shortage of IT engineers/in-house human resources/knowledge, and ensuring of security.

To the question asking for “comments on the content of WGs’ presentation and the results of demonstration experiments,” many mentioned easy-to-understand presentation with animation, practical acts (demonstration experiment) instead of a mere theory, and expectation for continuous activities. It was a delight that our activities were highly recognized at this symposium.

To the question asking for “any contributions your organization would be able to make for IVI,” many positive answers were given including: standardization of infrastructure, platform, BOP model, etc.; support for dissemination of the idea and method of IVI throughout Japan; and participation in WGs.

To the question asking for “comments or requests for the existing and future activities of IVI,” several answers were given including: “I hope your growth. Let’s do our best,” “I will participate in your activity,” “I expect that loose standards will be made concrete and published soon,” and “I hope your activity will lead to feedback to SMEs and a utilization system within them.”

■ Conclusion

Many visited the symposium and became aware of the activities of IVI. They also expressed their support through the questionnaire.  We hope that our activities will become known to more people through this kind of symposium and other opportunities.

Reporter: Fumiko Kawagishi

Procedures for “Connectivity” using loose standards

IVI has been working on the development of loose standards in Standard Model Committee, along with the tasks of Business Scenario Workgroups. Reference of activities, information and things has been in preparation to be used when making business scenario.


The presentation described the procedure for the development of business scenario, and introduced the activities conducted in response to business scenario by Activity Reference Model WG, Information Reference Model WG, Thing/Object Reference Model WG and Data Reference Model WG.


Mr. Shinichiro Chino, Mitsubishi Electric,Standard Model Committee

Activity report of 20 WGs

The activity reports of the Business Scenario WGs were displayed at the foyer in front of the lecture hall.

■ Session 1: Advanced quality assurance by connecting data – Toward 0 failure production

The WGs belonging to this area have been trying to link the network of connected factory between equipment, enterprises in a value chain, and enterprises across different value chains. Demonstration experiments made by WGs have shown that various kinds of operational loss could be reduced and that speedy control of a supply chain would be realized. The workgroups covered the following topics:

101 Cloud enabled monitoring platform for global distributed   factories.
402 Global knowledge network for call centers for after service
306 One-stop portal and collaborative quotation management by
connected SMEs
309 Cyber physical production and logistics systems with common
310 Risk management by connected production information in global SCM


Mr.Yasutaka Koga, Toshiba, Session navigator

■ Session 2: Emerging technologies for production line management by IoT

The WGs of this area have made efforts to operate a production line efficiently by effective use of the production data based on the IoT or the cloud environment. The report includes the result of demonstration experiment on data collection of production equipment, monitoring of life, fault prediction, and operational simulation for recovery from a trouble. The workgroups were:

105 Interoperable life cycle management for equipment and production line
106-2a Real-time sensor data analysis by connectable
multi-vendor network
106-3 Cloud based simple monitoring scalable for legacy production
106-2b Preventive maintenance by data pattern recognition and
106-1 Dynamic production optimization by simulation integrated CPPS


Mr.Hirokazu Kominami, Panasonic, Session navigator

■ Session 3: Platform connecting design, manufacturing and customers

The WGs represented in this session aim to construct a platform where the processes making up the whole value chain will be dynamically connected each other. The report includes efforts for changing information and BOP connecting manufacturing and design, MES and supplier linkage connected to procurement, and solution of custom specifications connecting to customers. The workgroups were:

208 Knowledge of bill of production process for E-BOM to M-BOM
108-3 Cyber dashboard for design and engineering of unexpected design change
403 Mass-customization for end users directory connected to factories
207 Agent based location free manufacturing in dynamic supply chain
108-2 Communication robot for autonomous MES connected between factories


Mr.Tomohiko Maeda, Fujitsu, Session navigator

■ Session 4: New era of Human centric manufacturing by IoT
Regarding the Connected Factory, one of the IVI’s themes, cooperation of operation including human resources has been actively debated. In the session 4, the flow of manufacturing and the flow of operation will be connected, from a worksite-oriented, human resources-centered perspective.  The report includes our efforts to innovate operations of line workers, managers, maintenance staff, quality assurance, and production technology. The workgroups in this session were:

204 Robotics line building for SMEs using cloud knowledge database
108-1 Proactive machine communicating with workers in IoT environment
201 Advanced quality assurance by connecting data – Toward 0 failure production
211 New workers’ standard in human/machine co-operative factories
109 Remote service of production engineering by bill of process


Mr.Osamu Horimizu, Hitachi, Session navigator

The activity report of 20 workgroups will be printed in a brochure. It may be given to non-IVI members who need it, if any, at the actual cost of printing.

The brochure will be released in June. Its distribution will be announced on the IVI Newsletter.



Poster session of Business Scenario WGs


The third issue of IVI Newsletter, featuring the symposium held on March 10, has been prepared and distributed so that those who could not participate in the symposium would also be able to share its content and to expand the circle of IVI activities.

Updates of Germany

Dr. Axel H. Saleck, an academic member of IVI living in Germany, introduced updates on Industrie 4.0 from Germany ― motivation, environment, status and trends of Industrie 4.0 ― in a joint session with Mr. Kawano from Beckhoff.

The progress of I4.0, the 2025 vision “Smart Service Welt” , the recent announcement of cooperation between Industrie 4.0 and IIC towards standardization and others were presented.


Dr. Axel H. Saleck



Mr. Toshimitsu Kawano, Beckhoff

IVI’s future task, “IVI Platform Development”

The symposium was concluded by IVI President Yasuyuki Nishioka who spoke about the near-future plan of IVI platform development.

This platform is a system to align related operations and to exchange/transmit necessary data.

In addition, the idea of local seminars/workshops throughout the country was mentioned.


President Yasuyuki Nishioka


Conference on HANNOVER MESSE 2016

IVI President Yasuyuki Nishioka will be a speaker at the HANNOVER MESSE 2016, as part of the Forum “Industrie 4.0 meets the Industrial Internet”.

His speech titled “Industrial Value Chain Initiative (IVI) – A Japanese contribution to smart manufacturing” will be held on Apr. 28th, 11:00 AM – 11:30 AM at Hall 8, Stand D19.

→ Read more


From the Editors

This third issue of IVI Newsletter, featuring the symposium held on March 10,  has been prepared so that those who could not participate in the symposium would also be able to share its content and to expand the circle of IVI activities.

We hope to serve your interest with this newsletter.

【IVI Publication Committee】
IVI Newsletter Editor’s Group


IVI Letter Vol.2(English)(2016/02/24)

Topics from activities of business scenario working groups

In this newsletter, WG105 “Equipment Life Cycle Management” is introduced. Mr Yoshihiko Watanabe of Yazaki Parts Co., the facilitator of this group, was interviewed.

Mr Yoshihiko Watanabe

■About the aim of the working group and expected outcome

Working Group (WG) 105 is headed by Yazaki Parts Co., which manufactures various auto components such as wiring harnesses and connectors.  The subject of WG105 discussions is also one of the most important issues for the manufacturing industry.  WG105 is now making efforts to promote the “equipment life cycle management,” which will help establish the optimal way to control all production phases from the introduction of facilities to their disposal (the introduction phase, growth phase, maturity phase, decline phase and disposal), so that manufacturers can improve the total cost performance throughout their products’ life.

Under the current situation, “operators” that use the equipment, “process designers” that design production processes using the facilities, “equipment manufacturers” and “facility maintenance firms” are working separately from each other.  Because of that, the facilities occasionally break down earlier than their expected life span.  Even regarding anticipated problems, if information is not properly shared, the equipment sometimes has to be suspended due to those issues.  Problems could also occur in association with design specifications for production processes and in relation to uses that are not expected by equipment manufacturers.  By sharing unorganized information and promoting the “equipment life cycle management” to control the entire product flow, companies will become able to monitor the facility life span in real time.

■Reference model and to-be with leveraging IoT

Manufacturers can control the following three activities if deploying general administrators to “manage the equipment life cycle.”

  • Gather and manage information on the equipment life cycle
  • Analyze and estimate the equipment life cycle
  • Make proposals on the equipment life span

“Data on the life span of facilities is traditionally closed and fragmented” in each company (BEFORE IMPROVEMENT).  But if connecting and sharing information that facility “operators,” “process designers,” “equipment manufacturers” and “facility maintenance firms” separately have (AFTER IMPROVEMENT), “the information on the equipment life span will be combined in and outside the companies and the equipment life cycle will become able to be managed in an integrated manner.”

■Challenges and topics of activities

We conduct verification tests by analyzing data gathered on all the equipment.  We need to collect and analyze various long-term information ranging from operation data for equipment to information about the degradation of consumables, the vibrations and the external appearance of facilities (such as stains).  And it is impossible to gather a sufficient amount of data in a limited period of time.  One of the difficulties that we are facing in conducting verification tests is how to compensate for the lack of information.  In addition to those efforts, as part of the working group activity, we are also considering “visualization” methods and means to show the results of data analysis in a way that everyone can understand the findings easily.

■Further activities (and PoC) and requests for support

As for future plans, we are also to conduct verification tests at plants that will be subject to improvement so that we can assess the equipment life span.  At least during this fiscal year ending in March 2016 (fiscal 2015), we have to carry out investigations under limited conditions based on data gathered in a limited period of time.  The more data for verification tests we have, the more accurately we can evaluate the equipment life span.  So we are now engaged in a wide range of efforts so that companies that have such information (or firms that can gather those data) will join and support our activities.

If the equipment life cycle can be monitored in real time, the following three advantages can be obtained: “the life of facilities can be prolonged”; “the life span of production processes can be assessed”; and “equipment costs compared with the life of facilities can be estimated.”  Those advantages would significantly help reduce the downtime to zero and slash product costs arising from equipment-related matters.



IVI discussion

Interviewer: Keiichiro Nabeno

Selection of products and services to support infrastructure facilities

The IVI has Selected wide range of products and services in the following four categories so that we can conduct verification tests without relying on the platforms.  The four categories are as follows: the Internet of Things (IoT); tools used on production sites (to retrieve data); communications services (to transmit data); cloud management (to relay data); and data conversion tools (to convert data).

Twenty-six products and services have been selected from among more than 40 applications we received.

The adopted products and services will be used for verification tests of the working groups and on other occasions.

(1)the Internet of Things (IoT) tools used on production sites (to retrieve data)

No. Product, service Providing company
1 The smart camera SC+A ICT I-Cube Technology co.,ltd.
2 Wireless Data Acquisition System WD PATLITE
3  DataHub(iBRESS) Puerto Co., Ltd.
4 RT-TraceableController Micronet Company
6  ExcelMonitor Puerto Co., Ltd.
7  Marimba M3 / ESP Dragon FIM/Wireless current sensor CiMX Co. Ltd./Avenir, Inc./Tokyo Electric Power Company, Inc.
9  Facteye Computer Engineering & Consulting, Ltd.

(2)communications services (to transmit data)

No Product, service Providing company
3 DeviceXPlorer OPC Server
DeviceXPlorer Data Logger

(3)cloud management (to relay data)

No Product, service Providing company
2 Logistics Visualization System Toshiba Logistics Corporation
3  IFS for MES NEC Corporation
4  NEC Cloud IaaS for Industrial IoT NEC Corporation
5  kintone Cybozu, Inc.

(4)data conversion tools (to convert data)

No Product, service Providing company
4  Contexer ApstoWeb Ltd.
5  MCFrame PLM / EM-Bridge Toyo Business Engineering Corporation. (B-EN-G)
6 DataSpider Servista APPRESSO K.K
7 PLM Solution “Obbligato for SaaS” NEC Corporation
8  FTCP Remote Desktop Fujitsu Limited

The IVI public symposium 2016 – Spring -Open the future of Japan’s manufacturing industry

It is important to us to report on the findings of verification tests and the activities of our 20 business scenario working groups, as well as other efforts that we made over the six or so months.  For that purpose,

“The IVI public symposium 2016 – Spring - Open the future of Japan’s manufacturing industry”

will be held on March 10th at the TORANOMON HILLS(Tokyo).

It is an open event – also non-IVI members are welcome to attend the symposium.

We recommend you do not miss this great opportunity.  We look forward to seeing you at the symposium!  And if you can’t come, you still can find some information on this website after the event.

Robot revolution International Symposium in Tokyo

IVI President Yasuyuki Nishioka participated in a panel discussion in at the Robot revolution International Symposium held by the Robot Revolution Initiative in Japan on Feb 15.

International Symposium held by the Robot Revolution Initiative in Japan on Feb 15.

He was moderator of the panel discussion about“Collaboration for Manufacturing Business Reformation by IoT”. At the panel discussion, Mr Kiyoshi Mizukami, Robot Revolution Initiative C0-Chief, Mr Masayuki Yamamoto, Robot Revolution Initiative C0-Chief, Mr Kazunori Iwasa, Member of Industrial Internet Consortium, Mr. Jeff G Fedders, Director Industrial Internet Consortium, Mr. Henning Banthien, Secretary General Plattform Industrie 4.0, and Mr. Heinrich Munz, Deputy Chairman of the Working Group 1 of the Plattform Industrie 4.0.

It was expressed that they would be able to work together in the field of IoT manufacturing industry   looking to the future.


Mr Kiyoshi Mizukami (The Robot revolution Initiative C0-Chief, Hitachi, Ltd.),Prof Nishioka (IVI), Mr. Jeff G Fedders(Director of Industrial Internet Consortium),Mr. Henning Banthien(Secretary General Plattform Industrie 4.0),Mr Kazunori Iwasa(Member of Industrial Internet Consortium,Fujitsu Limited), Mr. Heinrich Munz(Lead Architect Industry 4.0, KUKA),Mr Masayuki Yamamoto(The Robot revolution Initiative C0-Chief , Mitsubishi Electric Corporation)

Hatsuko Kouroku


From the Editors

From now, on, we will publish this IVI newsletter regularily also in English, in response to an increasing interest of an international audience.

We hope to serve your interest with this newsletter.

【IVI Publication Committee】
IVI Newsletter Editor’s Group


IVI Letter Vol.1(English)(2016/01/16)

 New year greetings

A belated happy new year! 2016 is the memorial first year of “Connected Factory.” When IVI was launched in June last year, Industrie 4.0 in Germany and IIC in the US were mentioned everywhere by everybody, while from Japan, no comparable contribution was discussed in the global arena. Now, IVI is working on contributions out of Japan. Our approach to connected digital manufacturing pays tribute to the advancements that Japan has already made to date, while at the same time exploring where changes are needed moving forward, in a global picture. The biggest difference from last year is that we have a clearer picture about the way forward – we understand more about what should be changed and what should be kept.

A new era is emerging, in which business is only possible in a connected fashion, and the best preparation is a bold move to open systems. But this needs to be done also in a way that competitive advantages can be encapsulated in order to protect and further strengthen unique assets of a company. It is also necessary to proceed with “loose standardization” which is inevitable to design the boundaries of the systems. The intelligent shop floor workers (gemba), which has been an important strength in Japanese manufacturing, can grow further with leveraging data collected with IoT and incorporating the power of software. It enables systems to be autonomous and distributed while aiming at the total optimization.

Welcome to the world of  Connected Manufacturing!

Yasuyuki Nishioka, President, IVI

Topics from activities of business scenario working groups

Currently, 19 business scenario working groups (WGs) are active in IVI. In each IVI newsletter, one business scenario working group will be featured.

In this first newsletter, WG 108-2 “Autonomous MES integrating beyond corporate boundaries” is introduced. Mr Keisuke Oshima of Kojima Press, the facilitator of this group, was interviewed.

Mr Keisuke Oshima

■Please explain activities of the working group and expected outcome.

At WG108-2, our activity is about how to share MES (Manufacturing Execution System) data among multiple companies.

In the automotive and machine tool industry, at large companies, EDI and MES systems have been introduced for the production of management in the factory. However, these systems have different specifications for each company. They don’t share MES data from a factory / production across companies. Therefore, when e.g. a problem occurs at small and midsize suppliers, workers often have to collect information by telephone and e-mail.

In our workgroup, we want to realize „connected manufacturing“. This means we are sharing a process among multiple plants to produce a product, and for this, we will share the respective MES data. We are establishing a standard reference model that allows change of production planning (production instruction MES) corresponding to quick alert at the time of trouble (facility monitoring MES).

We expect that information sharing between factories/enterprises will greatly contribute to an increase of production efficiency and a reduction of lead time.

■ Please explain the aspiration of the reference model leveraging IoT.

To prepare for processes divided over different companies,and to be able to deal quickly when trouble occurs, we need to establish a „loose standard model“ for the status of MES data and the factories in real time.

There are four topics.

a) Production instruction MES beyond the company: Timely production instructions from suppliers to ordering companies

b) Facility monitoring MES beyond the company: Analysis and timely notification or more orders companies to order companies

c) Golden flow with suppliers: WIN-WIN deal for ordering companies and suppliers (“IVI Smart Contract”)

d) Robot utilization in the factory: Investigating the use of a general-purpose humanoid robot to help in information sharing

First, we are performing a cleansing of the MES data to be shared for a) and b), this yields the required minimum of data to be shared. Additionally, we investigate whether one can not take advantage of the inexpensive general-purpose humanoid Softbank robot „Pepper“ as an information interface in the factory. Finally, we also plan to work out conditions of a trading agreement model for performing that new type of cooperation between companies.

It has proven to be an advantage that in an early stage the WG members could share factory tours of the two companies involved (Kojima Press Kurozasa plant and Maruwa electrochemical headquarters plant) and therefore could share a concrete image. A high frequency of ad-hoc meetings (2-4 times per month) has helped to reduce the information gap between members and to ensure the progress. A certain challenge is if somebody can’t attend in ad-hoc meetings, for time and/or physical distance, as the participating locations are not close (Tokyo and Nagoya).

Which further steps are you working on?

Going forward, we are preparing demonstration experiments for topics “a) production instruction MES in excess of the company” and “b) facility monitoring MES beyond the enterprise.” In February 2016, we are going to carry out the first round of the demonstration experiment. In addition, for topic „d) robot utilization in the factory”, we are going to create a demonstration involving Pepper. We have 5 units at Kojima Press. We will develop our own application program for Pepper to support factory work.
Pepper has been registered as an active member of WG108-2. He is also a member of the working group, playing a role as a presenter of IVI inside and outside.

In the activity report at our major IVI event on March 10, our workgroup’s report is going to be presented by Pepper.



Factory tour (October 2, 2015)

Interviewer: Keiichiro Nabeno

Innovative ICT Seminar 2015 at Swedish Embassy in Tokyo

IVI has meanwhile drawn overseas attention, a number of  requests for interviews and lectures from a variety of countries have come to IVI recently.

IVI President Yasuyuki Nishioka was invited on stage to a panel discussion in Innovative ICT seminar 2015 held by the Swedish embassy in Japan on Nov 26, in the presence of Mikael Damberg, Swedish Minister for Enterprise and Innovation, and representatives of leading Swedish enterprises. It was also an opportunity for the Swedish participants interested in digital manufacturing to exchange opinions with IVI member companies.
At the panel discussion, Prof Nishioka, President of IVI, Mr Kazuhiro Hosoi of Fujitsu Research Institute , and Ms Bodil Rosvall Jönsson of Skåne were on stage. Mr. Nishioka talked about the IVI setup and the use of IoT for manufacturing.


Panel discussion


Mr Hosoi Kazuhiro (Fujitsu Research Institute), Prof Nishioka (IVI),  Ms. Bodil Rosvall Jönsson (Skåne)

The reception after the seminar began with greetings by Mikael Damberg, Swedish Minister for Enterprise and Innovation, and Magnus Robach, Swedish ambassador to Japan. Delicious Swedish food and drinks were also served. As Sweden has also set an emphasis on IoT manufacturing, IVI and its activities received great interest.


Swedish Minister Mikael Damberg speaking at the reception, 2nd from left: IVI President Yasuyuki Nishioka

At the reception, Volvo and other Swedish enterprises also exchanged views with people of IVI member companies participating in the seminar.

Hatsuko Kouroku

Visit of Dr Thomas Uslaender (Fraunhofer IOSB) to IVI

On November 16th, Dr Thomas Uslaender, head of department “Information Management and Production Control” at the Fraunhofer IOSB Institute at Karlsruhe, Germany, visited the head of the IVI, Prof. Nishioka, at Hosei University in Tokyo. In a very friendly atmosphere, both shared news on the status of Industrie 4.0 in Germany and the Industrial Value Chain Initiative in Japan.

Topic was mainly the Reference Architecture Model Industry 4.0 and related standardization activities, as well as the IVI concept of a reference model based on a “loose standard”, an IVI keyword. Both explored possibilities of near-future collaborations around these matters. Outcomes of the relationship started by this fruitful discussion are expected to become visible in 2016.


Dr Uslaender (centre left) also gave a lecture to students at Hosei University. Centre right: Prof Nishioka; centre rear: the author

External link: “Information Management and Production Control” at the Fraunhofer IOSB  

Axel H Saleck

From the Editors

From now, on, we will publish this IVI newsletter regularily also in English, in response to an increasing interest of an international audience.

We hope to serve your interest with this newsletter.


【IVI Publication Committee】
IVI Newsletter Editor’s Group