An International Case Study on Control Software Development in Large-Scale Plant Manufacturing Companies of One Industrial Sector at Different Locations
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Proc. of the 47th Annual Conference of the IEEE Industrial Electronics Society (IECON)
Automated Production Systems (aPS) represent a special type of mechatronic system characterized by a high complexity in hardware and software, lifetimes of up to several decades, and strong coupling of the involved disciplines, i.e., mechanics, electrics/electronics, and control software. Questionnaire studies have proven to be a valuable means of identifying obstacles in industrial software development that hinder the implementation of emerging technologies in the context of Industry 4.0 and, thus, the realization of Cyber-Physical Production Systems. However, the heterogeneity of different industrial sectors in terms of, e.g., the type of production processes or legal specifications, makes it difficult to compare the maturity of control software development across companies, even within the same industry. A software maturity benchmark for companies operating in similar industries is, however, a prerequisite for assessing a company?s strengths and weaknesses and thereby applying tailored solutions to improve the software and, thus, the competitiveness. This paper describes the results of a questionnaire study in two international companies operating in the same industrial sector. Specifically, location-, company-, and industry-specific maturity characteristics are analyzed and discussed, and it is concluded that the selected questionnaire is capable of identifying deviations and similarities in software maturity, even in an international environment, given that the companies are prefiltered based on the covered supply chain step. Hence, assuming a sufficiently large number of participants per industry, it enables a questionnaire-based industry comparison in future work, which was not possible until now.