Criteria for Industrie 4.0 Products

Author photo: Fabian Wanke
ByFabian Wanke
Industry Trends
Last year, the German Electrical and Electronic Manufacturers' Association (ZVEI), published a guideline for general and manufacturer-independent criteria for Industrie 4.0 products.

The reference architecture model Industrie 4.0 (RAMI 4.0) was developed as part of the standardization work and represents the entire solution space for Industrie 4.0. In RAMI 4.0, technical standards are located along the three axes "Architecture Layer", "Lifecycle & Value Stream", and "Functional Hierarchy". Corresponding work is currently taking place in the various Industrie 4.0 committees.

A second reference model called "Industrie 4.0 component" has also been published. This model describes how an Industrie 4.0 product is embedded in an Industrie 4.0 network. An administration shell with corresponding Industrie 4.0 communication is necessary. This means that the product is always an Industrie 4.0 component, consisting of an "asset" and an "administration shell". Both reference models impose requirements and are the starting point for the derivation of the criteria for Industrie 4.0 products. Criteria were selected which would lead to serious changes or which are a prerequisite for Industrie 4.0.

Sellers in the market use these criteria to decide which products can be labeled as Industrie 4.0-capable. At the same time, companies can use these criteria as a guide for product development. For customers, the ZVEI definition provides clarity about the performance and features that Industrie 4.0 products should have. "Product Characteristics 2017" describes the minimum properties or characteristics that a product available today must have to meet the criteria for Industrie 4.0 products.

Principles for the definition of criteria for Industrie 4.0 products

Self-examination: Each company or organization shall check and control, based on the criteria for 4.0 products, whether their own products meet the characteristics or not. They are also responsible for developing any missing requirements for their products. No certification is required for self-examination.

Simplicity:  The criteria for industrial 4.0 products and their product characteristics should be presented as simply as possible, so that any company or organization can apply them without the help of third parties.

Own label instead of general label: There is no general label associated with the criteria for industrial 4.0 products and the necessary product characteristics. Each company or organization can use its own label, reference it to the criteria, and refer customers to the criteria. Conversely, customers can actively ask if a company label meets the criteria for industrial 4.0 products.

Free use:  It is up to each company and organization to publicly use the criteria for industrial 4.0 products and their product characteristics. They can be used, for example, in product catalogs, at trade fairs or for advertising. Public use is explicit asked for; it also contributes to the deployment of the criteria for industrial 4.0 products.

Free of charge and for everyone:  The use of the criteria for industrial 4.0 products and their product characteristics is free of charge for companies and organizations. Anyone can use it for their products.

Executing associations and organizations: A vendor-independent entity defines the criteria for industrial 4.0 products in a solid and transparent process and publishes them. This ensures that the criteria for industrial 4.0 products are generally valid and that the correct and necessary technical product characteristics are used. A change to the established criteria for industrial 4.0 products is only possible via this entity.

The seven criteria, requirements and product characteristics

The following table provides an overview and does not contain the complete/detailed requirements and product properties.

Criteria Requirements Product Characteristics
1 Identification Manufacturer - specific identification with clear/definite Identifier (ID) on the product, electronically readable.

Identification in:

1) Development

2) Goods traffic (logistics), production

3) Sales, service, marketing

4) Network
For 1) Material number (electronic) according to ISO 29002-5 or URI
For 2) serial number or unique IDFor 3) manufacturer + serial number or unique IDWith 2) and 3) electronically readable, physical products via 2D code or RFID

For 4) identification via IP network
2 Industry 4.0 communication Transmission of data of the product for e.g. design or simulation

Product is accessible via network, supplies and accepts data, plug & produce via industry 4.0 compliant services
Manufacturer makes customer-relevant data with the help of the identification digitally online available
3 Industry 4.0

Cross-manufacturer definite identification of standardized data in form characteristics with syntax for eg:

1) Commercial data

2) Catalog data

3) Technical data: mechanics, electrical, functionality, location, performance

4) Dynamic data

5) Data on the CV of the product body
Catalog data available online


Catalog data and data on the lifecycle of the product instance are available online
4 Virtual description Virtual image in industrial 4.0-compliant semantics, virtual image over the entire life cycle.

Characteristic features of the real component, information about the relationships of the features among each other, production and production process-relevant relationships between industrial 4.0 components, formal description of relevant functions of the real component and its processes
Customer-relevant information can be retrieved digitally by the type identification (product description, catalog, image, technical features, data sheet, security properties, etc.)


Digital contact to service and information about product support, including spare parts information, is possible from the field
5 Industry 4.0 services and states Definition still open (service system)

General interface for rechargeable services and status reporting. Necessary basic services, which must support and provide an industrial 4.0 product.
Description of the device interface digitally available

Information such as states, error messages, warnings, etc., according to an industry model via OPC UA information model
6 Standard functions Basic standardized functions which are independent of the manufacturer run on different products and supply same data in same functions. They serve as the basis for the functionality on which each manufacturer can build his own extensions. not defined
7 Security Minimum requirements for ensuring security functionality. A threat analysis was realized. Appropriate security capabilities have been considered and are publicly documented.

Existing security abilities are documented.

Accordingly, secure identities are available.


Unfortunately, only a German version is currently available. An English version of the paper is being worked on. For the German version click here:

If you want to find out more information, please contact your ARC client manager or visit the platform Industrie 4.0 or the ZVEI website.

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