In keeping with the current trend of high-profile partnerships in the IoT space, Intel Japan, Mitsubishi Electric and Hitachi have announced the approval of a factory automation platform as a service (FA PaaS) testbed to facilitate the integration of Internet of Things (IoT) systems to connect manufacturing sites and head offices for strengthened operations.

The FA PaaS testbed, which is under joint development by Mitsubishi Electric, Hitachi, Ltd. and Intel Corporation, has been approved by the Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC) in the United States.

The IIC is an open-membership, international not-for-profit consortium that is leading the establishment of architectural frameworks and overall directions for the Industrial Internet.

Target areas include the globalization of supply chains and improved production quality, delivery time and productivity when responding to sudden changes in markets, according to Mitsubishi.

The testbed will help Mitsubishi Electric, Hitachi and Intel establish an open interface platform that integrates factory automation (FA) and information systems (IT) seamlessly by June of 2017, said Mitsubishi.

Mitsubishi Electric will develop FA edge devices, applications and other FA-related products such as programmable controllers and drive units in order to leverage its e-F@ctory IoT concept, while Hitachi and Intel will handle IT-related products, such as IoT gateways and cloud systems.

After verifying the security of FA-IT interface platform connections and the flow of operational data, the testbed platform will be offered to IIC member companies and potential users to help facilitate their development of FA applications.

In addition, Mitsubishi Electric plans to collaborate with Hitachi and other companies to investigate how critical data can be extracted from mass amounts of on-site data available on shop floors.