Frank Scherenschlich is not only active as an IT service provider for his customers, but also as the head of various Expert Groups such as "Semifinished product", "Auxiliary supply, additive, cleaning agent" and "Public safety and military technology". He also supports a number of other Expert Groups in their work, such as "Sensors" or "Medical Devices".
Question: Frank, you are very closely involved in the further development of the ECLASS Standard. Why is this task so important?
Answer: Markets and products are constantly evolving. Global topics such as digitalization and digital transformation also require more and better standardized data. To ensure that ECLASS meets the requirements of the market and is always up-to-date, we are constantly developing the standard together with experts from industry and trade.
Question: The current ECLASS Release 14.0 includes more than 100.000 change requests for the further development of the standard - many of them from the fields of sensor technology and semi-finished products. How is a change request usually created?
Answer: The technical elaboration usually takes place in Expert Groups in which experts from different companies contribute their knowledge. This is where "worlds often collide", but there are always goal-oriented discussions that lead to a qualified result. However, there are also companies that want to use and further develop ECLASS and therefore provide their input. Then comes the second step, the integration of the change requests into the standard. This is done via the Content Development Platform (CDP), which is either filled in directly or often using an Excel form. The process for submitting and checking change requests is explained on the ECLASS website.
Question: The Expert Groups usually work in German and/or English. What about the translations of the ECLASS content?
Answer: That is correct. Change requests are submitted in German and English. Starting with Release 14.0, the new content will then be translated directly into 15 other languages for the first time and made available to users.
Question: Why is the field of sensor technology in particular so important for companies?
Answer: Sensors of all kinds play an important role in automation. Almost all automation technology applications use sensors. Sensors have become an integral part of mechanical and plant engineering and represent a very important basic component.
Question: The new Release 14.0 again contains important content for Industry 4.0 applications. What exactly is this content?
Answer: With Release 14.0, we are again providing four new submodels for the Asset Administration Shell. The "Technical Data" submodel, or more precisely the "Generic Frame for Technical Data for Industrial Equipment in Manufacturing", enables the product-related provision of article data, i.e. the transfer of classification and properties. This submodel is therefore a very important one for ECLASS. I have taken on the further development of this submodel in collaboration with IDTA in order to make optimum use of the synergies between the two worlds. This submodel enables manufacturing companies to easily transfer their existing ECLASS product descriptions into the Asset Administration Shell.
Question: Finally, an outlook: Is there already a plan for what enhancements can be expected in the next release?
Answer: Basically, we want to make more languages available in ECLASS Release 15.0 and expand the synergies with IDTA in a meaningful way. But the content of the various segments will also be developed further. In sensor and fluid technology, a grouping and thus structuring of the properties is planned, i.e. a step further in ECLASS Advanced (block formation), which can also be used as added value in ECLASS Basic. In other segments, this is also associated with the usual prioritization of properties in a class. And there will probably be many new areas that we are not thinking about at the moment, but which will again offer great added value for ECLASS users.
ECLASS Release 14.0 will provide full translations in 15 of the 17 languages available in ECLASS, reaching a new level in standardization. The subsequent Release 15.0, which will be published at the end of 2024, should already contain all EU languages available via DEEPL.
Building Information Modeling (BIM) offers many opportunities for process optimization. The ECLASS e.V. has actively focused on the developments in the building industry for some years now and has identified potential partners with whom the ECLASS Standard has now been jointly extended in accordance to the requirements of the building industry.