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We are at a very interesting period of time where we are witnessing the 4th industrial revolution. We are moving away from manufacturing factories dependent on automation, computers and robots to smart factories with autonomous systems, IoT and machine learning.

In this revolution SAP's Strategy goes beyond smart factories. It is to connect production with end-to-end process execution across the supply chain.


One of the pieces of this story is to have Intelligent Assets. This is where SAP Asset Intelligence Network plays a key role to enable this scope of Industry 4.0 by providing a platform for effective collaboration between asset manufacturers, service providers, and other stakeholders on asset definition, installation, usage, performance, service and maintenance. It is an asset business network that enables the next generation of Intelligent Assets.

To elaborate a bit more on this point SAP Asset Intelligence Network enables business partners to collaborate on a common digital twin across asset life-cycle, resulting in optimal maintenance processes, better asset performance, operational costs reduction and safer operations.


A comprehensive asset taxonomy is a critical element for asset data integrity. AIN supports multiple industry standards to enable customers maintain the right taxonomy for their assets in order to increase the efficiency of maintenance and operation.

The cornerstone for Industry 4.0 success is to have Open standards. This will reduce integration costs, ease adoption, and facilitate interoperability between multiple vendors. In order to increase the adoption we are enabling product classification standards such as eCl@ss and Asset Administration Shell in AIN to support seamless exchange of asset information across the network.

As a preparatory step, since the past two releases we have been working on developing new asset classification modelling capabilities in order to support these product standards.Here is a simple example of what kind of asset classification information could be expected to be uploaded into AIN.

Hierarchal asset information modelling

Let me share what were some of the key requirements of these product classification standards and how we realised them :-

  • Assignment of Attributes and Indicators and a mix of both directly to a Template.

    • AML and AAS Standards support the assignment of Properties(Attributes/Indicator) to a Sub model (Equipment Template/Model Template).

We have introduced a new Template object called Nested Structures which supports

  • A data model that can comprise of child attributes, indicators, or nested structures.

Nested Structures

  • Provide a unique name for the association between any objects.

    • When an Attribute/Indicator is associated with a Template or a Nested Structure during the metadata creation, it should be possible to give a unique name to the association.

    • Possibility of giving the unique association name should be there when a Nested Structure is associated with another Nested Structure

    • The name should be unique only in the context of that association. This means that the same name can be used within a sibling/parent/child structure in the same metadata hierarchy(Template → Nested Structure → Nested Structure → Attribute, Indicator)

    • This will let the user define the Attribute, Indicator or Nested Structure once and reuse it with different names in a different context.

We support complex data modelling of assets by introducing multiple cardinality with name association.

Named Association

Assignment of Nested Structures to Equipment or Model Templates


  • Assignment of Nested Structures to an Equipment or a Model

Nested structures could now be assigned to Equipment and Models by assigning them to their respective templates.

Equipment Attribute List

Equipment Indicator List

    • Semantic IDs and Industry Standards for each object.

      • An Object like Template, Model, AttributeGroup, Document, Indicator, or Attribute should have a semantic.

      • A semantic is an identifier that references a description of this object provided by a repository like ecl@ss or IEC CDD. the id is often an IRDI or a URI. 

      • The industry standard field today consists of an ENUM of the standard and the id. The Enum should be editable and new standards like aasaml or opc-ua companion specification should be supported.

      • AAS definition of semanticId "Identifier of the semantic definition of the element. It is called semantic id of the element."[source] 

      • AML definition "For the representation of attribute semantics, the RefSemantic sub-attribute of an attribute object can be used. It is given for each AutomationML attribute."[source]

    We have implemented the following improvements

    • New section on Template objects that can be used to enter an additional reference to other objects (e.g. a similar object in another industry standard).

    • This semantic reference is a text field (with special characters allowed) that can be maintained via API or UI.

    • The semantic reference gets shared together with its parent Template object, but it can only be edited or deleted by its owner.

    • Nested structure can be configured with Industry Standard meta data either while creating the object or update.

    • It is also possible to filter the Nested Structures based on Industry Standard on list page.

    Semantic Reference ID for Nested Structures

    Industry Standard for Nested Structures


    Detailed information could be found in the following link.

    The above summarizes the key innovations for enablement of Intelligent Assets for Industry 4.0 ,We hope you enjoy the new capabilities .Thanks for reading the blog post and Stay tuned! To learn more about SAP Asset Intelligence Network visit asset-intelligence-network

    For further questions and feedback related to the blog, please check the Q&A area and feel free to post your questions in the link with the tag SAP Asset Intelligence Network.