After VW and Amazon Web Services (AWS) said yesterday (28 March) they would develop the Volkswagen Industrial Cloud together and had agreed a multi-year, global deal to jointly carry out the project, VW said on Friday Siemens was joining as an integration partner.

The automaker said Siemens would play a key role in ensuring that machinery and equipment of different manufacturers at the 122 Volkswagen plants were networked efficiently in the cloud.

The resulting data transparency and analysis would lay the technological foundation for further productivity improvements at the plants.

Siemens and machinery and equipment suppliers would also make applications and apps from the MindSphere Internet of Things system available in the cloud.

The two companies would develop new functions and services for the cloud together with machinery and equipment suppliers; these would then be available to all future partners.

"We intend to make our Volkswagen Industrial Cloud a partner network with digital functions bringing benefits to all the participating companies. In Siemens, we have secured a strong partner with outstanding digitalisation and industry expertise," said VW production chief Oliver Blume.

"We will network machinery, production systems and equipment more effectively using MindSphere and our automation platforms. This way, VW, suppliers and machinery producers will be able to leverage the potential of production data even more effectively. It will be possible to make production more efficient and flexible as well as further improving product quality," said Siemens board member Klaus Helmrich.

Production data will be processed directly by equipment and machinery or in the production process before transmission to the cloud. This will allow further optimisation of complex production processes and also improve the data quality in the cloud.

Siemens and MindSphere partners offer applications for predictive maintenance of machinery with optimised maintenance cycles calculated in advance.

Via the cloud, these can then be rolled out to all the VW plants. It will be possible to control the production environment and supply chain even more efficiently because the connected suppliers and machinery producers will also benefit from the knowledge gained from data analysis.

Eventually, VW will integrate global supply chain with more than 30,000 locations of over 1,500 suppliers and partner companies. In future, its cloud will also be available as a platform for other partners.