Most Powerful Open Source ERP

Free Software for Effective Industry 4.0

Introductory presentation of the Stuttgart Meetup on Open Hardware and Free Software for Industry 4.0 held at Fraunhofer IAO
  • Last Update:2020-11-05
  • Version:006
  • Language:en


  • Company Introduction
  • Industry 4.0
  • Stuttgart Libre Stack
  • Meetup Goals


Company Introduction


Nexedi - Profile

Nexedi World Map
  • Largest Free Software Publisher in Europe
  • Founded in 2001 in Lille (France) - 35 engineers worldwide
  • Enterprise Software for mission critical applications
  • Build, deploy, train and run services
  • Profitable since day 1, long term organic growth
Nexedi is probably the largest Free Software publisher with more than 10 products and 15 million lines of code. Nexedi does not depend on any investor and is a profitable company since day 1.

Nexedi - Clients

Nexedi References and Map

Nexedi clients are mainly large companies and governments looking for scalable enterprise solutions such as ERP, CRM, DMS, data lake, big data cloud, etc.  

Nexedi - Free Software Stack

Nexedi Software Stack

Nexedi software is primarily developed in Python, with some parts in Javascript.





MariaDB Foundation




Industry 4.0


German Industrial Policy

The term "Industry 4.0" is double sided: political and technological.

The political nature of "Industry 4.0" is easy to grasp: the term was introduced in 2011 at a Hannover Fair in the presence of Chancellor Angela Merkel . As a world super power in industry, Germany must embrace digital innovations to maintain its leadership compared to fast growing and massively subsidised industries in countries such as China. Many industry leaders in Germany now privately acknowledge that Chinese industry has become very innovative and is able to produce high quality products. Chinese industry improved tremendously over the last decades thanks to modern machinery that was actually paid by the government through "free loans" that do not need to be reimbursed. China industry's competitiveness is no longer related to labour costs or taxes (both are high) but rather to ability of Chinese entrepreneurs to benefit from such "free loans" (billions of Euros) through good social relations with the communist party. With Industry 4.0, Germany can now compete against subsidies in China and at the same time respect WTO agreements that ban subsidies except for R&D.

The German government invested 200 million dollars for Industry 4.0 research across government, academia, businesses. This new industry is an integral part of the 2020 High Technology Strategy for Germany, which wants to maintain its leadership in technological innovation.

Cyber-physical Systems

The technological nature of "Industry 4.0" can be harder to grasp: it implies a slight change in the organisation of production. If we had to summarise it, we would say that Industry 4.0 is about "autonomous smart tooling for the self-organised and decentralised production of personalised smart products with real-time feedback loop so that quality is continually improved". We can imagine Industry 4.0 as a combination of mobile robots, 3D printers, CNC, 5G networks, workshops and web sites which autonomously organise the complete life cycle of a product (design, sales, production, after-sales, customer retention). We can also view Industry 4.0 as a way to bring back production closer to the consumer, through a very efficient network of inter-connected workshops that are able to deliver highly customised products one by one, just like in Luxury industry but with prices closer to those of mass production in China.

Some industrial technologies are key enablers to this change of the production process. 3D printing is a good example: it is now possible to produce complex shapes using all sorts of high end materials and in very short time without having to invest in a mold. 3D printing of PCB is also now possible and provided by Phytec in Germany. Making sophisticated products autonomously has become easier than even thanks to the Fab Lab movement which shares certain aspects with Industry 4.0. One could say that Industry 4.0 is a way to turn some ideas behind Fab Labs into a high end mainstream industry with a market.

Industry 4.0 as Computer Science

General Interoperability Information transformation Technical assistance Decentralised decisions
Production process Real-time stochastic simulation Big Data store Predictive maintenance Smart tooling
Smart manufacturing execution Production macro-planning Personalised production  
Logistics Sales previsions and stock optimisation Logistics macro-planning Road Usage Charging Big Data store
Customer retention Customer behaviour Analysis Short feedback loop Big Data store  
Product configurability Customer transparency Mobile ubiquity  
Smart machine / product
and associated services
Autonomic code deployment (signed) and lifecycle at the Edge Secure Boot Big Data store
Device Management Trusted communication Resilient communication Virtual proxy
Transactional communication Smart SDR controller Data collection Network isolation
Autonomous maintenance and optimisation Assisted repair and maintenance Autonomic self-optimisation  

Industry 4.0 translates into multiple computer science and digital technologies. Some are quite general:

  • Interoperability connection and communication between machines, devices, sensors, people, etc. (a.k.a. Interconnection);
  • Information transformation : maintain a virtual copy of the physical world (a.k.a. Information transparency);
  • Technical assistance : support humans for making informed decisions and solving urgent problems, physically support humans for unpleasant, exhausting and dangerous tasks;
  • Decentralised decisions : machines make decisions and perform tasks as autonomously as possible.

Some can be categorised using four groups with specific goals.

  • Production process: more efficient production processes and cost savings thanks to resource optimisation;
  • Logistics : more efficient flows of goods and information, lower stocks and plant efficiency as an enabler of new business opportunities;
  • Customer retention:  closer ties with customer and more closely targeted consideration of customer needs;
  • Hybrid products and the associated smart services : data collection for machine monitoring, fault rectification, repair and maintenance via smart services bundled into "premium" products with higher prices ("German quality").

Equivalence between Industry 4.0 and computer science is illustrated in the table bellow.



Stuttgart Libre Stack


Stuttgart Libre Software Stack for Industry 4.0

Component General Production Logistics Customer Smart Machine / Product
Nexedi ERP5 Inf. transform. Personalised
Product configurability
SlapOS Dectrl. decision Smart tooling
Smart MES
  Short feedback loop Autonomic Edge
Virtual proxy
Autonomous maint.
Device Management
Network isolation
Self-optimisation w/ GPU
Wendelin Inf. transform
Tech. assist.
Predictive maint. Sales previsions
Stock optimisation
Behaviour Analysis
Short feedback
Device Management
Autonomous maint.
JIO Interop   RUC Mobile ubiquity  
re6st Interop       Resilient communication
ManPy Inf. transform
Tech. assist.
Discrete simulation      
Caucase         Trusted communication
RenderJS       Mobile ubiquity  
NEO   Big Data store Big Data store Big Data store Big Data store
Pyodide Tech. assist.        
ARM fluentd Interop Predictive maint.
Smart tooling
Smart MES
    Data collection
Autonomous maint.
embulk Interop        
Linutronix Elbe RFS         Secure Boot
Jailhouse         OS Isolation
SDS Linuxboot         Secure Boot
Slowtec tokio-modbus Interop        
MariaDB connect Interop        
Keyveo BabylonJS         Assisted 3D repair / maint.


Open Hardware for Industry 4.0

  • Olimex: embedded systems and sensors
  • SDS: servers and data centre (OCP)
  • Lime Micro: Software Defined Radio


Meetup Goals


Meetup Goals

  • Success cases (ex. Woelfel)
  • Technology showcase (ex. ebulk)
  • Research results (ex. GPU smart sensors)
  • Answer questions
  • Initiate an ecosystem
  • Prepare an EU R&D project