Catena-X, new Automotive Alliance aiming to ensure openness and neutrality
A new Automotive Alliance will operate under the name “Catena-X Automotive Network (Catena-X)”. As an implementation-oriented network and to ensure openness and neutrality, Catena-X plans to organise itself as a registered association in Germany. The founders of the partner network include BMW AG, Deutsche Telekom AG, Robert Bosch GmbH, SAP SE, Siemens AG and ZF Friedrichshafen AG.
Additional companies have joined the initiative including Mercedes-Benz AG, BASF SE, Henkel AG & Co. KGaA, Schaeffler AG, German Edge Cloud GmbH & Co. KG, ISTOS GmbH, SupplyOn AG, the German Aerospace Center (DLR), Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft zur Förderung der angewandten Forschung e.V and ARENA2036 as well as several small and medium-sized companies (SMEs).
Catena-X sees itself as an extensible ecosystem in which automotive manufacturers and suppliers, dealer associations and equipment suppliers, including the providers of applications, platforms and infrastructure, can all participate equally. The purpose of the association is to create a uniform standard for information and data-sharing throughout the entire automotive value chain.
The companies involved want to increase the automotive industry’s competitiveness, improve efficiency through industry-specific cooperation and accelerate company processes through standardisation and access to information and data. A particular focus is also on SMEs, whose active participation is central to the network’s success. That is why Catena-X has been conceived from the outset as an open network with solutions ready for SMEs. These companies will be able to participate quickly and with little IT infrastructure investment.
Moreover, the European automotive industry’s existing structures, such as processes in parts logistics, are to be integrated into the network and further optimised. Alongside the benefits of greater efficiency in the supply chain, the network participants expect more efficient quality and logistics processes, greater transparency in terms of sustainably reduced CO2 emissions, and simplified master data management. Continuously connected data chains make it possible to create digital twins of automobiles, based on which innovative business processes and service offerings can be developed.
With the International Data Spaces (IDS) standard for data sovereignty, which also lays the foundation for the European cloud data infrastructure GAIA-X, the companies involved have already agreed on essential infrastructure foundations for project implementation.
In the first phase, the Catena-X pilot projects are focused on five areas of application that have been jointly defined. With the help of a networked data infrastructure, these application areas can significantly help to boost productivity and improve sustainability along future value chains. The five areas are quality management, logistics, maintenance, supply chain management and sustainability. Applications supporting production and development are planned for future phases.
The data network will create an important starting point for the industry to respond more efficiently to the challenges of digital transformation and make better use of digitalisation opportunities.