Integrated Collaboration Framework (ICF)

Task and Objective

Engineering collaboration is a broad field. The Integrated Collaboration Framework (ICF) bundles the efforts of industrial companies, software vendors and PLM experts with the aim of paving the way for cross-disciplinary and cross-enterprise engineering collaboration. The ICF has developed several approaches to solving problems involving real-time collaboration based on model-based systems engineering (MBSE) and federated architecture concepts. They were presented as proof of concepts at the most recent prostep ivip Symposium. In the future, work on the contents of the Cross Enterprise Engineering Collaboration (CEEC) work package in particular is to be continued in the expanded Collaborative Digital Twin (CDT) project group. New participants are welcome.

Focus and concrete results

In 2022, the ICF's primary focus was the recommendation, which was finalized at the end of last year. All the work packages provided valuable input for the respective sections. We also revised the ICF's own logical information model with the aim of harmonizing its terminologies with those of the other project groups in the association using prostep ivip's top-level ontology. In the CEEC, we defined use cases for data-driven collaboration based on common data semantics together with experts from different prostep ivip project groups and thus laid the foundation for further work in the CDT.

The participating vendors developed a number of different demonstrators for the proof of concepts, focusing for example on data linking and analysis, reporting and the smart digital thread. The results were prepared as videos that were shown during the course of various presentations, which increased awareness of the activities being carried out by our vendors. The videos are currently subject to final revision so that they can be released next year together with the recommendation.

Organizational and technical challenges

One of the challenges that the project faces is data storage. Because the data cannot be stored locally, a cloud infrastructure had to be created to enable collaboration between the partners. Different versions of the Mars rover data model also had to be harmonized. The data model is being used for testing purposes in different prostep ivip project groups.

Planning for the current year 2023

During the course of the current year, it is planned that the results of the ICF, and the contents of the CEEC work package in particular, be transferred to the newly founded prostep ivip project group CDT so that the work can be continued there. The ICF will be closed down once the recommendation has been released, and it will make the vendors' videos about the demonstrators available.

What the project coordinator says:

"ICF has affirmed the concrete applicability of its findings by developing a number of different demonstrators. I'm pleased that we were able to aggregate the findings of our work in a recommendation, and that we will be contributing them to the larger CDT project this year, thus ensuring that they can once again be put to good use."

What the project manager says:

"I would like to see a more detailed examination of a federated cross-enterprise architecture for the digital description of products without data copies. If we want to achieve this vision faster, we need to work more closely with committees from other organizations without falling into a competitive mindset. Consideration should not only be given to the technical capabilities but also to the changes to collaboration models and the impact they have in terms of liability, intellectual property protection, etc."

Project management

Peter Gerber, Schaeffler AG

Project coordination

Dr. Christian B├╝hler
Tel.: +49 8935 0202 12
E-Mail: christian.buehler(at)


:em engineering methods AG
Dr. Ing. h.c.F. Porsche AG
Fraunhofer IESE
IBM Deutschland GmbH
MEWS Deutschland GmbH
Schaeffler Technologies AG & Co. KG
Toyota Motor Europe NV/SA
VDA - Verband der Automobilindustrie e. V.