Information Integration in Chemical Process Engineering Based on Semantic Technologies
During the design phase of a chemical plant, information is created by various software tools and stored in heterogeneous formats, such as technical documents, CAE databases, or simulation files. Eventually, these scattered information items need to be merged and consolidated. However, there is no efficient computer support for this task available today. While existing technologies like XML are capable of handling the structural and syntactic differences between the heterogeneous formats, these technologies cannot resolve any semantic incompatibilities. For this reason, information integration is still largely performed manually–a task which is both tedious and error-prone. Semantic technologies based on ontologies have been identified as an appropriate means to establish semantic interoperability. This contribution presents an ontology-based approach for information integration in chemical process engineering. The underlying knowledge base, which is based on the formal ontology OntoCAPE, is presented, and the design and implementation of a prototypical integration software are described. Further, the application of the software prototype in a large industrial use case is reported.