Servicio de Información Comunitario sobre Investigación y Desarrollo - CORDIS

FP7

CAPP-4-SMEs Report Summary

Project reference: 314024
Funded under: FP7-NMP

Final Report Summary - CAPP-4-SMES (Collaborative and Adaptive Process Planning for Sustainable Manufacturing Environments)

Executive Summary:
Product development and manufacturing activities are the primary economical pillars of the EU, and over 90% manufacturing activities attribute to Small- and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs). Current markets are characterised by turbulence and mounting demands for highly customised products. Customers require higher quality, faster delivery, and shorter times between successive generations of products. Value chains and cooperation between companies especially SMEs are increasingly project-specific, customer-centric and flexible, and manufacturing jobs are diversified and urgent. Meanwhile, sustainable product regulations and incentives have being taken effect, and manufacturers should, at the design and process planning stages, consider the multi-faceted requirements of manufacturing processes to ensure flexibility, competitiveness and sustainability throughout product lifecycles. It therefore requires SMEs to be able to efficiently configure and re-configure their manufacturing processes to facilitate product customisation and alteration in order to adapt much quickly to the changing global market and sustainable requirements. Innovative knowledge-based Computer-Aided Process Planning (CAPP) is a key enabler to minimise cost, improve adaptability, responsiveness, robustness, and sustainability of manufacturing processes.
This CAPP-4-SMEs project, planned for 36-month duration and 435 person-months, is aimed at enhancing the competitiveness of European companies, particularly SMEs, in sustainable manufacturing environment by:
• developing a series of innovative and adaptive process planning services to support SMEs to simulate, evaluate, plan and optimise their dynamic and complex manufacturing processes and execution systems in collaborative value chains, in a bid to achieve efficiency, cost-effectiveness, robustness, sustainability, smartness and user intervene-friendliness during process planning;
• developing a knowledge-based and efficient simulation service to support multi-criteria manufacturability evaluation from the beginning of product lifecycle so as for SMEs to achieve first-time-right in terms of accuracy and reliability for customised product processes as well as improved overall energy profiles to comply the tougher eco-regulations;
• applying event-driven function block technology for on-board adaptive process control functions at machine level through process plan embedding, smart algorithm invocation and bi-directional communication for SMEs to achieve real-time responsiveness, adaptability and overall resource effectiveness;
• introducing a monitoring service for up-to-date machine availability and utilisation to ensure that decision making for planning and optimisation become resource-aware and well informed; and
• adopting Cloud and service-oriented computing approaches, which are the new-generation supplement, consumption, and delivery model for the over-the-Internet provision of dynamically scalable resources and utility computing, as a service platform to support SMEs to move away from developing and maintaining resource-intensive and standalone CAPP systems and migrate to portable CAPP services accessible and configurable over the Internet.
The CAPP-4-SMEs Consortium is comprised of 11 partners (4 universities, 1 multi-national manufacturing company and 6 SMEs) from 5 European countries (Sweden, UK, Greece, Germany and Spain). The complementary expertise of the academic and industrial European partners in the project enables knowledge sharing, dissemination and exploitation of scientific findings, industrial applications and technical know-hows across the EU in international dimension. Technical innovations will be achieved through collaborative RTD activities oriented towards industrial applications for factories of the future. Industry-relevant demonstration will be developed in the project as an important element for result validation using real-world cases from SMEs distributed in the EU. Targeting to showcase huge reduction in resource consumption, improvement in process robustness and accuracy, and increase in productivity by reduced cycle times under more reliable and efficient manufacturing conditions, the demonstration activities based on the innovative RTD outcomes of the project will be geared to exploit future commercialisation opportunities throughout the extensive industrial networks of the Consortium, and to generate greater impacts in broader areas of the EU.

Project Context and Objectives:
In the project period, the CAPP-4-SMEs consortium worked closely and achieved the expected goals successfully and on time. The concept and aim of the proposed research is to enhance the competitiveness of European companies, particularly SMEs, in the modern manufacturing environment by:
• developing a series of innovative and adaptive process planning services to support SMEs to simulate, evaluate, plan and optimise their dynamic and complex manufacturing processes and systems in collaborative value chains, in a bid to achieve efficiency, cost-effectiveness, robustness, sustainability, smartness and user intervene friendliness during process planning;
• developing a knowledge-based and efficient simulation service to support multi-criteria manufacturability evaluation from the design stage so as for SMEs to improve the overall energy profiles imposed by tougher eco-regulations from the beginning of the product lifecycle;
• introducing a monitoring service for up-to-date machine availability and utilisation to ensure that decision making for planning and optimisation become resource-aware and well informed;
• adopting Cloud and service-oriented computing approaches (that is the new generation supplement, consumption, and delivery model for the over-the-Internet provision of dynamically scalable resources and utility computing) as the platform of the aforementioned services to support SMEs to move away from developing and maintaining resource-intensive and standalone CAPP systems and migrate to be Cloud and service-oriented solution accessible and configurable over the Internet; and applying event-driven function block technology for on-board adaptive decision making at machine level through process plan embedding, smart algorithm invocation and bi-directional communication for SMEs to achieve real-time responsiveness, adaptability and overall resource effectiveness.
This overall, project-level, the achievements can be subdivided into the following objectives that link directly to the core work packages (WPs) of CAPP-4-SMEs:
• Objective 1 (WP1): To design and develop a service-oriented platform for Cloud manufacturing, where relevant monitoring, planning, optimisation and execution control services can be provided;
• Objective 2(WP2): To monitor and predict machine utilisation and availability, locally or remotely, so that the decision making for planning and optimisation etc. become resource-aware and well informed;
• Objective 3(WP3): To develop a web-enabled and knowledge-based tool for dispersed engineering teams to create non-linear process plans collaboratively, using the services of Cloud manufacturing;
• Objective 4(WP4): To generate setups adaptively based on the available machines, their configurations and capabilities, by sharing real-time in-process monitoring information from Objective 2; and
• Objective 5(WP5): To provide an integrated process/setup simulation environment to optimise parameters for reduced cycle time and resource consumption, and increased quality and productivity.
The aforementioned objectives are each assigned to one RTD WP to be achieved in the three project-years. The five WPs and three additional WPs are: WP1 Cloud Manufacturing Services Platform; WP2 Machine Availability Monitoring; WP3 Collaborative Process Planning; WP4 Adaptive Setup Planning; WP5 Integrated Process Simulation; WP6 Job-Shop Machining Demonstrators; WP7 Dissemination and Exploitation; and WP8 Project Management. To recap, all the deliverables and milestones are successfully achieved in the project period.

Project Results:
In CAPP-4-SMEs project, each S&T results matched to one WP as listed below:
WP1 ― Cloud manufacturing services platform
WP1 is to design and develop a service-oriented platform for Cloud manufacturing, where monitoring, planning, optimisation and execution control services can be provided.
The challenges to be addressed in this WP include protocol design to support real-time communication between machines and services, smart controller design for dynamic changes in manufacturing environments and reliable integration of services.
WP2 ― Machine availability monitoring
To monitor and predict machine utilisation and availability, locally or remotely, so that the decision making for planning and optimisation etc. become resource-aware and well informed.
This WP is responsible for developing functions for real-time resource monitoring of availability of machines by continuously checking job execution status on each machine, and for prediction of available time windows of the machines based on the current job completion rate and schedule. In a networked production environment, it is also possible to obtain a holistic view of machine utilisation and to identify any bottlenecks by comparing it against the machines’ capacity. The up-to-date information of machine utilisation will be useful for process planning and setup planning (WP3 and WP4) to make well-informed decisions according to the real-world situation. It also facilitates integrated process simulation (WP5) so that optimal process/setup plans can be generated for the right resources at the right time with high throughput. Together with the execution control, this WP bridges the gap between the real world and the cyber world, making Cloud manufacturing services practical and useful to real-world applications and adaptable to unforeseen changes. The challenges to be addressed in this WP include real-time constraint over the Internet and non-open architecture CNC controllers when striving to collect and share information instantly.
WP3 ― Collaborative process planning
To develop a web-enabled and knowledge-based tool for dispersed engineering teams to create non-linear process plans collaboratively, using the services of Cloud manufacturing
This WP is responsible for developing the core functionality of process planning, as a service-oriented knowledge-based tool of CAPP-4-SMEs. In order to deal with factory-level uncertainty such as tool shortage, machine breakdown, missing fixtures, job delay, rush order, etc., a process plan is better to have built-in flexibility and adaptability that can adjust itself to a change in a timely manner. Two enabling technologies are used for system implementation: machining features and function blocks. The major challenges of this WP are collaborative decision making, robustness of algorithms, and how to design function blocks and interface with CNC controllers to replace G-code.
WP4 ― Adaptive setup planning
To generate setups adaptively based on the available machines, their configurations and capabilities, by sharing real-time in-process monitoring information of WP-2.
This WP integrates process planning of WP3 and process simulation of WP5 to prepare and generate the optimal setup plans that fit the best to the capabilities of those available machines identified by the real-time monitoring of WP2.
WP5 ― Integrated process simulation
The objective of WP5 is to provide an integrated process/setup simulation environment to optimise parameters for reduced cycle time and resource consumption and increased quality and productivity. The four tasks and achievements are explained in the following subsections.

More details can be found in the CAPP-4-SMEs final project report attachment.

Potential Impact:
Impact: Contributing to the production flexibility of European SMEs by improving planning, process set-up and change-over times, and therefore the competitiveness of SMEs

Product development and manufacturing activities are the major economical pillars of the EU, and 90% manufacturing activities attribute to SMEs. On the other hand, production and supply chains are turbulent and in dynamic adjustment. Disruptive events in production are frequent. To ensure manufacturing flexibility, knowledge-based and innovative process planning is a key enabler to minimise cost, improve adaptability, responsibility and robustness of production systems. The roadmap of factories of the future by EC shows that the following characteristics should be paramount in future manufacturing systems:

“Adaptability/re-configurability through a modular ap¬proach in production systems, in order to maximise au¬tonomy and interaction capability of machinery and con¬tinuous re-use of existing infrastructures”

The developed technologies in this CAPP-4-SMEs project achieves the above targets by:
• Knowledge-based process planning guidelines developed based on the current practices and know-how of manufacturing industries (large and SMEs) across the EU. The guidelines are embedded into the process planning services in this project such as in-process simulation and on-board decision-making to facilitate SMEs to reduce cycle times and achieve high productivity;
• The in-process monitoring and simulation services to be first-time-right in terms of accuracy and reliability for new production processes. The simulation service supports new product design to achieve manufacturability, and the monitoring service supports in-process planning to achieve real-time process optimisation for machining and shop floors;
• The event-driven function block technology in the process planning services developed in this project to achieve real-time responsiveness, adaptability and therefore process robustness. The event-driven function blocks support on-board adaptive decision making at machine level through process plan embedding, smart algorithm invocation and bi-directional communication.
• Cloud-based platform as an integrated solution for modular and configurable process planning services to increase robustness of existing processes. Alternative and pay-as-you-go process services and options can be picked from the Cloud when necessary or applicable.

The project is based on real case studies. The large volume and diversity of data with different degree of granularities and durations in modern manufacturing and process management present a great challenge. The collaboration in this project provides an integrated platform for project partners to explore numerous research aspects of demonstration systems and service’s scalability, performance, reliability, horizontal collaboration and vertical integration based on case studies with large quantity and variety of data from manufacturing practices, and furthermore, to extend the developed technologies to be deployed within 2-3 years after the project completion. The above measurement is expected to achieve 30% higher productivity and reduced cycle times under more reliable and efficient manufacturing conditions for EU SMEs. The research outcomes are recommended to the EU Member States, regional and international bodies.

Expected impact: Providing higher and more stable product and customer service quality for European SMEs to be more competitive in global markets

Current markets are characterised by a turbulent and uncertain demand for highly customised products. Customers require higher quality, faster delivery times, and shorter times between successive generations of prod¬ucts. A survey in the EU showed that: “SMEs in the EU believe that competition in their markets has intensively increased over the past years. To respond to tighter competition, the primary strategy of SMEs is to develop new products, enhance product (or service) quality ... 64% would improve their product (or service) quality, 62% would increase product differentiation in response to increased competition”.

Accordingly, “Customisation dramatically drives up production costs, owing to higher setup costs and the need to adapt processes and production equipment. Innovative solutions are needed to support these ‘make to order’ strategies by improving quality control and boosting efficiency.” ... and by “Higher and more stable product quality through increased process robustness and accuracy, while ensuring an easy process maintainability”.

The developed technologies help SMEs in adapting quicker to varying global market and consumer requirements as well as to changes in product regulations, and therefore empower the European industries to stay competitive in the challenging global market. It also facilitates European manufacturing industry to change its approach from cost-cutting to knowledge-based value adding, and therefore to achieve sustainable and competitive growth. The outcomes of the project are expected to help SMEs achieve higher and more stable product and customer service quality through 30% higher process robustness and accuracy.

Expected Impact: Enhancement of the effective implementation of European SMEs for energy efficiency

Energy-related product regulations and incentives have been developed and expressed in detailed standards in the EU, such as Integrated Product Policy (IPP) and eco-design of Energy using Products (EuP) Directive, manufacturers of energy-using products should, at the design and process planning stages, be obliged to reduce the energy consumption and other negative environmental impacts occurring throughout the product lifecycle. On the other hand, a survey in the EU showed that:

“Manufacturing industry represents about 30% of Europe’s primary energy consumption” ... “Close to two thirds of SMEs operating in the EU do not even have simple rules or devices for saving energy (63%). Less than three in 10 SMEs (29%) have instituted some measures for preserving energy and resources at their enterprise. Only 4% of EU SMEs have a comprehensive system in place for energy efficiency”. Therefore, there is a need to help EU SMEs undertake their responsibility with easy-to-use tools.

The characteristics of the project include: (1) evaluation and optimisation of manufacturability and energy consumption from product design using the knowledge-based simulation service; (2) Cloud-based service management platform to minimise the utilisation of servers and extensive computing in SMEs; (3) adoption of adaptive process planning services to reduce the difficulty of introducing new (e.g., energy- and material-efficient) processes and machinery into the current production lines. The resulting services of this project are innovative and promising solutions to eliminate financial and technical bottlenecks of SMEs to implement economic and energy evaluation for eco-friendly process planning and to optimise manufacturing energy consumption during process planning. Through the exploitation of the research outcomes of the project, reduction of resources consumption by a factor of 40% through the use of energy- and material-efficient processes and machinery, and smart energy management are expected to achieve.

Expected Impact: Improving the adoption of the innovative services for SMEs through developing an adaptive and reconfigurable information infrastructure

Recent EU reports indicate that: “Service based application provisioning, including Cloud computing, service-oriented architecture design and Internet of Things is the Future Internet, revolutionising the enterprise and businesses environments” ... “By moving from the usual capital upfront investment model to an operational expense, Cloud computing promises to enable especially SME’s and entrepreneurs to accelerate the development and adoption of innovative solutions”60.

The Cloud-based service platform developed in this project is an open architecture for embedding manufacturing services into a knowledge environment, enabling a detailed and adaptive process service planning. It would serve multiple companies for deployment and management of energy related information services for accessing and exploiting over the Internet, and would provide a cost-effective, flexible and scalable solution to SMEs to access the latest process planning technologies with lower support costs.

Expected impact: Enhancement of cooperation, knowledge dissemination and demonstration in the EU to achieve Europe-wide manufacturing practice excellence

The implementation of the CAPP-4-SMEs project at a European level creates added value both nationally in each partner’s individual country as well as internationally, i.e. the countries in Europe that the project exports its knowledge and tools to. The CAPP-4-SMEs consortium is constituted from 11 partners from 5 European countries which comprise:

• 5 EU member states (Sweden, UK, Greece, Spain, Germany)
• Including three major EU economies (Sweden, UK, Germany)
• With a much bigger target area for scientific dissemination and commercial exploitation

This process ensures that the most appropriate mixture of partners is brought together in this consortium to ensure the achievement of the ambitious project objectives. Another important component in the project is the demonstration systems for Europe-wide SMEs to verify and exploit. The partners in the consortium have maintained extensive industrial networks across the EU, which are involved in a series of demonstration.

List of Websites:
http://capp-4-smes.eu/

Related information

Contact

Hakanen, Claudia (Financial and Administrative Officer)
Tel.: +46 8 790 90 62
Fax: +46 8 21 0851
E-mail
Record Number: 184804 / Last updated on: 2016-06-27