Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS


ReBORN Report Summary

Project ID: 609223
Funded under: FP7-NMP
Country: Germany

Final Report Summary - REBORN (Innovative Reuse of modular knowledge Based devices and technologies for Old, Renewed and New factories)

Executive Summary:
The vision of ReBorn is to demonstrate strategies and technologies that support a new paradigm for re-use of production equipment in old, renewed and new factories; maximizing the efficiency of this re-use and making the factory design process much easier and straight forward, shortening ramp-up times and increasing production efficiency and flexibility. This paradigm will give new life to decommissioned production systems and equipment, making it possible their “reborn” in new production lines.

Integration of ReBorn results will extend production equipment life cycle and contribute to economic and environmental sustainability of production systems without jeopardizing European machinery industry. This new modular production equipment will be re-used between production systems but will require servicing and upgrading. For that European machinery industry will move from an equipment-based business to a value added business, where equipment servicing and equipment knowledge are main business drivers.

The proposed paradigm builds on self-aware and knowledge-based equipment that need functionalities to collect and manage information regarding their capabilities and their evolution over time, maintenance, upgrade or refurbishment operations over it lifetime; and information of use and wear. To do so, versatile and modular, task-driven plug&produce devices, with built-in capabilities for self-assessment and optimal re-use will be implemented, along with strategies for their re-use and models for factory layout design and adaptive configuration.

ReBorn successfully demonstrated the technologies for intelligent repair, upgrade and re-use of equipment, the (re-)design of factory layouts and flexible & adaptable production on shop floor within several industrial demonstration scenarios. More than 15 Demonstrators and prototypes for those purposes are available. The industrial readiness of these results has been demonstrated live at the ReBorn booth at the Automatica 2016 fair from 21st to 24th June 2016 in Munich, Germany.

Project Context and Objectives:
The vision of ReBORN is to enable full economic sustainability of the production systems and innovative re-use of modular equipment. For that a Collaborative Communication Environment will be developed which accumulates knowledge for 360° life-cycle, broken into three main ideas of: Strategies for Repair, upgrade and re-use of equipment, the (Re-)Design of factory layouts and flexible & adaptable production on shopfloor. The basis for flexible and adaptable production are machines and devices with built-in intelligence for self- and condition monitoring which will also be applicable for existing hardware (upgrade). Furthermore, in-line rapid prototyping of light-weight flexible grippers will be used and extended to enable fast adaption on changing product geometries. Methodologies for factory (re-)design will be developed and online intra-logistic and material handling optimization for most efficient production of even small lot sizes will be available. Finally, repair, upgrade and re-use of equipment covers lifecycle cost assessment and design models for refurbishment and enhancement of modular equipment for device re-use in old, renewed and new factories.

The key element for enabling modular and flexile production as well as easy dismantling and re-use is equipment on shopfloor which provides capabilities for self-description, condition monitoring, state assessment and refurbishment and enhancement planning. ReBORN will address these needs by the introduction of versatile, flexible and lifecycle extended Devices (VERSONs).

In reference to the three main ideas described above, ReBORN derives six specific S/T objectives, which will be executed as SMART targets. The “relevance” is demonstrated towards the topics of the Call.

S/T 1 Versatile and modular plug&produce equipment (VERSONs) with built-in intelligence for flexible production, self-state monitoring and optimal re-use
Target of this S/T objective is to establish modular, agent-based, task-driven plug&produce devices for smart factories, which can be exchanged and adapted for new production goals and for new production structures. The devices are always aware of their own state of capabilities, which they offer to the production network. Based on their will also be easily refurbished or turned into new devices with enhanced or new capabilities for re-use even for different production tasks, extending their life over several production life cycles. This versatility and the task-driven process execution of the devices, which we call VERSONs, will guarantee the reusability in new life cycles and allow 50% less configuration and customization effort. To do so, these VERSONs shall have
- analytical capabilities to determine their own state, to find the best practice operational parameters and
- intelligence to derive a lifetime prognosis, maintenance requirements, refurbishment plans and cost estimation, and
- communication capabilities to describe and optimize themselves towards their environment by providing knowledge and models about their properties, abilities, constraints and re-use abilities (device self-description).
Furthermore, they shall have the ability to (1) perform condition monitoring and maintain a device history, (2) interpret and execute tasks (process model), (3) optimize process and expose abilities (optimization model) and to (4) predict its maintenance requirements (maintenance model).
The VERSON concept will therefore allow component and system integrators suppliers to build-in their expertise on different levels expertise into their devices: flexible, task-driven process execution methods, process optimization, best practice, self-state estimation, maintenance requirements and efforts, refurbishment and enhancement measures and efforts. It will allow planners and line-builders to make maximum use and benefit of equipment within and across production life cycles.
Relevance: This target will contribute to scalable extension of production networks and to the reconfiguration of system functionality by an agent-oriented approach, whenever components are brought into. Through their self-description and built-in models, they support the discovery and retrieval of abilities throughout the production network. Furthermore, the re-use and maintenance of manufacturing equipment is supported by condition monitoring and self-assessment.

S/T 2 Strategies for re-use of production equipment in existing production systems
ReBORN targets to enable easy and quick integration of new and legacy equipment components into new and existing manufacturing systems through realizing the vision for Plug&Produce[1] systems in both future and existing manufacturing environments. The aim of this S&T objective is to advise methods and strategies that enable the reuse and refurbishment of existing production equipment and devices into new and existing production systems based on a set of criteria and assessment methods.
Relevance: This target will contribute to the expected lifetime extension of modular equipment by providing methods for lifetime measurement and assessment. Furthermore, the reusability and adaptability of existing manufacturing systems will be enhanced by the development of strategies for the introduction of new products and product variant into existing production systems. Bases on the strategies created, vendors, system integrators and OEM’s are enabled to provide innovative business models for their products and services.

S/T 3 Models for innovative factory lay-out design techniques and adaptive reconfiguration
Target of this S/T objective is to propose models for the design and adaptive reconfiguration of factory layouts, based on knowledge about production equipment properties, abilities, constraints and re-use abilities (device self-description) and distributed simulation and optimization tools. This will allow to decrease the ramp-up time of assembly lines by at least 50%, and to respond to rapidly changing consumer needs while saving costs.
These models take the whole production process into consideration. Moreover, production equipment is not only communicating with each other but are members of a co-ordinated team of specialized autonomous objects in learning networks (environment of intelligent collaboration) and are able to constantly self-describe their capabilities and state.
This distributed knowledge is used at the planning level, not only to support the fab planner in the design of new factory layouts, but also in adapting existing layouts to new conditions and/or new knowledge. Having constantly updated knowledge on the production resources capabilities and state creates the possibility to select in each situation the best candidates to integrate a certain factory layout or, for existing layouts, identify the best candidates to replace equipment already included in the layout but underperforming at the moment. These functionalities can be extended in order to cover not only the support of activities in the design phase, but also activities during ramp-up and even production, allowing for an semi-automatic adaptive reconfiguration of the factory layout.
Relevance: This objective will contribute to the demonstration of technologies for the realization of the knowledge-based and agile manufacturing enterprise of the future (MANUFUTURE 2020), with an innovative flexible and fast reconfigurable manufacturing solution based on the idea of autonomous/self-acting intelligent production units where on-demand knowledge-based production can be realized, and innovative tools and techniques for factory layout design and adaptive reconfiguration.

S/T (4): Design methodology for de-manufacturing, dismantling, recycling and value-chain extension incorporating prior expert knowledge and experience
The target of this S/T objective is to develop a methodology for the design of manufacturing systems that integrates de-manufacturing, dismantling, recycling and value-chain extension processes into the classical design methods. This methodology is primarily based around the notion of virtual/physical systems which has been explored and developed in IDEAS and XPRESS projects. In this representation the manufacturing system is thought to be a system-of-systems, or a collection of smart devices that exhibit intelligent capabilities on the component level. This component-level intelligence allows the components to have a parallel virtual representation that could be used for modelling and prediction purposes. The design methodology will also be based on the distributed collaborative working and life-cycle knowledge about the production equipment and their components which was developed in TRANSPARENCY project. It shall be realized as “structured knowledge”, which can be adapted easily also by non-IT-personnel, and shall have numerous interlinks with Structure of life-cycle knowledge. The methodology shall be requirement-driven and include the ability to execute virtual test-cases.
Relevance: This target will realize the need for sustainable manufacturing systems through facilitating Re-use of existing factory layouts while enabling the adaptation to new arising requirements in response to new production needs (e.g. product variations and volume variations) or in response to performance degradation or upgrade opportunities throughout the system’s life-cycle.
The knowledge about the various performance indicators of the manufacturing equipment will be continuously captured and formalised in order to enable its reuse throughout the different phases of the system’s life-cycle to help make informed decisions with regard to the usage of used and renovated equipment. This will be based on the knowledge capture framework developed in TRANSPARENCY project; however the framework will need to be extended beyond the machine tools sector which was TRANSPARENCY’s focus into manufacturing systems in general across various sectors.

S/T 5 Flexible and low-cost mechanical systems for fast and easy assembly and disassembly
Target of this S/T objective is to develop a flexible and low-cost handling cell for different unforeseeable handling tasks. Although handling is not seen as a value adding process, the need for automated material handling is obvious in today’s mass manufacturing. To be able to handle raw materials as well as finished products with small lot sizes, a most suitable gripping / transport solution will be developed. By doing so an optimal handling system in terms of time, cost and quality can be realized.
The system will consist of a state-of-the-art actuator, best suited in accordance to the boundary conditions (range to be covered, pay load, throughput), and a gripping device, produced especially for the actual task and part.
This task will be realized by an in-line additive manufacturing (AM) system that will print a gripper, based on the geometry of the part to be handled. To do so, a CAD of the dedicated part will be taken as a basis for generating the necessary set of data for producing the gripper. The AM system will be placed next to the actuator “in-line” and will be equipped with a vision and postprocessing unit to assure minimum external efforts. Due to the flexible, just-in-time design and production of gripping devices the handling of small, fragile or even heavier parts is possible without any constraints. The link towards the actuator will be assured throughout a universal connecting flange.
The implementation of sensors directly into the gripping device during its production will disclose the potential of being able gathering most actual data during operation = handling. These data will provide useful knowledge for the optimization of processes.
Therefore, this S/T objective will reduce the adaption of handling devices during change-over towards zero and will in parallel drive down the costs by increasing quality and decreasing costs, caused by broken parts.
Relevance: This target will contribute to the development of processing parts with small lot sizes and an increasing variety. The capability of self-organized production of gripping devices will contribute to the aims of reducing efforts during change-over and will therewith have a beneficial impact on reducing ramp-up times significantly. Furthermore, will the integrated sensors gather and provide data to enhance the components model.

S/T 6 Standardization and new business models for dynamic collaboration around modular components
Target of this S/T objective is to actively drive the standardization of the technologies developed and implemented within ReBORN. Only if already existing standards will be taken into account while developing and implementing ReBORN technology and if the developed components, especially the component’s interfaces are standardized, a wide technology take-up and smooth integration can be guaranteed.
Target of this S/T objective is also to enable the exchange of knowledge between industrial partners in dynamic collaborations and to allow them to select the best business model in order to use the ReBORN developments. Every business partner has to be aware of the opportunities and threats given by the use of different business scenarios before entering in a concrete business collaboration at the end of the project. Target of this S/T objective is thus also to investigate how scenarios for existing business models (product services systems) can be derived from the life-cycle assessment and the Distributed Collaborative Environment.
Relevance: The standardization part of this S/T objective directly addresses the highlighted goals for standardization and pre-normative research aspects. All collaborative partners actively, especially the SME’s, drive this need in order to fulfill today’s and future requirements of their customers on standardized technology. With respect to the business models, all types of collaborating partners will be supported in the exchange of knowledge and the joint selection of proper business model for the collaboration. The applicable business models will foster the implementation of the ReBORN technologies into the specific business environment of industrial partners (particularly SMEs) by embedding it in business models and dynamic networking.

Project Results:
The ReBORN project adopted a systematic approach, supported by a well-defined work plan. The work plan comprises nine carefully defined work packages. In order to guarantee fully committed teams towards comprising goals, the number of individual work packages is kept clearly constrained.

WP1 established and also continuously supported the ReBORN developments by providing a solid base of industrial motivation and business regulation of the invented ReBORN methodologies and instruments. In order to ensure a high acceptance of the results and technologies developed within ReBORN not only internal, but also external input on the requirement gathering process has been established. For that, the members of the Industrial Advisory Group were actively involved.
For a demonstration-oriented project it is particular important, that all research and development activities are focussing on such activities which are required to deliver finalized and exploitable results. This means to adapt and to finalize already exiting approaches with respect to the need of the project focus. To do so, a dedicated task was foreseen which continuously monitored the research and development work.
In addition to that, also the standardization of the technologies is important the guarantee a smooth take-up of the project results. A dedicated standardization task was foreseen to take care of already existing standards, usable within ReBORN. Potentials for the creation of new standards were identified.
Main results:
D 1.1 Internal industrial requirements and use-case description
D 1.2 External industrial requirements description
D 1.3 Guidelines on industrial implementation
D 1.4 Best practices on demonstration activities
D 1.5 Standardisation document

WP2 realized methods and models, which are used to enhance the capabilities of the existing equipment. The methods will integrate in the existing structures of Manufactrons (agent based shop-floor structures, which were developed in the XPRESS project), using their task-oriented process execution and communication schemes as well as the knowledge structures. These life-cycle-enhanced Manufactrons are named VERSONs for simplicity. The VERSON enhancement will add the capability of equipment self-awareness in every necessary respect for re-deployment or re-use purposes and to communicate the self-analysis results to other production system entities and to optimize the co-operation with other equipment according to the state of the partner equipment. The self-awareness means, that the equipment is able to derive its own state, which is characterized by the capabilities (tasks, which it can fulfil and related effort), the lifetime, the maintenance opportunities and related effort and the refurbishment and enhancement opportunities and related effort. This equipment state information derived from its history of process executions, which contains the given tasks, the selected methods, the achieved results and the sensor and control process data as well. The different equipment state information components are therefor a result of respective transformations from process history data. The solution components, which constitute the VERSON enhancement have to finally enable these transformations. The transformations are defined by new, corresponding equipment models. For the execution of the models a model executor will be developed, producing the standardized state documents from the process history. A notifier will release a notification, when a model indicates a significant change in the state information data. The sampler is responsible for the sampling and pre-processing of process execution information, creating the equipment history in the data base. The process data are extracted from sensors and controls by the interface manager. The model generator allows the equipment vendor to map his equipment knowledge into a model with proper interfaces to plug in the executor.
Main results:
D 2.1 Requirements on information and data for equipment models
D 2.2 Formal specification of (1) the general transformation structure, (2) the information represented in state documents, (3) process history representation, (4) cost models and of a generic process model
D 2.3 Interface manager, sampler, process history data base
D 2.4 Model generator, model executor, notifier

WP3 aimed to develop a general design methodology for manufacturing systems drawing on the availability of great amounts of sensory data and knowledge intensive devices developed in WP2, with the purpose of enabling new system design methods that are based on the concepts of Product Life-Cycle Management (PLM) from the system’s point of view, or what is called here Manufacturing System PLM (MSPLM). The MSPLM was aimed to be enabled to continually optimize the resource allocation, task distribution and task sequence according to the capability status of the equipment. In this context it can also decide on the maintenance, refurbishment and replacement of equipment according to optimization results.
The design methodology is based on the concept of component-based virtual/physical agent representation of modular manufacturing equipment (as developed in WP 2), where every piece of equipment is controlled through an intelligent agent (physical agent) that continuously captures knowledge about the current status of the equipment. This information about the task-related efforts, the prospective lifetime, maintenance- and refurbishment-related efforts as well as enhancement-related efforts allows for the formulation of an overall cost function and for the optimum choice in use, re-use, refurbishment or enhancement.
On the other hand a virtual agent that corresponds to this piece of equipment will be available in the dynamic design environment to allow virtual design configuration testing and simulations with a continuous knowledge feedback link from the physical agents to ensure life-long knowledge update. The virtual environment will be updated, whenever one of the physical agents releases a notification about a relevant change in its capabilities via the capability publish-and-subscribe system. Each such update triggers a new optimization/design run to eventually adapt to the new situation.
The interface between shop-floor and design/optimization will therefore be the interface between the physical and the virtual agents.
The work package methodology addressed four topics: First a rapid configurator was created based on formalized discrete requirements and capabilities matching of the virtual agents. The second building block is self-organization based on learning components of the virtual agents, which represent experience with different equipment employment and usage in addition to the knowledge of the physical agents. Finally cost assessment and overall cost optimization according to the cost changes during the life-cycle complete the Production Optimization Instance. An additional learning scheme was implemented to extract, analyse and apply operational feedback knowledge in the design and optimization procedures.
Main results:
D 3.1 Knowledge model for capability management
D 3.2 Knowledge-based capability management methodology for adaptive factory design
D 3.3 Self-organising virtual-physical system design framework architecture
D 3.4 Self-organising virtual-physical system design tools
D 3.5 Life-cycle impact assessment tool for highly adaptive production systems
D 3.6 Life-long knowledge feedback and self-learning methodology

The goal of WP4 was to design a flexible and low-cost mechanical system for fast and easy change-over in all kind of industries. Therefore, the development within this workpackage followed two major streams.
For the production of small lot sizes with increasing varieties, a manufacturing module for on-site production of grippers will be developed. As Additive Manufacturing (AM) technologies offer the advantages of direct manufacturing from CAD data and a maximized degree of freedom in terms of achievable geometries, this will be the basis for the process module. Missing automation, low process speed and a lack of production interfaces and quality control mechanisms are shortcomings of nowadays AM technology. These shortcomings will be solved especially considering the purpose of the manufacturing module with a stepwise approach. At first a technology benchmarking between different AM technologies lead to the most suitable process. First of all this benchmarking has to focus on mechanical quality of the parts in the context of grippers, second the possibilities of process automation must be evaluated. Based on this evaluation, one AM machine available to market has been chosen as basis for the process module. In the following interfaces for inline-integration were implemented. The process module was then be equipped with postprocessing capabilities, so that grippers can be manufactured in a fully automated process directly from CAD data without any manual steps. In parallel a vision based quality control system was implemented to assure faultless production of each gripper. This is of high importance as faulty grippers could cause cost-intensive downtimes or even faulty end-products.
Besides the AM module, the development of modular flexible welding fixtures was done. Welding fixtures need to fix a part during welding operations. The part has to be kept in position with a high level of precision (less than 0.1 mm at the clamping level) in particular in the case of Geometry operations. In case of geometry operation the parts need to be positioned not only absolutely in space, but even one in reference to the other; in case of re-spot operations the parts are already partly welded and the assembly has to be positioned only in space.
Main results:
D 4.1 Report on technology benchmarking and justified selection of AM process for inline-integration
D 4.2 Report on requirements, boundary conditions, lay-out and construction of most suitable handling solutions
D 4.3 Description of fixtures’ redesign towards modularity

WP5 took up the efforts of all developments of workpackage 2 and convey them to well-defined added values for European manufacturing industry. To do so, the following objectives were envisaged::
· Building-up of physical test equipment and test environment for an early prototype test
· Implementation of a virtual production environment for performance tests
· Implementation of a universal communication interface for various PLC’s types and integration of technology
· Integration of modular components in a physical test environment
· Definition of use-cases, requirements and quality goals for demonstration scenarios
· Demonstration towards maintenance, adaptation and re-use of production equipment
· Validation against internal and external end-users and the Industrial Advisory group
In order to guarantee maximum impact and relevance towards the European manufacturing industries, this work package started in a reasonable time to establish working relationships and feedback paths with the development work packages. The definition of quality goals and their validation were applied according industrial requirements and actual use-cases of the Industrial Advisory group and will not be a solely self-reference within ReBORN project.

Main results:
D 5.1 Physical test equipment and environment
D 5.2 Virtual production environment
D 5.3 Universal communication interface
D 5.4 Demonstrator description document
D 5.5 Final test validation and benchmarking document

The objective of WP6 was the implementation of the developments of WP3 and demonstration of Innovative factory lay-out design techniques to enable European manufacturers to keep their production at an optimal level of efficiency and therewith at the most optimal point of operation in terms of time, cost and quality. To do so, the following objectives were envisaged:
· Implementation of communication structure between shop-floor and Production Optimization Instance
· Integration of layout optimizer into Production Optimization Instance
· Test validation and benchmarking of Innovative factory lay-out design techniques

The realization of the ReBORN concept for factory lay-out design techniques has to be applicable for all new, renewed and old factories within the European Community to ensure upmost impact. Therefore, the implementation of a Production Optimization Instance as an extra module and kind of interface to existing structures will enhance even existing fabrication.
The Production Optimization Instance serves as central element for the link between shop-floor data and the simulation environment. It has the capability to ask for and receive components data, needed for a dedicated simulation task. With the help of real data based discrete event simulations, the ReBORN concept ensures shorter ramp-up and change-over times and therewith reduced costs.
Main results:
D 6.1 Description of communication structure
D 6.2 Description of Production Optimization Interface
D 6.3 Description of Layout optimizer and algorithms
D 6.4 Benchmarking description document

The objective of WP7 was the implementation of the developments of WP4 and demonstration of flexible and low-cost mechanical systems. The need for this kind of concepts is obvious with regard to the high varieties of products nowadays and in future. The whish for customization implies the need for adaptions during production. While the actual process technologies like welding, casting of moulding might stay the same, different shapes and geometries require adapted handing and therewith gripping solutions to meet the ever increasing demand for products with lot sizes of even just one. To demonstrate the applicability of flexible and low-cost mechanical systems, based on the ReBORN concept, the following tasks were be performed:
· Implementation of an automated production module for gripper systems based on the chosen AM process including postprocessing and vision based quality inspection
· Setup and implementation of a handling cell consisting of an dedicate actuator and an in-line AM process unit with equipped postprocessing
· Integration of modular flexible welding fixtures
· Test validation and benchmarking of flexible mechanical system.
Handling is most often not seen as a value adding process. Nevertheless, the handling systems are mostly in direct contact with the product and can harm the quality and / or efficiency of production significantly. In general, two kind of gripping devices can be distinguished: the static one (i.e. a fixture) and the active one, applied to a manipulator. Especially the later one will be in focus of this WP. The usage of Additive Manufacturing (AM) technologies as an in-line production unit for the in-situ manufacturing of grippers lead to reductions in change-over and ramp-up times for handling systems towards zero.
Main results:
D 7.1 Inline-integrable AM module with all necessary interfaces to comply with the overall, reconfigurable handling system
D 7.2 Implementation of complete handling cell with in-line AM based gripper production
D 7.3 Integration of modular flexible welding fixtures
D 7.4 Document on benchmarking specifications

WP8 was dedicated to exploitation and dissemination of project results on the basis of an active handling of intellectual property (IP) issues and targeted training activities. The objectives of the exploitation and dissemination activities were:
· To show each partner and external actors active in the Machinery, automotive sector how they will benefit from the innovative results of the ReBORN project and how they can integrate these results in their future research activities or commercial products.
· To raise interest in the ReBORN concept from potential stakeholders in Europe and beyond
· To achieve an early up-take of the project results
· To create the first step-stones for the exploitation of the project’s results
· To give visibility of ReBORN objectives, activities and benefits by answering to the different needs of target groups
· To disseminate ReBORN aims, evolution and results through printed (brochures, booklets, etc) and electronic (website, electronic newsletter) sources.
· To disseminate the scientific knowledge and the results achieved with the new technologies developed outside the core consortium in order to achieve a broad pan-European impact
· To strengthen the partner’s reputation in their research community or market on regional, national and international level
· To raise awareness among partners on IPR aspects relevant to their organisations and which are related to ReBORN activities
Furthermore, this work package provided an active management of intellectual property (IP) as a basis for mutual trust within the consortium in order to perform any exploitation and dissemination activities. The objectives are
· To manage the access to partner’s background IP necessary for the project
· To manage and protect the consortium’s foreground IP
· To minimise the risk of patent, trademark or any IPR infringement
· To assure a successful technology and knowledge transfer between the academic and industrial partners
· To guarantee an adequate communication outside the consortium with regard to the IPR strategy of the project

Main results:
D 8.1 ReBORN Corporate Identity and website
D 8.2 IPR report
D 8.3 Exploitation and technology implementation plan
D 8.4 Report on training activities
D 8.5 Report on business models

The objective of WP9 was to ensure an efficient and pro-active coordination of the project by administration, organisation and monitoring of the administrative and financial components of the project. A common set of rules and structures for the communication inside (project management tool, intranet) and outside the consortium enabled the flow of information and knowledge needed to implement a robust monitoring process. Thus, the following objectives were envisaged:
· Prevention and resolution of problems and conflicts
· Effective management of project budget and expenditure
· Provision of overall direction and guidance throughout the duration of the project
· Keeping the motivation of project partners on a high level
The project management task was designed to provide full control of the ReBORN project in terms of time, resource and cost tracking. To simplify the management, 2 levels of management were defined:
1. the coordination level (decision-making, overall management and monitoring) which contains a Steering Committee and an Executive Committee (see section 2)
2. the operational level (operational workflow) which comprises the work package leaders and the industrial advisory group
Main results:
D 9.1 Set up of intranet and data repository
D 9.2 Set up of project management tool
D 9.3 9-months interim progress report
D 9.4 Mid term report (18 months)
D 9.5 27-months interim progress report
D 9.6 Final report

Potential Impact:
Expected impacts listed in the work program

The machinery and equipment manufacturing was the core business activity of 174,000 thousand enterprises across the EU-27 in 2006. About one half of the added value generated across the European machinery and equipment manufacturing sector came from its SMEs. To improve their competitiveness, they need to be empowered to produce components and assembly systems, which can address fast changing requirements. To do so, the ReBORN project will strongly extend the life and performance of high investment manufacturing infrastructure. This will be achieved by developing and demonstrating:
(1) machines and devices with built-in intelligence for flexible and adaptable production as well as self-monitoring (applicable also for existing hardware);
(2) cost assessment and design models for refurbishment and enhancement of modular equipment for device re-use in old, renewed and new factories;
(3) Factory layout (re-)design for new and re-designed products using new and re-used equipment by coupling condition data of equipment with factory design methodology.
The project will address the innovative re-use of modular equipments and components throughout the whole production life cycle. In contrary to state-of-the-art approaches, ReBORN won’t end at the stage of ramp down but will both use the machines and the knowledge gained during operation to enhance next generations of production. A constant learning and building of knowledge about production and machines will be undertaken, not only during operation and constant optimization, but also in the phase of ramp-down. Knowledge will be then gathered and used again for the upcoming planning, restructuring and ramp-up phase. ReBORN will no longer end after the ramp down but will be alive in close loop cycles in future constellations.
With respect to the ramp-up phase, ReBORN supports the fast integration of a high variety of components into specialized assembly systems and its commissioning and ramp-up, while strongly reducing effort and expertise required. With respect to the operating phase, the project’s developments will support a faster integration and configuration of new elements such as components and sensors into assembly systems. As a consequence, the project will also allow end users to adapt and optimize their assembly systems with less effort and expertise. Thereby, a more cost-efficient operation mode of assembly lines under changing conditions is enabled by ReBORN.
Based on the S/T objectives described in Part 1, ReBORN will realize a number of tangible achievements that will contribute to the impact listed in the work program and to further project impacts:

Achievement 1: Incorporation of condition monitoring and self-description intelligence in components
The ReBORN project will enhance devices with capabilities for re-use, plug&produce which allow faster installating and (re-)configurating in production systems as well as for 100% re-usaging:
• Condition monitoring and assessment capabilities will be included into conventional devices
• Self-description (static information) will be included on component level (e.g. test-report, re-cycle guidelines), local optimization and task interpretation capabilities.
• Generic standardized KPI’s for each equipment type provide values for the potential of equipment re-usability and refurbishment costs. Standardization of the KPIs allow for vendor-independency planning factories with re-used equipment.

Achievement 2: Lifetime extension of production components and manufacturing systems components towards 100% re-use
The ReBORN project will develop various technologies and strategies which lead towards 100% re-use of equipment:
• Models for pro-active and predictive maintenance of equipment will support the identification of problems during production
• Plans for refurbishment are stored on components and are made available for engineers and maintenance staff
• A software application supports component vendors by calculating of the costs and the efficiency of component refurbishment
• New modularization concepts for complex and costly fixtures will be developed which leads to a better adaptability of fixture to new product geometries as well as to easier dismantling and re-manufacturing.

Achievement 3: Rapid reaction on changing production demands
The components of the ReBORN concept will communicate via a common and standardized communication protocol on parameter/task layer (above field bus). This allows the:
• Exchange of capabilities and limitation of components on shopfloor if production re-configuration is required
• Easy exchange of components in case of component breakdowns
• Easy extensibility of the whole manufacturing system by adding components to the system
• Online interaction between shopfloor components and the planning level for planning optimization
Furthermore, rapid prototyping technologies of Additive Manufacturing for inline production of low-cost grippers will be extended:
• Low-cost grippers will be manufactured online in parallel to production
• This enable to immediately react on changed product demands
• Sensors and microcontrollers will be integrated in the gripper during the gripper manufacturing process without manual interaction.
• Sensors and microcontrollers enable condition monitoring and assessment. Automatic gripper manufacturing will be triggered when the end of the gripper lifetime is reached.

Achievement 4: Support human expert during the factory layout design process
The ReBORN project will support the for human personnel during the (re-)planning of manufacturing systems:
• VERSONs contain description on their capabilities and are equipped with standard interfaces for accessing this knowledge
• The engineer will be supported by an easy-to-use graphical HMI to interconnect the virtual and/or physical representations of the VERSONs
• Configuration & Optimization algorithms on planning level support the human during the planning process, by the identification of problems and the optimization of production configuration

Achievement 5: Flexible collaboration among component suppliers, system integrators and end users including new business models
The ReBORN approach will enable a more flexible collaboration between different component supplier:
• Component supplier with the ability of developing components that can easily be integrated in different systems
• The collaborative communication environment reduces the integration effort among devices. Therefore, machine integrators can select the components with best quality, and will not focus the decision on expertise required for integrating the particular component.
• New business models support a more team-oriented cooperation between suppliers, system integrators and end users

Achievement 6: Technological developments in conjunction of international standards and norms
The ReBORN approach will contribute to international standards and norms by:
• Continuously monitoring the technological developments and aligning them to international standards and norms.
• Identifying the opportunities for the standardization of ReBORN technology during the whole project duration
• Documenting the standardization of ReBORN technology that will be made accessible for the public

Contribution to the expected impacts listed in the work program
The ReBORN project addresses in particular the call “NMP FoF.NMP.2013-2 Innovative re-use of modular equipment based on integrated factory design”, which addresses impact in terms of “innovative re-use of modular equipment based on integrated factory design methodologies” and a “cost-efficient and modular approach for production systems”. ReBORN will contribute to the expected impact based on the outlined achievements as follows:

Impact: “[...] re-use of existing modular equipment when setting-up production systems for new product variants”
ReBORN strongly improves the re-usability of systems in terms of:
• Modularity: Component(s) will be encapsulated as logical modular entities intelligence included on components’ level (Achievement 1)
• Adaptability: Flexible grippers are able to adapt on various product geometries (Achievement 5); adaptable complex grippers will be available (Achievement 2)
• Re-usability and Maintainability: components will contain a self-description (incl. re-use / recycle guidelines), inherent optimization logic (incl. maintenance rules). Thereby, re-use and maintenance decisions are supported on the basis of supplier’s knowledge. (Achievement 1).
• Safety: Less ramp-up errors will prevent manual interventions at machine. Furthermore, safety requirements and information are contained and exposed by ReBORN (Achievement1)

Impact: “ [...] set-up and ramp-up time reduction of around 30% for new or retrofitted plant designs”
ReBORN reduces commissioning effort and ramp-up time for assembly systems by more than 30%:
• Complexity of integrating an entire assembly system will be reduced by higher modularity of components (Achievement 2)
• Modularity of mechanical systems enable fast reconfiguration and adaption of the production line for new products (Achievement 2)
• All capabilities of components will be exposed, allowing an easier integration of the entire production system not only for new but also for existing fabrications (Achievement 3)
• Integrated collaboration of business partners along the added-value chain for more effective communication and precise exchange of production data (Achievement 5)
The time reduction for the first time integration with the ReBORN approach will approximately reach 20%. This will strongly increase starting from the second iteration (>50%).
Furthermore, the collaborative design environment will reduce the integration effort toward upper levels (MES). A module for the integration towards CMF’s existing MES system will be available at the end of the project.
(Project partners will have intelligent components already in place at the end of the project)

Impact: “[...] contribution towards a 100% reuse of production system components in new life cycles”
ReBORN contributes to 100% reuse production components and existing plant layout designs:
• The factory layout design tool and the VERSONs allow monitoring all the production components of the complete production line at the same time (Achievement 4)
• Condition monitoring of all the production components helps to evaluate the degree of usage and to prevent total breakdown and mechanical damages of the components (Achievement 1)
• Standardised KPIs will allow proving the degree of reusability and develop the confidence of end-users to integrate used mechanical components (Achievement 1)
• Refurbishment strategies and related cost calculations will permit to assess the economic viability of the reconfiguration option proposed by the LCA models (Achievement 2)

Impact: “Strengthened global position of European Manufacturing Industry through introduction of the new technologies related to an innovative re-use of equipment based on integrated factory design [...]”
ReBORN strengthens the global position of European Manufacturing Industry by the following new technologies:
• Encapsulation of human expertise and know-how on specific production processes in the VERSONs (Achievement 1) combined with a factory layout design tool (Achievement 4) allow knowledge sharing, best practice exchange and savings in order to be accessible for the European Manufacturing Industry on a service-based approach.
• The on-the-fly integration of low-cost rapid prototyping technologies during the production process will permit to react and adapt to fast market changes and customer demands while keeping the production costs competitive (Achievement 5).
• Refurbishment strategies and related cost calculations will permit to assess the economic viability and decrease the necessary investment costs of a production line (CAPEX) (Achievement 2)
• Continuous monitoring increases the overall equipment efficiency, which leads to shorter down-time and to a decrease of operation (OPEX) (Achievement 1)
New technologies developed in the three former European RTD projects XPRESS, Transparency and EUPASS will be applied and demonstrated in an industrial production environment.

Impact: “Strengthened global position of European Manufacturing Industry through [...] contributions to international standardisation”
ReBORN will contribute to the development of international standardization by the following achievements:
• From the beginning of the project, it is planned to continuously consider the relevant existing standards for the performance of the demonstration activities in industrial environment. The project ReBORN will especially consider the standardization processes of (i) the configuration and communication interface of modular, reusable plug&play devices, (ii) the electrical and mechanical interfaces, (iii) the KPI’s describing the “reusability” of devices and (iv) the factory layout design items for reusable layouts. More details are described in § 3.1.4. A standardisation coordinator will be in charge of this continuous review and in contact with the different standardization committees (Achievement 6).
• A standardized collaborative communication environment will be achieved by developing standardized communication protocols at the different production levels (shopfloor, MES and ERP) (Achievement 3)
• New business models will be developed in the project to describe the economic advantages of the collaboration among suppliers, system integrators and end users (Achievement 5).

The project will further contribute to several impacts listed in work program under the Factory of the Future initiative like:
Knowledge-based business approaches & employment
In addition, the ReBORN project will contribute to the transition of the European machinery industry into a knowledge-based business, and thereby generating added value and a competitive advantage for the European machinery industry. This will be supported by:
• Allowing component suppliers & system integrators to integrate knowledge into their equipment
• Making hidden knowledge of components available for factory optimization / reconfiguration
• Allowing component suppliers & integrators to provide optimization services to end users
The single components will possess the latest available expert knowledge about incorporated actuators and sensors, which will be (logically or physically) stored within the VERSONs components. The added value generated by the inclusion of “expert knowledge” in the system improves the competitiveness, especially of specialized SMEs, which turn from component producers to knowledge suppliers offering services and providing benefits (→Achievement 5).
European manufactures need to provide higher-quality products to their customers to compete with low cost competitors. While hardware is still an important factor, it offers limited potential for market differentiation in the future. In contrast, the ReBORN approach to “embed knowledge” in component and systems offers a big potential for European manufactures to keep and extend their market share, which will then lead to higher employment in Europe.
Safety aspect & improvement of working conditions
Regarding the safety of working staff and the human-machine interface, ReBORN means another important step ahead. The ReBORN support for ramp-up and integration of new elements in systems will significantly reduce the need for manual operations at the machine and thereby reduce the risk of safety issues. The risk of entering wrong data items, causing erroneous system behavior during ramp-up will be mitigated by the optimization and configuration capabilities of the knowledge driven concept. In addition, all interfaces of the ReBORN software tools, especially the wizard for component integration will be designed for maximum user-friendliness and include error indications.

Environment aspects
ReBORN will increase the re-usability and maintainability of components by their capability of process history storing and condition monitoring. Therefore, the life-time of components and machine will be increased, which leads to less waste. The self-description of the components will include recycling guidelines to ensure that this information is always directly accessible and can therefore be followed by end users. In addition to that, the process optimization capabilities of the components contribute to environmental-related optimization goals such as minimum energy consumption or minimum pollution generation.

Economic benefits
Machine tools are capital-intensive investment goods with a high added value and know-how input. Hereafter, some data from the European Machine Tool Association CECIMO. CECIMO represents approximately 1500 industrial enterprises in Europe , over 80% of them are SMEs. CECIMO covers more than 97% of total machine tool production in Europe and more than one third worldwide. The CECIMO countries are expected to reach an output of almost EUR 22 billion in 2012. With 46% market share, Germany is the biggest producer of machine tool among the CECIMO countries. Italy, which accounts more than one fifth of the total output, is at the same time the second biggest manufacturer in the organisation. Switzerland, CECIMO third biggest member country, accounts 12.4% of the total output of 2011. The following places are occupied by Spain and Austria which hold more than 3% each. Production of Spain, Turkey, Czech Republic and the UK in 2011 equals more than 2% of CECIMO total output in each of the countries.
On average, the cost factors in machine tool manufacturing business with their respective share are as follows :
• material (including primary material, intermediate products): ~ 48%
• labour: 27%
• purchase of services: 25%
Based on these assumptions and on the data of Figure 12, the material costs represent around EUR 10 billion per year. A conservative estimation would be that 1-2% of these costs can be saved in the first five years after the end of the project by Re-using, Upgrade and Re-Design of factory strategies as developed in the project ReBORN, which would led to a cost reduction volume of EUR 100 – 200 million per year in Europe. This shows the high potential of economic benefits for the European machine tool industry. This calculation does not include facts like increased market share for European machine and component builders, higher OEE based on faster and better system re-configuration, etc. , which will also be results of the ReBORN approach.
As in any other business, machine tool builders tend to concentrate on the operations which generate the highest added value and profitability, whereas they outsource low cost operations to specialized suppliers. Generally, the following critical stages of production are done in-house: design and development, machining of some parts, final machining, assembly including the subassembly of critical parts such as high precision components, spindle or head constructions, fine tuning and testing (quality assurance).
There is a heavy dependance on external suppliers for many high value added components such as numerical controls and drives, linear guides, spindles, clamps and tooling as well as specific automation components. Some of these parts and accessories are simply bought on the market from multinational companies (a typical example are NC and drives), others are produced by specialized companies working closely with machine tool builders (e.g. clamps and tooling). The most imported products procured from suppliers are electronic components, refrigeration units, hydraulic units and machined structural components. The entire supply chain is present in Europe and is able to deliver high quality components. However, there is an increasing reliance on Asia, namely on Taiwan and Korea for electronic units, on Korea for electronic components, and on Japan for electronic, electrical and control parts. China is also becoming an important supplier.
As material represents nearly half of the costs, machine tool builders are more and more dependant from powerful suppliers which may constrains the profits if they charge too high prices. Recently, serious availability and cost problems in the supply of raw material and components negatively affected the European machine tool industry. Machine tool builders, especially SMEs, are deprived from strategies to offset high costs created by the strong bargaining power of suppliers and the increase in raw material prices. They report that these increases in input prices cannot be easily reflected on final prices as the competition is very high and profit margins are low in the end market. In other cases, small and medium-sized downstream suppliers of machine tools may find themselves exposed to pressure from big companies. Should big customers force them to lower their prices, their small size would give them no other option than to sacrifice their profitability for the sake of keeping their customers.
This situation shows the importance of ReBORN Strategies for Repair, upgrade and re-use of equipment, the (Re-) Design of factory layouts and flexible & adaptable production on shopfloor.

Economic Impact on SMEs
The ReBORN approach significantly strengthens the competitiveness of the SMEs in the machinery sector. From a customer’s point of view, collaboration among the components suppliers and the assembly system integrators based on the end-users input reduces troubles and increases benefits. Therefore, it will not only increase the competitiveness of specialized SMEs, but also along the whole value chain. The project results in systems which exactly fits customer’s requirements enable a much faster ramp-up and reconfiguration during the life-time of the system. This also brings service contracts for SMEs to a new level which in turn reduces the risks in investments.

Impact on future research and innovation activities - ERA / Account taken of other national and inter-national research activities
There are several other national and international initiatives in the manufacturing sector in Europe that will be taken into account during the ReBORN project. Beside active communication with these projects, ReBORN will consider to what extend cooperation or synergies with these initiatives can be established. Close collaboration, exchange and participation with and within the European Technology Platforms (ETP) Manufuture and MINAM will assure not only a widespread dissemination of the results of the ReBORN project but also to synergistic effects on the scientific as well as on the industrial side. The results of the RTD projects within the Framework Programmes (FP6, FP7), EUREKA, ERA-NET (e.g. XPRESS, FRAME, MASMICRO, MICROSAPIENT, TRANSPARENCY, I-RAMP³ etc.) will be taken into account for the implementation and improvement of the ReBORN concept. Also, the project will take opportunity to profit from research and development of national initiatives e.g. „Forschung für die Produktion von morgen“, funded by the German BMBF. Thus, cooperation between the scientific and industrial community in Europe will be strengthened and ReBORN will support the objectives of the European Research Area (ERA).
SEZ is partner in the Enterprise Europe Network with 600 partners in over 40 countries for internationalisation, exploitation of research results and technology transfer. Furthermore, SEZ is part of a network of more than 700 technology transfer centres in over 40 countries, providing services in R&D, consulting, training, evaluation and expert reports. Networking and generated synergies will significantly increase the impact for exploitation of the project results.

Dissemination and/or exploitation of project results, and management of intellectual property

Dissemination of project results
In order to stimulate the partners to take an active role in the dissemination activities, they will be involved in the creation of a Roadmap for Dissemination. For the first half of the project the overall objective of the dissemination activities will be to create interest in the project within the scientific community and in the manufacturing industry. Thus in the first version of the roadmap the partners will define when and how they will engage in general dissemination activities such as presenting the project on their websites, in-house and external fairs, newsletters and annual reports.
Later on in the project the Roadmap for Dissemination will be updated taking into account the publication of scientific publications, presentations at conferences, dedicated presentation for the industry alongside of in-house fairs.
For the last year dedicated workshops alongside in-house fairs and training courses for students will be incorporated in the dissemination strategy.
The Roadmap for Dissemination will include the following means with respect to the different target groups of the dissemination activities:
At the Industrial level: An Industrial Advisory Group will be created at an early stage in the project to disseminate the results and to provide early commercial uptake. In addition, general information on the project will be available via the project website, flyers and articles in partners’ newsletters. As soon as specific (intermediate) results are available which are of interest for exploitation, targeted dissemination activities will be performed at the industrial level. Stakeholders and potential customers will be invited to participate in dedicated events (Demonstration events) alongside in-house fairs and general exhibitions and conferences, thus being able to address a large number of specialists. The use of channels like ETPs (ManuFuture...) or industry associations will also be used to target the industrial audience, by communicating to these channels the project newsletters or general news regularly.
At the Scientific and Academic level: The scientific breakthroughs will be communicated via publications in peer reviewed journals and world-class conferences (e.g. IEEE conferences, International Conference on Flexible Automation & Intelligent Manufacturing, International Conference on Emerging Technologies & Factory Automation, ...). The university and research partners IPA, Uoulu, ISR, UPM, IAF, and UNOTT will integrate the ReBORN results into university courses in the field of manufacturing. This will enable the immediate involvement of the next generation of engineers into the latest technologies of modern manufacturing. They are planning to have doctoral thesis on the research topics.
At the Public level: General information on the project will be disseminated by the partners in order to promote the technology to the wider community by engaging the attention of the professional media, press, radio and TV.
Web site: The ReBORN website will be a major dissemination vehicle for project, technology and product announcements. A part of the website will be available for public access. It will contain information on the project partners, an outline of current research activities, and a calendar of events. In addition, a secure section of the site will enhance inter-working between the project partners.

Exploitation of project results
Co-operation between the partners during and after the end of the project plays an essential role in the successful exploitation of the technology innovations. It is necessary to show for each partner and especially for the SMEs, how they will benefit from the innovative results of the ReBORN project and how they can integrate these results in their future commercial products.
In a first step, the rules for the distribution of the Industrial Properties Rights (IPR) were elaborated in a consortium agreement in order to define a first Exploitation Strategy for the consortium, which will be the basis for the development of an exploitation plan. A knowledge database will be established and updated with the knowledge generated, used and disseminated in the course of the project. This will form an essential input in the Exploitation Plan.
In a series of exploitation workshops (official EC session will be requested for M12; further sessions by SEZ) the partners will identify which results they are interested in to exploit. This foreground will be analysed in detail with respect to the holders of the included background IP as well as the partners’ contributions and different exploitation interests. Based on this the partners will prepare separate agreements considering access rights to knowledge for use outside the project by defining the terms and conditions of this use. However, when inventors are unable themselves to exploit knowledge they have generated in the project, they will be encouraged to license the knowledge more widely to ensure maximum exploitation of the project’s results. The consortium is very aware of the need that the maximum amount of information generated during the project will be disseminated to the appropriate stakeholders, provided that this does not damage partners’ industrial competitiveness or harm any intellectual property applications, as stated in the Consortium Agreement.
A Technology Implementation Plan will be designed which will give the steps for the exploitation of these results in future commercial products considering the following aspects:
1. Advantages of the developed results/technologies: The technological advantages as well as the respective commercial advantages of the ReBORN results will be analysed and benchmarked against conventional systems.
2. Identification of threats and competitors (including regulatory constraints): Possible exploitation barriers (standards, recent submitted patent applications and regulatory aspects) will be identified and their impact assessed to optimise the market entry strategy. The emergence of new competing technologies will be analysed through technology watch activities.
3. Market analysis: The partners will examine the main areas of business, the market structure in the main industrial sectors of application including its customers, end users and competitors. It will give precise information on market size and accessibility.
4. Market strategy and financial forecast: Using all the former gathered information, a suitable market entry strategy will be worked out including a financial forecast of key performance indicators such as Capex and ROI.
5. Action plan and marketing activities: On the basis of the market strategy a precise action plan will be developed and the corresponding marketing materials will be prepared for all partners.
6. Recommendation for future R&D development: The need for future R&D activities will be described and take-up measures will be planned.

List of Websites:
ReBorn website:
ReBorn on LinkedIn:

Partners in the project:

Harms & Wende GmbH & Co. KG. (Coordinator)
Michael Peschl
Phone: +49 - 40 - 1805 1851

Fagor Automation
José Perez
Phone: +34 943719200

Critical Manufacturing SA
Augusto Vilarinho
Phone: +351 229 404 041

Centro Ricerche Fiat
Alessandro Zanella
Phone: +39 0119083336
E-Mail: alessandro.zanella[at]

IEF Werner GmbH
Ulrich Moser
Phone: +49 - 7723 - 925 154

Fraunhofer IPA
Fabian Böttinger
Phone: +49 - 711 - 970 1271

Eduardo Herrmann
Phone: +49 - 721 - 935 19113

Hochschule Karlsruhe Technik und Wirtschaft, IAF
Norbert Link
Phone: +49 721 925 2350

University of Oulu
Juha Röning
Phone: +358-40-5181621

Loughborough University
Niels Lohse

Gabor Horvath
Phone: +36 (0) 20 99 29 628

Institute of Systems and Robotics
Gil Goncalves
Phone: + 351 22 508 1539

ISG Industrielle Steuerungstechnik GmbH
Ulrich Eger
Phone: +49 711 22 99 231 or
Phone: +49 175 54 51 673

Polytechnic University of Madrid
Alicia Larena
Phone: +34 913363181

Martin Frauenfelder
Phone:+41 32 613 31 50

Frank Zeugin
Phone:+41 266 706 766

Technax Industrie SAS
Didier Faure
Phone:+33 478 90 01 61


Ralf Bothfeld, (General Manager)
Tel.: +49 407669040
Record Number: 194626 / Last updated on: 2017-02-09