The goal of this project is to develop a reusable software architecture (framework) for the process automation of rolling mills. Currently process automation software is rewritten from scratch for every new rolling mill, in spite of the fact that up to 70% of such systems could be reused. Using our framework, new process automation systems can be developed by customising this framework to the special needs of a particular rolling mill. This will cut down the software development costs by 40-60% and will give European manufacturers a clear advantage over their competitors on both time-to-market and quality. Key competitors are located in the Far East and in the USA.
Frameworks are a promising application of object-oriented technology that promote the reuse, extensibility and maintainability of software. Frameworks are well-established in the area of system software (graphical user interfaces, editors, operating systems) but hardly used for industrial projects so far. The application of frameworks to an industrial domain is one of the novel aspects of the proposed project.
The partners have been selected in order to maximise the outcome of the project by contributing with the following complementary skills:
- Domain knowledge in process automation systems (UNI SOFTWARE PLUS, Johannes Kepler University Linz) and especially for rolling mills (Mandator AB, Siemens AG, Voest-Apline Stahl Linz GmbH).
- Techniques like machine learning and constraint logic programming (UNI SOFTWARE PLUS, Mandator AB).
- Software engineering knowledge, especially experience in the development of frameworks, design patterns and components (Johannes Kepler University Linz, University of Hamburg, Siemens AG).
- Skills in modelling software development processes (University of Hamburg).
The main deliverables are a framework for process automation of hot rolling mills (including quality assurance aspects) a sample process automation system derived from the framework, as well as enhanced and new concepts, technical guidelines, and tools that support the process of framework development and adaptation.
The industrial partners are not only developers but also users in this project. This guarantees that the framework will be developed according to user needs. It will also lead to an immediate exploitation of the results by the industrial partners. Exploitation will already begin in the last phase of the project when the framework will be used to derive a process automation system according to a client specification. This will verify the usability and soundness of the framework. Any intellectual property rights resulting from this work will be subject to special license agreements among the partners.
The project REFORM will thus apply modern software engineering techniques (object-oriented frameworks) to the development of a reusable process automation architecture for rolling mills.
Funding SchemeCSC - Cost-sharing contracts
101 26 Stockholm