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Cloud-based Situational Analysis for Factories providing Real-time Reconfiguration Services

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - SAFIRE (Cloud-based Situational Analysis for Factories providing Real-time Reconfiguration Services)

Reporting period: 2018-04-01 to 2019-09-30

Manufacturing of products nowadays has become increasingly complex and it needs to be flexible due to an increasing diversity of product use and product portfolios, customer demand for more customised products and shorter time-to-market requirements. To face these challenges, there is a need for, on the one hand, adaptive and smart manufacturing systems and products with features for intelligent reconfiguration of production processes and products and, on the other hand, for feedback from product use to production and design stages. In order to improve the manufacturability and reconfigurability of products, the product designers need to have more information about how the product use affects the life cycle of a product and how the design of the product affects the production processes. Currently, product use and product production activities are often separated, which is leading to low efficiency and high costs for both users and manufacturers, especially for those acting at the global market. Some of these required optimisations can be carried out by adjusting control and others require the reconfiguration of products.

The SAFIRE project has addressed two related technology challenges for factories of the future that present new opportunities for improving production, products and services: 1) Interconnected Systems of Production Systems within smart manufacturing environments that have hardware and software requirements to achieve specific business objectives e.g. scheduling, power consumption, throughput, and maintenance; and 2) Connected Product Networks where networked smart products collect data, can be adapted in the field, and can deliver extended services to customers through optimisation of smart product performance parameters and customisation of products to environments, usage patterns and other dynamic factors.

Key outcomes of the project have been the development of cloud-based analytics and reconfiguration capabilities with both reactive and predictive reconfiguration for both production systems and smart products, providing flexible run-time reconfiguration decisions during production rather than pre-planned at production planning time, and real-time reconfiguration decisions for optimisation of performance and real-time production and product functions. By performing reconfiguration in the cloud, continuous optimisation of the system has been achieved, which enables far better reconfiguration control and accuracy than if performed in either a pre-planned or online manner.
The research and development tasks finalising the full prototypes of each of the SAFIRE components of Predictive Analytics, Situation Determination, Optimisation, and Security Framework, have been completed and also integration to create the final SAFIRE Integrated Cloud Analysis and Reconfiguration Platform. The early prototype technologies were made available to the industrial Business Case (BC) partners to provide first feedback and suggestions during developments, while in the final months, the final prototypes and the integrated platform were used by the BC partners to create industrial demonstrators that exploit the new project capabilities for manufacturing and smart products. The demonstrators were used to undertake the final testing and assessment of the SAFIRE platform within real industrial environments and to quantify the improvements provided.

The integrated SAFIRE platform and the methodologies deployed for its use in manufacturing and smart products have been described in the final technology deliverables, which will be made public upon approval by the European Commission, along with the open source distribution of all of the SAFIRE project technologies. The industrial evaluations have demonstrated important improvements for each of the three industrial domains targeted by the project, which will motivate others to access and exploit the open source technologies, in parallel to the exploitation actions that are being taken by each of the project partners. Detailed action plans have been established by partners for continued development of the prototypes to make them market ready as commercial products and services. The exploitation planning has been finalised with a clear overall strategy and individual plans for exploitation to be undertaken by each partner that will provide substantial benefits for European manufacturers and their technology providers.
The project has developed a new methodologies for reconfiguration and optimisation of products and factories based on predictive big-data analytics, which is enabled by new innovations in security, privacy & trust and situational awareness. The methodology addresses technical and organisational issues for extension and introduction of such novel big-data based situationally aware tools/services for reconfiguration and optimisation of factories / products. In order to assure that the methods and tools that have been developed meet the needs of the user companies, the project has been driven by 3 business cases within globally distributed enterprises in the consortium. The project has made available an integrated platform in open source that provides new methods and tools for factory and smart product optimisation, and has validated these technologies to Technology Readiness Level 6 with demonstrations of the technologies being applied for optimisation of specific production equipment, plant level production optimisations, and optimisation and reconfiguratoin of smart products for home/professional kitchens.

Benefits such as novel combination of advanced technological solutions will bring considerable benefits to the three manufacturing companies in the project in terms of reducing time to market in building new and / or upgrading existing products and machines/equipment as well as services around their products as different manufacturability, environmental and final-product mass customisation aspects are more effectively taken into account. The approach will allow for considerable improvements in knowledge sharing across product design, manufacturing and product-service life-cycle, as well as new and better product-service offerings addressing customer needs. The project results will strengthen the global competitiveness of European manufacturing companies in the FoF business field. As the three companies in the consortium, serving as a reference for development on new tools, are typical manufacturing companies, producing mass customised product manufacturing, such benefits for the companies assure a large potential market for the new engineering environment and tools, which in turn will strengthen competitiveness of the ICT companies in the project.