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Cloudification of Production Engineering for Predictive Digital Manufacturing

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - CloudiFacturing (Cloudification of Production Engineering for Predictive Digital Manufacturing)

Reporting period: 2018-10-01 to 2020-03-31

Information and Communication Technology (ICT) is essential for the digitalization of the manufacturing sector; notwithstanding, less than 25% of the manufacturing companies in Europe profit from ICT-enabled solutions. In order to democratically boost the competitiveness of the European manufacturers (especially Small and Medium-sized Enterprises - SMEs), innovative solutions need to consider technological and commercial scalability from the beginning.

CloudiFacturing is a multi-strand project whose mission is: to optimize production processes and manufacturability using Cloud/HPC-based modelling and simulation, leveraging online factory data and advanced data analytics, thus contributing to the competitiveness and resource efficiency of manufacturing SMEs, ultimately fostering the vision of Factories 4.0 and the circular economy. Manufacturing SMEs are empowered to compute and solve problems that cannot be tackled without cloud and HPC technology, making them more competitive by reducing development times for innovative product with better performance.

CloudiFacturing is building on the results of two preceding I4MS projects, namely CloudFlow and CloudSME, technically aiming at an integrated platform creating synergies and providing more flexibility to end users by not just using HPC or Cloud Computing but by giving them the possibility to combine and bridge both options to the benefits of their cloudified workflows.
In order to address the objectives, work has been conducted in the following areas
- the CloudiFacturing Solution matured considerably by unifying the technology stacks and addressing requirements and feedback from the experiments.
- the first and second wave experiments were successfully completed. Their economic impacts were analysed and assessed.
- we conducted our second Open Call for soliciting experiments for wave 3. The call was a huge success as many proposals were submitted.
- the selected experiments of the third wave were launched just before end of period 2.
... for the experiments
a) The end-user perspective: from the end users’ point of view all experiments go beyond their current state of the art because they perform use cases that have not been implemented in these companies so far. Thus, they clearly have experimental character for those companies and go beyond their current state of play.
b) In many cases the VARs, ISVs and/or Competence Centres supporting the experiment(s) have come-up with beyond-SotA approaches, in addition, that push the edge of current technical possibilities.
c) The first wave of seven experiments estimated an economic impact after one year and after five years w.r.t. new jobs, increased turnover, enhanced products / new services, etc.

... for the platform
With the CloudiFacturing Solution end users will gain access to all of the technologies with just a single set of credentials, including central billing and invoicing, data management, and software execution. For an end user who merely consumes executable artefacts on the CloudiFacturing platform, there is no notice of the initial two technology stacks. Furthermore, ISVs are able to implement software using different technology and at the same time make use elastic cloud computing and high-perfomance computing resources in a secure manner. This enlarges the possible breadth and variety of software solutions, benefiting both ISVs and end users. The HPC services provides a secure infrastructure-as-a-service solution which is easily portable between HPC providers and allows for bidirectional communication with running HPC jobs through web interfaces. Singularity-based containerization of the software deployed on the HPC cluster increases the flexibility of ISVs and avoids vendor lock-in. Adapters to different cloud resource providers are also available in the platform.

... for the Digital Marketplace
The CloudiFacturing Digital Marketplace complements the concept of a one-stop-shop with the concept of community. This combination of marketplace and community, coined agora, is very unique in the context of cloud-based solutions for manufacturing SMEs. By relying on the concept of agora, we will be able build and cultivate a community, where interested manufacturing SMEs will be able to have a source of know-how and also the possibility to interact with peers, who are looking for similar solutions or who have solved similar challenges. We believe that the concept of agora and the foreseen development behind the Digital Marketplace will allow us to bring the technology a step closer to the practitioners, while also giving us more ways to interact with them and to improve their user experience and their satisfaction, which we hope to successfully convert into more adopters.
CloudiFacturing: Overall concept