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Digital Dynamic Knowledge Platform for Welding in Manufacturing Industries

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - WeldGalaxy (Digital Dynamic Knowledge Platform for Welding in Manufacturing Industries)

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

Welding is a mature and well-established industrial domain with extensive involvement in almost any type of manufacturing. Yet, significant improvements in terms of costs, efficiency, environmental impact and innovation capability can still be reached if a dynamic knowledge management platform with an innovative evolving database integrated with smart function analytics and AI is used.
WeldGalaxy project aims at delivering a transparent and dynamic knowledge-based B2B online Platform that brings together global buyers (end-users/OEM) and EU sellers (manufacturers/suppliers/distributors/service providers) of arc welding equipment along with auxiliaries/consumables and services. This will enhance the visibility of EU’s arc welding products/prototypes/services to global users (via digital marketing strategies) and provide innovative web-based services (e.g. equipment selection and inventory management, digital design/testing of equipment capabilities) to boost EU market share and competitiveness.
The highlights of what has been achieved so far are:
• Forming an advisory board within the WeldGalaxy project. Its members play a crucial role in advising the consortium on the relevance of the various technical and exploitation activities as well as to review the progress of all activities within the project.
• Profiling the project and shaping the image. Promotional materials such as flyers, and a roll up banner were produced to promote the objectives of the project (to include the OIC calls). Media amplification was achieved via the project website, LinkedIn, twitter, Facebook, press releases and presenting the project at several events.
• Defining the first exploitation plan for WeldGalaxy. This has been achieved as the result of business research performed during the first year of the project. The research included analysis of the welding market ecosystem, typical business processes and drivers, and the possibilities of using the WeldGalaxy platform to add value and create commercial benefits for the welding industry stakeholders.
• Defining the WeldGalaxy platform technical and functional requirements. This was carried out as part of WP1 activities and completed at the end of the first iteration of the project.
• Designing and populating WeldGalaxy Database (WGDB). This was achieved in WP 2 by analysing, migrating and transforming TWI data sources for data modelling and WGDB population and storage.
• Developing the KBE tool. This was achieved by acquiring, representing and transforming the knowledge, using as a main source, TWI data, into scalable machine readable-format to which rules were applied and optimised for the case of Aluminium in the aerospace and automotive sectors in this first iteration.
• Developing the DLT sub-platform of WeldGalaxy. Following the work carried out to identify key potential business use cases for WeldGalaxy platform, the WeldGalaxy DLT/blockchain architecture which supports integration of multiple distributed applications implemented as Self Sovereign Applications (SSApps) was developed. The first phase of implementation, integration and testing of distributed applications and smart contracts over Distributed Ledger Technology platform has all also been carried out.
• Developing the WeldGalaxy Chatbot. This was achieved as part of WP5 activities by developing a Natural Language Processing (NLP) engine in several languages, the chatbot dialog engine and the chatbot web messenger with speech recognition support. Moreover, an initial integration with the KBE API was realised.
• Developing the powerful simulation capabilities of WeldGalaxy. The FlowPhys CWM module based on a transient 3D non-linear thermo-elasto-plastic finite element algorithm for general geometries was developed based on the physics being solved in a sequential manner: first a thermal analysis, then a microstructural analysis, then a mechanical analysis within each equilibrium time step iteration.
• Integrating WeldGalaxy components into the DKM platform. This was achieved in an iterative and agile approach to support a better testing and debugging process. The integration was achieved for all components of WeldGalaxy except for the numerical simulation module which should be integrated during the second iteration of the project.
• Showcasing WeldGalaxy platform. An initial WeldGalaxy demonstrator that showcases the different software components connection and intelligent layer under a single point of entrance was demonstrated during the participation at the CAE conference (held in Italy in October 2019)
• Launching the 1st round of the Open Innovation Calls. The first OIC was launched on the 16th March 2020 with a proposal submission deadline of the 29th May. The OIC was advertised using different platforms (EC portal, FBOX dedicated website, WeldGalaxy website, webinars, LinkedIn etc.).
IWeldGalaxy project aims to progress beyond the state of art by integrating innovative services and technologies such as AI Chatbot, an advanced dynamic Knowledge-Based Engineering (KBE) tool which utilizes intelligent welding rules for the users, Analytics, Simulations and secure automatic tender processes, based on blockchain technologies. From the data aspect, large data-sets of welding knowledge are harnessed to facilitate and support 3rd party projects through open-innovation competitions.

The expected results are:
1. Complete WeldGalaxy platform
2. WeldGalaxy database (WGDB)
3. DLT-sub-platform
4. WeldGalaxy simulation module
5. KBE module
6. Chatbot module
7. Results from 25 third-party projects via the OICs, integrated into the platform.

In terms of expected impacts, this project will deliver WeldGalaxy, a knowledge based B2B online platform that brings together global buyers and EU sellers of arc welding equipment, consumables and services, enhancing the visibility of EU’s welding products and services to global users and providing innovative web-based services to boost EU market share and competitiveness.

WeldGalaxy will enable its users: a) to perform smart contracts without the expense of legal advisers; b) to better manage inventory, leading to increased uptime; c) to purchase the best products for the application, thereby reducing scrap and waste due to poor performance and unwanted errors; d) to maintain equipment, hence limiting failures and unscheduled maintenance/downtime; e) to facilitate the digital design and development of ‘plug and produce’ innovative welding equipment meeting their changing needs.

It is estimated that the cumulative impact of the benefits stated above will result in at least a 15% reduction in production cost and up to 25% increase in productivity in key industry sectors including construction, automotive, aerospace and shipbuilding.