Skip to main content

European Connected Factory Platform for Agile Manufacturing

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - eFactory (European Connected Factory Platform for Agile Manufacturing)

Reporting period: 2019-01-01 to 2020-06-30

The project federates a smart factory ecosystem interlinking 4 smart factory platforms through an open and interoperable Data Spine addressing the fragmentation of solutions available to European companies by coordinating and orchestrating existing functionalities through a federation layer developed in the project. To achieve a critical mass that can set up an ecosystem, the base platforms are complemented with industrial platforms, collaboration tools and smart factory systems and their user communities. The barriers to innovation due to the dispersed nature of existing solutions and issues concerning seamless access, privacy, interoperability and lack of testbeds or experimentation facilities are overcome providing the infrastructure, tools and support for novel service creation and validations by third parties. Experimentation facilities and funding is provided to SMEs to support innovation in different areas of digital manufacturing.
The federated platform provides opportunities for open innovation, agile collaborations and new developments and delivers societal and economic value in terms of creation of new jobs and start-ups in the digital manufacturing space, enhancements of digital skill levels and safer environment for the workforce in the manufacturing sector, better economic conditions for manufacturing companies, opportunities for new business activities and more stakeholders' engagement.
Project Objectives:
Form a technology platform for cross-organisational and cross-sectorial integration with embedded intelligence and embodied tools and services to create an industrial ecosystem in Europe
To enable SMEs to develop and/or integrate different technologies, unlock the value of their data, deploy complementary applications, and to become a more responsive to changing value-chains
Extensible Marketplace Framework to interlink tool and App stores through intelligent service discovery, match-making and recommendation mechanisms
Ecosystem creation through piloting and large-scale experimentation, including financial and technical support for the creation and experimentation of agile value networks
Realisation of scenarios for the extensions, maintenance and sustainability of federated platform and its ecosystem
Develop a comprehensive adoption strategy to attract large number of companies to the ecosystem
The project is on track with KPIs achieved, deliverables submitted on time, 7 meetings organised and risks evaluated and periodic WP calls are organised. COVID has impacted only some pilot related activities. The project has processed an amendment in the DoA.
The requirements gathering and architecture definition have been completed as well as the definition and the implementation of interoperation challenges, whose results, together with the pilot and platform requirements, have provided the necessary impetus for developing the Data Spine and other federation services in the platform. The technical developments in the project are guided by an agile methodology supported by relevant systems such as JIRA and GitLab. Monthly milestones are setup and its developments are monitored in weekly Scrum calls. The partners have provided standardisation plans describing potential contributions towards ongoing standardisation activities.
The setup of the Data Spine was influenced by the Platform Interoperation Challenge exercise. The core Data Spine functionality has been implemented through open-source technology.
The federation services are those that take advantage of the interconnectivity enabled by the Data Spine to provide new functionalities in the platform including the portal, federation search, business and network intelligence service and have been implemented. The refinements and enhancements in the federation services are on going to meet the technical requirements and make them more usable by the users
The marketplaces of the base platforms are interlinked through the Data Spine and are accessible through a unified interface portal. An accountancy service is implemented and transactions are carried out
A range of digital tools and services are implemented and many are already accessible. Most of them serve generic needs and offer the reusability potential beyond the piloting phase.
The COVID provoked the decision to develop pilot applications in labs and then ship them to the pilot partners with manuals and support procedures.
Plans and necessary procedures to run and manage the open call experimentation have been drafted and communicated to the EC.
The European Factory Foundation, composed of 12 founding members committed to promote and exploit the platform, has been set up as an Austrian non-profit association.
The website includes details, overview of the key value propositions and pilot scenarios, and a blog updated on a monthly basis including videos. Social media is updated on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. The project has established the Digital Manufacturing Platform cluster with similar projects. Some workshops have been organised to clarify the IPR issues agree on the use of different platforms, tools and services in the federation.
The project has provided demonstrations of connecting the architectural aspects of different platforms and the support for cross-platform business processes will soon be demonstrated. The already established interoperable Data Spine will soon be validated.
The project enhances the agility of the targeted value networks by providing tools for process optimization, intelligence and data sharing and process orchestration. Actual implementations are available to the pilot partners through the portal. Technical maturity and usability enhancements are to be developed
The project provides support for a product/supply chain service/ICT service and open marketplace where new partners can be included in already established processes. Achievements in this area are made through the realisation of the integrated marketplace framework and implementation of the federation services. Other advancements aimed for real time shop-floor data integration into the supply chain collaborations are under development
The project relies on the base platforms to support the interoperability of data within the platform and with other platforms through the interoperable Data Spine. The interoperability mechanisms to support the integration of sensor, CPS and process data across multiple platforms are being implemented for demonstration through piloting activities
The project leverages blockchain technology to ensure trust, security and automated exchange of supply chain data among all authorized actors. Blockchain based applications are being developed for the pilot partners.
The project matchmaking functionality is implemented through a search mechanism that finds partners, products and services within the federation. Agent-based search and negotiation techniques are developed and integrated and will enable the automatic negotiations over the marketplace.
Cloud Manufacturing is supported by porting successful results from previous projects related to factory connectivity and shop-floor automation systems.
The characteristics of existing platforms are consolidated into a holistic federated platform. The Data Spine adds the extensibility aspect to the federated platform, allowing the integration of other platforms and collaboration tools to be offered through a unified user experience through the open-call mechanism