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Protocols and Strategies for extending the useful Life of major capital investments and Large Industrial Equipment

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - LEVEL-UP (Protocols and Strategies for extending the useful Life of major capital investments and Large Industrial Equipment)

Reporting period: 2021-04-01 to 2022-09-30

The ‘take-make-dispose’ consumption model is affecting production assets, reason for which industry is promoting the transition to circular economy (CE). Nowadays, the deployment of digital technologies, connectivity and related large amounts of data, offers to companies the opportunity to retrofit their legacy equipment which cannot meet the constantly increasing market demands. However, industry is still lacking an efficient systemic multi-level approach to enable cost-effective, holistic, and integrated application of circular principles to the digital uplifting of factory 4.0 capital investments.
LEVEL-UP aims to develop a holistic operational and refurbishment framework applicable both to new and existing manufacturing equipment addressing issues at product, process, system as well as the entire value-chain levels, integrating best practices from emerging enabling digital technologies to achieve dynamic utilization and maintenance with upgraded remedial actions for sustainability. It offers a scalable platform covering the overall lifecycle, ranging from the modernization and CPSization actions to diagnose and predict the operation of physical assets, their digital twin set-up and the refurbishment and remanufacturing activities towards their End-off-Life (EoL). In-situ repair technologies and the redesign for new upgraded components are facilitated via virtual simulations for increased performance and lifetime. LEVEL-UP comprises new hardware and software components interfaced with the current facilities through IoT and data-management platforms, while being orchestrated through 10 Circularity Protocols, digitally implemented as the Digital Thread tool. LEVEL-UP’s solution is demonstrated in the operational environment of 7 different pilot lines around Europe including vertical lathes, milling & grinding machines, transfer presses, woodworking machines, a pultrusion line, an extrusion line and CNC equipment.
The main key activities and results achieved until the end of the 2nd Reporting Period are the following:
- Achieving the consortium’s wide understanding of the 7 pilot lines AS-IS scenario (pilot lines status at the beginning of the project) and the TO-BE scenario (desired pilot lines status at the demonstration phase), and the requirements needed to accomplish such level.
- Reviewing and updating all the pilot lines requirements.
- Achieving the consortium’s wide understanding of the LEVEL-UP Platform, formed by several components (CPsization, Data analytics, Digital Twins or Remedial actions).
- Defining and applying the guidelines for the 10 LEVEL-UP Circularity Protocols. Evaluation of the different pilot lines, finding the best solution in each case to apply, optimize and standardize the protocols.
- Modernization and machinery CPSisation activities were performed in the 7 pilot lines.
- Mapping, developing and testing of all components on the 8 LEVEL-UP Strategies.
- Defining LEVEL-UP strategies to improve operational and maintenance procedures.
- Developing models and Digital Twins for defective parts, machines and whole production lines.
- Developing and testing a general level ROA-model.
- Developing and testing customized models (ROA) for two companies.
- Developing, improving and testing of the Digital Thread Tool (
- Developing 3 tools for end-of-life management and decision support for reverse supply chain: environmental assessment tool, repair tool, End-of-life tool.
- Implementing the 3 tools for end-of-life management and decision support inside 4 pilot lines.
- Studying the different challenges within each pilot line to find an applicable solution using technologies present in Level-Up. The solutions proposed and executed were inspection, remanufacturing, upgrade, repair and end-of-life management.
- Integrating the defined sensors, CPs and gateways as well as the newly created Level-Up components into the pilot lines, achieving TRL6 for all pilot lines.
- Complying with dissemination, standardization and exploitation tasks: increasing followers and connections, creating new sections and updates on to the website, posting new videos on the project’s YouTube channel, attending of events and new publications, and creating press releases and newsletters.
The LEVEL-UP platform encompasses different blocks formed by the Edge services, the Data sharing infrastructure, the Cloud services and enterprise resources and the Repairability services. All LEVEL-UP components, technologies and services developed are linked through its own system, including the refurbishment, remanufacturing and upgrade framework that will allow the implementation of Reactive, Coordination and Cognitive functions through smart services.
The Reactive Functions are intended for fast reaction and close machine operation. The Cognitive Functions are intended for rich condition, quality, and sensitivity monitoring, quality prediction, and suitable production strategy identification. The Coordination functions are the critical element closing LEVEL-UP’s loop, bringing to life Call for remedial actions in the form of specific refurbishment, repair, remanufacturing and upgrade tasks through concrete dynamic production plans and production control.
Potential impacts:
- Life time extension of the targeted large machinery and plants by at least 20%.
- Increased return on investment from major capital items.
- Material and resource efficiency increased by at least 10%.
- Creation of novel roles and professions for CE pathway for manufacturing.