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Production harmonizEd Reconfiguration of Flexible Robots and Machinery

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - PERFoRM (Production harmonizEd Reconfiguration of Flexible Robots and Machinery)

Reporting period: 2017-04-01 to 2018-09-30

The EU HORIZON2020 project PERFoRM is targeting the current need for increasing flexibility and reconfigurability in the manufacturing domain. This trend is caused by the increasing demand for more customised, but cheaper and higher quality products by the customer, as well as the necessity for the manufacturer to produce without delays or breakdowns to reduce production costs.
During the last few years, these topics have been addressed in several research activities, where important technologies and standards have been researched and partially implemented in a prototype manner. But while it was possible to showcase promising results on laboratory and test bed level, these technologies haven’t been widely adopted in the industrial world.
PERFoRM is aiming to overcome existing barriers and consolidate these research results by integrating them into a common reference automation and control architecture, that can be deployed into existing production environments. To achieve this overall goal, a harmonisation and standardisation of existing research and innovation results is being carried out to select suitable technologies and corresponding components (HW/SW) and systems. An essential research and innovation task is focussed on finding the right technologies to establish an adequate middleware, which is able to link industrial field devices with components and systems of the upper IT-levels of an ISA´95-compliant enterprise automation and control architecture, such as MES and ERP.
The outcomes of the project research and innovation activities will be validated in a three phases process (development, implementation and test), starting with prototypes developed and proved in labs of the academic and research partners, transferring those prototypes to testbeds located at MTC and SmartFactory, and finally implementing the solutions in real industrial scenarios guaranteeing to achieve TRL 5-7. These scenarios are representative application domains covering a broad spectrum from the production of White Goods (Whirlpool), to automotive production (IFEVS/Polimodel), production of Machines/Compressors (Siemens) till manufacturing in the Aerospace area (GKN).
The PERFoRM project developed a new generation of agile manufacturing systems based on a plug-and-produce concept, in order to cope with smaller lot sizes and shorter lead time and time-to-market.
Core of the project has been the development of a common reference architecture that supports flexible CPS for true plug and produce devices, robots and machines architecture. Within this system architecture a middleware establishes the communication between humans, machinery and robots. The middleware has been developed, tested by two testbed facilities and implemented in four industrial use cases at Siemens compressor manufacturing, e-District electric vehicle manufacturing, GKN aerospace components and Whirlpool microwave oven manufacturing. Technology adaptors have been developed to integrate legacy systems into the architecture and to connect them to the middleware. Furthermore a number of services, methods and tools for data analytics, simulation, visualization, scheduling and decision support have been developed in order to exploit the data that was made available by the connected machinery.
In order to finally achieve an industrial application of Industry 4.0 a migration strategy to support the migration of legacy systems into Industry 4.0-compliant manufacturing infrastructures has been developed. The seamless, secure and effective integration of humans into flexible CPS and integration strategies for agent-based technologies into industrial practice were key outcomes of the project as well.
Continuously the dissemination, exploitation and standardization of the project results were conducted with a specific focus to maximize business impact, community building and technology standardization. The dissemination, exploitation and standardization covers publishing of academic papers and book chapters and a complete book of the PERFoRM project as well as active participation in various renowned conferences, invention disclosures, patents and collaboration with standardization bodies.
The work carried out throughout PERFoRM resulted in the following outcomes:
1. A reference architecture based on ISA’95 standard
2. A standard-compliant middleware based on existing technologies like OPC-UA, B2MML.
3. A migration approach and associated methodology to retrofitting existing production automation systems with PERFoRM outcomes
4. Implemented and running testbeds and industrial demonstrators for proving the achievement of TRL 5-7
5. A book supporting spreading project results at research, academic and industrial levels.
6. A set of lab-demonstrators to support the introduction of PerForm-results into the academic/teaching-curricula in representative European universities and institutes
7. Process to integrate perform results into the Portfolio of solutions of project industrial partners
8. Positioning of PerForm´s results into the Patent-Ecosystem to guarantee increasing the industrial impact of the project
9. A set of Master- and PhD-Thesis addressing project Research and Innovation topics.
PERFoRM Framework
PERFoRM Logo Color