Smart Human Oriented Platform for Connected Factories

Smart Human Oriented Platform for Connected Factories
Summary

SHOP4CF aims to find the right balance between cost-effective automation, repetitive tasks and involve the human workers in areas such as adaptability, creativity and agility where they create the biggest added value. Also to pursue the highly-connected factory model to reap the benefits of all the data generated within the factory.


Tapping into those data streams and human capital requires creating favorable technological, economical and societal conditions. SHOP4CF will do so by relying on the following:

  • A platform developed on an open architecture encompassing technologies based on RAMI 4.0 and FIWARE Technologies which can support humans in production activities and providing basic implementation as a free, open-source solution. Including 30 components developed within SHOP4CF project by top RTOs from all over Europe.
  • Implementing pilots acting as the testing facilities and seeds for adoption of the platform. 4 large scale pilots lead by industrial leaders in Europe and 30 FSTP Pilots selected through 5 competitive open calls that will receive technical, business and access to investment support.
  • A marketplace as one-stop-shop for SMEs (developers and end users) to access essential services for digital transformation including business modelling, technical support, access to skills and finance.
  • Building a vibrant and growing community around the platform necessary to create the adoption critical mass.
  • Leading pre-standardization activities in the areas of collaborative robotics, AGVs and use of IoT devices on the shopfloor.

SHOP4CF will continue its operations with a self-sustainable non-profit association with members all over Europe that could be integrated with the one created by DIH2 project. SHOP4CF will demonstrate that public funded research can help SMEs & Mid-Caps achieve digital excellence and global competitiveness through adopting advanced robotics solutions in human-centric digitalization

More information
Web resources: https://cordis.europa.eu/project/id/873087
Start date: 01-01-2020
End date: 31-12-2023
Total budget - Public funding: 16 180 681,00 Euro - 15 008 467,00 Euro
Call topic: Digital Manufacturing Platforms for Connected Smart Factories_2 (DT-ICT-07-2019)
Twitter: @Shop4Cf
Location

This is a set of Specific Objectives and Research & Innovation Objectives that is subject to a consultation in preparation of the Made In Europe Partnership.  For more guidance about the consultation, please see www.effra.eu/made-in-europe-state-play.

    Comment:

    SHOP4CF is an EU-funded project within the eighth framework programme Horizon 2020 aiming to create a unique infrastructure that allows the easy deployment of human-centric industrial applications. In this context, twenty partners work on a comprehensive software platform allowing to conveniently obtain and deploy a wide range of components selected to cover a broad spectrum of industrial requirements especially in the context of modern, flexible and data-rich manufacturing. The overall vision of SHOP4CF is that tomorrow's production will require both machine capabilities like high accuracy, precision, or endurance and human assets such as creativity, adaptability, or tactile sense. All components considered in SHOP4CF aim at the mutual complementarity of human workers and machines.  

    In order to facilitate rapid adoption, great emphasis is placed on user-friendliness, reusability, interconnectivity and accessibility, which is achieved mainly through two key elements: (1) Digital marketplace: components can be conveniently obtained by a web-based interface, (2) unified platform: all components are developed using a single point of integration to ensure a high degree of interconnectivity and compatibility

      Comment:

      The basic idea behind the digital platform developed in SHOP4CF is that a high degree of simplicity in setting up automating processes allows humans to focus more on the problem-solving task where their creativity comes into play. To this end, a unique infrastructure is developed that serves as a single point of integration to easily deploy, orchestrate, and develop components that cover a wide range of different tasks in modern manufacturing environments. The idea of achieving a high degree of reusability is similar to the open source software movement and can lead to high cost efficiency and low access barriers to solutions from competitors. This modern approach is an appealing alternative to the classical approach of rebuilding solutions to specific problems from scratch. To make this vision work, a highly modular approach is envisaged, from which people can creatively select and combine modules until the problem is addressed without being overwhelmed by technical issues. We believe that this approach can significantly accelerate human-driven innovation in manufacturing process design. 

      SHOP4CF strives to build a holistic ecosystem that facilitates communication, collaboration, knowledge and technology transfer in a community that includes SMEs, universities, research institutes and system integrators.  

      It is worth noting that non-classical approaches (an example for an classical approaches is the rigid programming of industrial robots), which involve humans as an essential part, usually require advanced, interdisciplinary methods. Hence, knowledge transfer takes place not only between component developers, but also between disciplines within universities and research institutes to develop techniques based on other disciplines:  

      • Biology (e.g., employing (spiking) neural networks),  

      • Psychology (e.g., reinforcement learning) 

      • Physics (e.g., advanced models for digital twins to simulate real world dynamics) 

      The concept behind SHOP4CF can have a strong positive impact on the labour market as people in manufacturing are not simply replaced by automated processes but gain new importance as a complement to machines.  However, another implication is that new rules are being developed within SHOP4CF to address novel issues related to privacy, security, safety, legal aspects, or data ownership. It is worth noting that a successful digital platform that meets the described requirements can significantly increase the level of automation and maintain the competitive edge of European companies in the manufacturing sector. 

      Comment:

      Utilisation of human capabilities like abstract reasoning and the optimization of human-machine collaboration are the most important targets of SHOP4CF. In many industrial applications, human labour keeps playing an important role even in repeatable and non-creative tasks. Many of these tasks require monotonous motions leading to increased fatigue and a lack of attention. This in turn leads to more accidents, ultimately resulting in increased stress of the worker.  

      To mitigate such challenges, a set of augmented / virtual reality tools were developed in various projects by different partners associated in the SHOP4CF project. Those components include, for example, virtual planning of safety behaviour, augmented reality projection of assembly instructions or digital twins of production lines to monitor the condition. The relevance of those tools has been already validated in different research projects and verified in various research scenarios.  

      In SHOP4CF, the results of different research initiatives focused on the investigation of augmented / virtual reality methods in manufacturing environments will be combined into a unified platform (c.f. point R&I Objective 4.5).

      Comment:

      One of the main ambitions of SHOP4CF is to develop a human-oriented technological platform in order to support human workers in the production activities of the manufacturing industry. This platform will provide technological solutions that will improve the well-being and working conditions of human workers, automatizing monotonous and exhaustive tasks and increasing their productivity due to technological support.  

      In order to contribute to the human-robot collaboration on the shop floor, SHOP4CF develops and integrates components and supporting tools to the platform that lead to a great support in the different stages of the manufacturing process.  The set of components will provide functionalities related to IoT, robotics, AI, Big Data and HMI. Moreover, the supporting tools will facilitate the design and deployment of the human-centric manufacturing processes. 

      The components and supporting tools are highly designed to best complement the collaboration between human & technology. SHOP4CF fosters the ability to swiftly adapt the manufacturing capacities and will ensure the safety of the human operators while working in a highly robotic and digitized environment. 

      Comment:

      Utilisation of research outputs is usually problematic as the transition of investigation results to industry is typically not straightforward. In many cases, the research is performed under isolated conditions with specific technological solutions (non-industrial hardware and software platforms). An industrial partner to be able to use the technology would first need to reimplement the results of research into industry-ready platform before he could actually validate the results.  

      Such challenge in many cases deters potential interested SMEs from validating new, advanced technologies. In many industries the companies do not possess enough resources to introduce aforementioned technologies and therefore find the transition to robotisation and digitalisation troublesome. Removing the entry barriers to introduce and validate new technologies would significantly improve the accessibility of state-of-the-art inventions and would simplify the path to the migration. 

      SHOP4CF aims for overcoming these challenges by bringing together the results of different research projects into a unified, human-oriented platform which is easily deployable and user-friendly. The ultimate goal is to allow robotic, automation and AI technologies to be deployed by SMEs with minimal effort. The SHOP4CF platform will be started with a set of components validated by big industrial players with the intention to evolve into a community-based platform where everyone can develop its components and share them with the others. The unification of interfaces that SHOP4CF aims for will allow easy integration and cross-industry applicability.