Product improvements, manufacturing processes, product operations and maintenance services require software integrating solutions that are able to capture and process information from various actors and different operational phases with the objective of enhancing efficiency and improving sustainability performance from a life-cycle perspective. Static, isolated systems generally in use cannot react fast and flexibly enough, as there are no appropriate services for capturing knowledge and putting it to practical use in relevant time.

EPES (Eco Process Engineering System) provides user-centered ICT solutions to generate services, which improve the performance of highly customized industrial Processes, Products and Services (PPS) during their life, in cases in which no standard, off-the-shelf solutions can be applied. In many sectors, PPS improvements require an efficient combination and reconfiguration of software services to meet varying requirements along the product/process life cycle and effectively take into account different ecological constraints (eco-constraints), such as the need for reducing energy and materials consumption in processes.

An important factor influencing this improvement process is the dynamic, flexible, and customizable nature of the software services that back up the life cycle. EPES developed novel ICT-tools, supported by an application methodology, to be combined and embedded in the decision-making processes in companies from different sectors, starting with the three companies from wind farm maintenance, cable production and aeronautics, which represent typical examples of companies in need for such highly reconfigurable services to continuously optimize their product performance and service delivery. The innovation brought by the project is a holistic, modular and extendable system that allows the easy reconfiguration of services in order to react flexibly to relevant insights and to meet varying requirements along the PPS life cycle. The EPES system includes features for collaborative work, a Virtual Factory knowledge repository, service configuration, and a simulation and decision-making platform, with the ultimate objective of facilitating the use, reuse, storage, analysis and sharing of knowledge within the Virtual Factory.

EPES responds to the companies’ need for moving from static isolated systems to a more flexible and loosely coupled system applicable along the whole PPS cycle. Thus, instead of having desktop applications and “engineering islands of analysis”, EPES successfully integrates existing tools and provide them as configurable services for non-ICT experts. The main advantages of EPES include improved efficiency (by at least 20%) in generating and reconfiguring services for PPS and an increased flexibility of such services, especially in the cases in which eco constraints play a key role.

This leads to a number of benefits for companies using EPES, such as the reduction of costs along PPS and lower ecological impacts.

Keywords: Eco-constraint, Sustainability Intelligence, Configurable life-cycle service, Virtual Factory, Collaborative work, Process Product Service (PPS)

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Start date: 01-09-2011
End date: 28-02-2015
Total budget - Public funding: 5 588 200,00 Euro - 3 836 000,00 Euro
Call topic: Virtual Factories and enterprises (FoF.ICT.2011.7.3)