Periodic Reporting for period 1 - PERFoRM (Production harmonizEd Reconfiguration of Flexible Robots and Machinery)


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...\n\nThe 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).\n\nVision and objectives for demonstration of new innovative production systems based on flexible and reconfigurable production assets have been elaborated in the first reporting period of the project. The work packages 2, 3 and 4 simultaneously constituted the technological foundation of the project and defined a system architecture that supports the transformation from traditional production systems towards plug & produce production systems. The system architecture provides the framework for further works. Core of the architecture is a middleware that to establishes the communication between humans, machinery and robots. The middleware has been developed and conceptually implemented. To ensure a real time communication between machinery, robots and other entities connected to the industrial middleware technology adaptors were developed and first validations were conducted. The development of decision rules, simulation, and visualization and assessment methods for production systems has been started and is about to be finished in M20. In order to give further support to migrate existing machines and devices to plug & produce production systems a concept for a migration approach has been elaborated. Validation and demonstration of the basic principles of the PERFoRM system architecture and technologies in industry-like environments in two test beds has been started. The actual industrial application of the PERFoRM technologies in industrial practice has been started. Requirements KPI´s and concepts for the demonstration have been elaborated. First industrial implementations have been started.

Continuously the dissemination, exploitation and standardization of the project results was 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, active participation in various renowned conferences, invention disclosures and patents, as well as collaboration with standardization bodies.\n\nThe work carried out throughout PERFoRM will result 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. INNOVATION Approach. Process to integrate perform results into the Portfolio of solutions of project industrial partners (TbC)
  8. Positioning of PerForm´s results into the Patent-Ecosystem to guarantee increasing the industrial impact of the project (TbC)
  9. A set of Master- and PhD-Thesis addressing project Research and Innovation topics.
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Production harmonizEd Reconfiguration of Flexible Robots  and Machinery
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