Periodic Reporting for period 1 - FAR-EDGE (Factory Automation Edge Computing Operating System Reference Implementation)


Industry 4.0 is the integration of Information Technology and Operational Technology into what is sometimes called the 'smart and connected factory'. The goal is having more efficient and flexible production systems on the one side, while enabling new business models on the other side. Industry 4.0 is the integration of Information Technology and Operational Technology into what is sometimes called the 'smart and connected factory'. The goal is having more efficient and flexible production systems on the one side, while enabling new business models on the other. This fourth industrial revolution was started by the convergence, over time, of several innovative concepts like IoT, Cloud Computing, Cognitive Computing and Digital Simulation.

FAR-EDGE is a joint effort of leaders in industrial automation, Cyber-Physical Systems (CPS) and Industrial Internet-of-Things (IIoT). The project is raising the stakes of Industry 4.0: its goal is reshaping the highly hierarchical structure of factory systems (the 'automation pyramid') into a peer-to-peer collaboration of local actors on the shop floor. The catalysts of such transformation are, once again, new paradigms: Edge Computing and the Blockchain. FAR-EDGE follows a unique approach, using Edge Gateway devices to inject Edge Computing powers into the legacy factory with a minimum of disruption. A virtual, decentralized coordination layer is provided by means of Smart Contracts. The FAR-EDGE Platform will be a reference implementation of the FAR-EDGE Architecture with baseline functionalities tailored to automation, simulation and analytics.
The FAR-EDGE objectives can be summarized as follows:

  • O1: Research and introduce a novel Edge Computing architecture for the virtualization of the conventional automation pyramid.
  • O2: Provide blueprint solutions for the smooth migration from legacy architectures to FAR-EDGE.
  • O3: Provide novel simulation services for CPS manufacturing, which will enable the testing and validation of FAR-EDGE compliant CPS systems.
  • O4: Implement and integrate multi-layer and compositional security-by-design techniques within the FAREDGE approach.
  • O5: Provide a reference implementation of the FAR-EDGE Edge Computing architecture.
  • O6: Validate the FAR-EDGE platform on a wide range of testbed and real-life trials.
  • O7: Establish and build up an ecosystem around the project?s results, which will engage all stakeholders involved in the manufacturing automation value chain.
  • O8: Improve manufacturers' innovation capabilities, through significant reductions in the effort, time and cost required to integrate new technologies.

During its initial phase (M1-M9), the project went through a major refocus of its vision: its ambition in terms of innovative use of technologies was scaled up. This new vision was captured in deliverable D2.4 ?FAR-EDGE Architecture and Components Specifications? (M9) and required a GA amendment to implement some minor changes into the WBS. During the last months of the first reporting period, the architecture was not significantly updated; instead, its applicability to real-world problems have been clarified by the work done in the scope of WP6 (validation and evaluation).

As of M18, the overall health of the project is satisfactory and the outlook is good. All milestones have been achieved. More specifically:

  • MS1: Edge Computing Architecture Specified
  • MS2: (Initial) Migration Strategies Specified
  • MS3: Digital Models for Factory Automation Available
  • MS4: Secure Sharing of Distributed ModelsMS5: Framework for Automation Workflows Integrated
  • MS6: Mechanisms for Trustworthy Automation Architecture Available
  • MS7: CPS Simulator Integrated

The key results of the project at M18 are listed below:

WP2 Vision and Specifications

  • Definition of FAR-EDGE requirements, reference scenarios, use cases and KPIs
  • Definition of FAR-EDGE ecosystem services
  • FAR-EDGE Reference Architecture and Platform design, including security solutions in line with existing RAs for industrial automation

WP3 Factory Automation Infrastructure

  • First prototype implementations of the following software components: Edge Computing Infrastructure, Decentralized Infrastructure for Secure State Sharing (Blockchain), Automation Workflow Management, Distributed Data Analytics, Self Adjustment and Reconfiguration
  • First definition of the FAR-EDGE mechanisms for security and trustworthiness
  • First version of the migration strategies for FAR-EDGE adoption

WP4 Simulation Services

  • First version of the CPS Data Model Architecture towards Simulation
  • First prototype implementation of the real-to-digital synchronization functionality

WP5 Platform Implementation and Integration

  • First version of the report on digital models support
  • First prototype implementation of the FAR-EDGE integrated platform, which includes the documentation of the platform's Open API

WP6 Platform Validation and Evaluation

  • First run of lab tests
  • First deployments of mass-customization (Volovo) and reshoring (Whirlpool) use cases

WP7 Ecosystem Building

  • FAR-EDGE ecosystem portal is online and community building activites have started

WP8 Dissemination, Communication and Exploitation

  • FAR-EDGE represented in numerous CPS- and IIoT-related events
  • First version of exploitation plan

At the end of the project, FAR-EDGE will deliver and validate the world?s first open, secure, and standards-based reference implementation of an edge computing architecture for factory automation. As part of this process, FAR-EDGE aspires to:

  • Provide a novel paradigm for decentralized automation solutions in manufacturing, which will open new horizons in mass-customization and reshoringOffer highly innovative techniques for security and trustworthiness of highly distributed industrial systems
  • Establish a globally unique IoT/CPS ecosystem for the manufacturing sector, which will be radically different from IoT/CPS ecosystems in other domains

The expected impact of the above mentioned initiatives is a move of factory automation towards edge computing architectures, which enable innovative solutions that improve quality and minimize costs.

More information
Factory Automation Edge Computing Operating System Reference Implementation
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