Manufacturing of products nowadays has become increasingly complex and it needs to be flexible due to an increasing diversity of product use and product portfolios, customer demand for more customised products and shorter time-to-market requirements. To face these challenges...\n\nManufacturing of products nowadays has become increasingly complex and it needs to be flexible due to an increasing diversity of product use and product portfolios, customer demand for more customised products and shorter time-to-market requirements. To face these challenges, there is a need for, on the one hand, adaptive and smart manufacturing systems and products with features for intelligent reconfiguration of production processes and products and, on the other hand, for feedback from product use to production and design stages. In order to improve the manufacturability and reconfigurability of products, the product designers need to have more information about how the product use affects the life cycle of a product and how the design of the product affects the production processes. Currently, product use and product production activities are often separated, which is leading to low efficiency and high costs for both users and manufacturers, especially for those acting at the global market. Some of these required optimisations can be carried out by adjusting control and others require the reconfiguration of products. The project targets two related technology challenges for factories of the future that present new opportunities for improving production, products and services: 1) Interconnected Systems of Production Systems within smart manufacturing environments that have hardware and software requirements to achieve specific business objectives e.g. scheduling, power consumption, throughput, and maintenance; and 2) Connected Product Networks where networked smart products collect data, can be adapted in the field, and can deliver extended services to customers through optimisation of smart product performance parameters and customisation of products to environments, usage patterns and other dynamic factors. A key objective of the project is to develop cloud-based analytics and reconfiguration capabilities with both reactive and predictive reconfiguration for both production systems and smart products, flexible run-time reconfiguration decisions during production rather than pre-planned at production planning time, real-time reconfiguration decisions for optimisation of performance and real-time production and product functions. By performing reconfiguration in the cloud, continuous optimization of the system can be achieved which enables far better reconfiguration control and accuracy than if performed in either a pre-planned or online manner.\n\nThe project is progressing as planned with the focus in the first months being the definition of the industrial Business Case requirements for the project technologies to improve adaptive smart production systems by providing features for intelligent reconfiguration of both production processes and smart products. Some additional time was needed for defining the industrial requirements mainly related to understanding the different platforms utilised within each industry and their implications on the project technologies. These industrial requirements have provided the basis to establish the specification of the overall SAFIRE Concept that drives the technology development tasks within the project. Some further details were added to the SAFIRE Concept, as well as information concerning the achievement of laboratory evaluations (Technology Readiness Level 4) for each of the components in an updated version of D1.4, which was provided in accordance with recommendations received during the Interim EC Review of the project. In the subsequent months, the first technologies developments have been undertaken in each of the development work packages 2 through 5, with deliverables providing the specifications of each of the main SAFIRE components: Predictive Analytics Platform, Dynamic and Predictable Reconfiguration and Optimisation Engine Optimisation Engine, Situational Awareness Services, and Security/Privacy/Trust Framework. Work was also carried out in developing the early software prototypes, as well as specifying the associated methodologies of each of the components, which will be completed in June 2018. Preparatory work for the evaluations of the project technologies within the context of the three industrial Business Cases from the manufacturing sector has been carried out with the specification of the evaluation methods, metrics and criteria. These will be used for an initial assessment of the early software prototypes that will provide important feedback to the research and development tasks that will develop the full prototype technologies planned for the later months of the project. Complementing the technology development work in the project have been tasks to establish the initial dissemination and exploitation strategy where the project partners have made important decisions regarding access to the technologies by industry and an analysis of the market opportunities. Also, supporting actions of establishing the initial and final versions of the project website and the project presentation and brochures, which will facilitate the take-up by industry of the project technologies through attractive and informative dissemination materials. The project has experienced some challenges resulting in minor delays for some deliverables, but the critical path of the research and development work has been maintained and the consortium enters the second half of the project on schedule, and within the resources and costs expected.\n\nThe objectives of the project are to develop new methodology for reconfiguration and optimisation of products and factories based on predictive big-data analytics, which will be generated by making use of security, privacy & trust and situational awareness. The methodology will address technical and organizational issues for extension and introduction of such novel big-data based situationally aware tools/services for reconfiguration and optimisation of factories / products. In order to assure that the methods and tools to be developed meet the needs of the user companies, the project is driven by 3 business cases within globally distributed enterprises in the consortium. The project will provide several methods and tools, aiming to bring these tools to Technology Readiness Level 6 by the end of the third year. Benefits such as novel combination of advanced technological solutions will bring considerable benefits to the three manufacturing companies in the project in terms of reducing time to market in building new and / or upgrading existing products and machines/equipment as well as services around their products as different manufacturability, environmental and final-product mass customisation aspects will be effectively taken into account. The approach will allow for considerable improvements in knowledge sharing across product design, manufacturing and product-service life-cycle, as well as new and better product-service offerings addressing customer needs. The outcome will strengthen the global competitiveness of European manufacturing companies in the FoF business field. As the three companies in the consortium, serving as a reference for development on new tools, are typical manufacturing companies, producing mass customised product manufacturing, such benefits for the companies will assure large potential market for the new engineering environment and tools, which in turn will strengthen competitiveness the ICT companies in the project.
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