Periodic Reporting for period 1 - CloudiFacturing (Cloudification of Production Engineering for Predictive Digital Manufacturing)

Information and Communication Technology (ICT) is essential for the digitalization of the manufacturing sector; notwithstanding, less than 25% of the manufacturing companies in Europe profit from ICT-enabled solutions. In order to democratically boost the competitiveness of...\n\nInformation and Communication Technology (ICT) is essential for the digitalization of the manufacturing sector; notwithstanding, less than 25% of the manufacturing companies in Europe profit from ICT-enabled solutions. In order to democratically boost the competitiveness of the European manufacturers (especially Small and Medium-sized Enterprises - SMEs), innovative solutions need to consider technological and commercial scalability from the beginning.

CloudiFacturing is a multi-strand project whose mission is: to optimize production processes and manufacturability using Cloud/HPC-based modelling and simulation, leveraging online factory data and advanced data analytics, thus contributing to the competitiveness and resource efficiency of manufacturing SMEs, ultimately fostering the vision of Factories 4.0 and the circular economy. Manufacturing SMEs are empowered to compute and solve problems that cannot be tackled without cloud and HPC technology, making them more competitive by reducing development times for innovative product with better performance.

CloudiFacturing is building on the results of two preceding I4MS projects, namely CloudFlow and CloudSME, technically aiming at an integrated platform creating synergies and providing more flexibility to end users by not just using HPC or Cloud Computing but by giving them the possibility to combine and bridge both options to the benefits of their cloudified workflows.\n\nIn order to address the objectives, work has been conducted in the following areas
- we integrated and further enrich the existing technology stacks towards a new platform, of which a first version is on the way
- the first wave experiments was launched to assess the efficacy of the developed platform. These seven experiments made good progress and run until M15. Their economic impact is currently analysed and assessed.
- we conducted our first Open Call in period 1 of the project for soliciting experiments for wave 2. The call was closed just at the end of the first period. With 37 submissions, we regard the Open Call as a huge success.\n\n... for the experiments
a) The end-user perspective: from the end users? point of view all experiments go beyond their current state of the art because they perform use cases that have not been implemented in these companies so far. Thus, they clearly have experimental character for those companies and go beyond their current state of play.
b) In many cases the VARs, ISVs and/or Competence Centres supporting the experiment(s) have come-up with beyond-SotA approaches, in addition, that push the edge of current technical possibilities. Just to give two examples: 1) the fully automated manufacturing of electric motors based on an optimisation scheme by deriving NC programmes for the machinery or 2) an improved optimisation loop (improved w.r.t. resource consumption because even HPC would be too expensive for a straight-forward approach) for boosting manufacturing devices (ovens) to produce hybrid solar panels.
c) The first wave of seven experiments estimated an economic impact after one year and after five years w.r.t. new jobs, increased turnover, enhanced products / new services, etc. The integral of impact after of all experiments is
New jobs: 13, Increased turnover: 1.885M?, enhanced products / new services: 18 after one year and
New jobs: 60, Increased turnover: 8.495M?, enhanced products / new services: 80 after five years.

... for the platform
With CloudiFacturing a new, unified platform is approaching which improves not only on user experience and accessibility, but also on the compatibility of the executables inside the existing technology stacks. With the CloudiFacturing solution, end users will gain access to all of the mentioned technologies with just a single set of credentials, including central billing and invoicing, data management, and software execution. For an end user who merely consumes executable artefacts on the CloudiFacturing platform, there will be no difference anymore between executing a CloudFlow workflow or a CloudBroker application (or any other artefact).
Furthermore, ISVs will still be able to implement software using the technology of their choice, while gaining access to software on other technologies with next to no effort. This enlarges the possible breadth and variety of software solutions, benefitting both ISVs and end users. By keeping the existing technology stacks intact within the CloudiFacturing solution, a loss of existing customer groups is prevented. The adaptations of the CloudFlow platform represent another advance beyond the state of the art of the combination of HPC and cloud computing. The CloudFlow HPC services provides a secure infrastructure-as-a-service solution which is easily portable between HPC providers and allows for bidirectional communication with running HPC jobs through web interfaces. The switch to Singularity-based containerization of the software deployed on the HPC cluster increases the flexibility of ISVs and avoids vendor lock-in.

... for the Digital Marketplace
The CloudiFacturing Digital Marketplace complements the concept of a one-stop-shop with the concept of community. This combination of marketplace and community, coined agora, is very unique in the context of cloud-based solutions for manufacturing SMEs. By relying on the concept of agora, we will be able build and cultivate a community, where interested manufacturing SMEs will be able to have a source of know-how and also the possibility to interact with peers, who are looking for similar solutions or who have solved similar challenges. We believe that the concept of agora and the foreseen development behind the Digital Marketplace will allow us to bring the technology a step closer to the practitioners, while also giving us more ways to interact with them and to improve their user experience and their satisfaction, which we hope to successfully convert into more adopters.
More information
Cloudification of Production Engineering for Predictive Digital Manufacturing
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