Also referred to as 3D printing.
Integration of non-conventional technologies (e.g. laser, ultrasonic) towards the development of new multifunctional manufacturing processes (including in process concept: inspection, thermal treatment, stress relieving, machining, joining
Mechatronics, which is also called mechatronic engineering, is a multidisciplinary branch of engineering that focuses on the engineering of both electrical and mechanical systems, and also includes a combination of robotics, electronics, computer, telecommunications, systems, control, and product engineering. (From https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mechatronics)
Control technologies will be further exploiting the increasing computational power and intelligence in order to come forward to the demands of increased speed and precision in manufacturing. Advanced control strategies will allow the use of lighter actuators and structural elements for obtaining very rigid and accurate solutions, replacing slower and more energy-intensive approaches. Learning controllers adapt the behaviour of systems to changing environments or system degradation, taking into account constraints and considering alternatives, hereby relying on robust industrial real-time communication technologies, system modelling approaches and distributed intelligence architectures.
Continuous monitoring of the condition and performance of the manufacturing system on component and machine level, enables sustainable and competive manufacturing, also by introducing autonomous diagnosis capabilities and context-awareness. Detecting, measuring and monitoring the variables, events and situations will increase the performance and reliability of manufacturing systems. This involves advanced metrology, calibration and sensing, signal processing and model-based virtual sensing for a wide range of applications, e.g. event pattern detection, diagnostics, anomaly detection, prognostics and predictive maintenance.
Intelligent components enable the deployment of safe, energy-efficient, accurate and flexible or reconfigurable products and production systems. This includes the introduction of smart actuators and the use of advanced end-effectors composed of passive and active materials. Energy technologies are gaining importance, such as (super)capacitors, pneumatic storage devices, batteries and energy harvesting technologies.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is a system of interrelated computing devices, mechanical and digital machines, objects, animals or people that are provided with unique identifiers (UIDs) and the ability to transfer data over a network without requiring human-to-human or human-to-computer interaction. (from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_of_things)
Simulation (often referred to as digital twins) is the imitation of the operation of a real-world process or system. The act of simulating something first requires that a model be developed; this model represents the key characteristics, behaviors and functions of the selected physical or abstract system or process. The model represents the system itself, whereas the simulation represents the operation of the system over time. (from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simulation)
The rise of the transport cost, the need for higher efficiency and productivity, the customer demand for greener product, the higher instability of raw material and energy prices and the shortening of the lead-time production will push for a more critical assessment of the delocalisation strategy towards low cost countries. Service-led personalised products will require a new paradigm for western countries re-industrialisation (Globalisation 2.0), moving back (re-shoring) manufacturing of selected products.
The European Factories of the Future are expected to provide global manufacturing competitiveness, but also to create a large amount of work opportunities for the European population. Future factory workers are therefore key resources for industrial competitiveness as well as important consumers. However, as previously stated, the changing demographics and high skill requirements faced by European industry pose new challenges. Workers with high knowledge and skills (“knowledge workers”) will be scarce resources. Research efforts within Horizon 2020 must address ways to increase the number of people available for, and interested in, manufacturing tasks. This includes the following important aspects of the human resources: - New technology-based approaches to accommodate age-related limitations, through ICT and automation - New technical, educational, and organisational ways to increase the attractiveness of factory work to the young potential workforce, the existing workforce, the potential immigrant workforce, and the older workforce - New approaches to skill- and competence development, as well as skill and knowledge management, to increase competitiveness and be part of the global knowledge society - New ways to organise and compensate factory knowledge workers - New factory human-centric work-environments based on safety and comfort - Ways to integrate future factory work in global and local societal agendas and social patterns