Cloudification of Production Engineering for Predictive Digital Manufacturing

The Cloudifacturing project is an Innovation Action funded by the European Commission as part of the Horizon2020 Programme. The project started in October 2017 and will conclude in March 2021. The consortium includes 33 partners from industry and academia. The coordinator of the Cloudifacturing project is André Stork, from the Fraunhofer Institute (Germany).

The main objective of the Cloudifacturing project is to boost competitiveness of European manufacturers by optimizing production processes using Cloud/HPC-based modelling and simulation. The project brings together the results of two previously completed projects, CloudFlow and CloudSME. CloudSigma was fortunate to have been part of the CloudSME consortium and we are just as excited to be part of Cloudifacturing.

The challenge

The manufacturing industry in Europe was hit hard by the 2008 financial crisis with European manufacturers facing increased pressure from global competitors from countries less affected by the recession. The European Commission responded quickly with the ActionPlanT Vision for Manufacturing 2.0, making it clear that this sector must make better use of information and communication technology (ICT) if it is to fully recover from the crisis and to regain Europe’s competitiveness. While the EU 7th Framework Programme for Research and Innovation (FP7 / 2007-2013), Factories of the Future (FoF) call focused on recovery, Horizon 2020 (2014-2020) FoF concentrates on sustainability and growth. This strategy has clearly worked, with the sector recording its best annual performance on record in 2017, but there is still a lot of untapped potential in terms of the efficiencies gained by further integration of ICT-based solutions. However, clear strategies are still required for successful adoption of these solutions, particularly by small and medium-sized enterprises, which are more likely to suffer from resource constraints compared to larger organisations, leaving them with very little scope for technological and commercial scalability.

The proposed solution

CloudFlow and CloudSME have already demonstrated how the cloudification of engineering services can provide a huge advantage for manufacturing SMEs by combining High Performance Computing (HPC) resources, computational tools, and cloud computing platforms.

Concept of the integrated technology platform

While CloudFlow and CloudSME can improve the engineering and prototyping processes within the manufacturing workflow, the Cloudifacturing project goes a step further by utilising factory data and combining them with cloud-based engineering tools. This enables SMEs to take advantage of analytics, allowing them to perform simulation and optimisation of production processes in real-time. Furthermore, the consolidated platform with extended capabilities for processing factory data will be accessed through a central interface, enabling the stakeholders to interact, and collaborate.

The application experiments

A minimum of 21 separate application experiments will be conducted in three waves. The first 7 experiments are already underway, combining expertise from Cloud/HPC, data analytics, simulation, modelling, and security. Wave 1 experiments include the following:

  • Experiment 1: Optimizing design and production of electric drives
  • Experiment 2: Cloud-based modelling for improving resin infusion process
  • Experiment 3: Improving quality control and maintenance at manufacturing SMEs using big data analytics Partner
  • Experiment 4: Numerical modelling and simulation of heat treating processes
  • Experiment 5: Optimizing solar panel production
  • Experiment 6: Optimizing efficiency of truck components manufacturing processes by data analytics
  • Experiment 7: Simulating and improving food packaging

Wave 2 (mid-2018) and Wave 3 (mid-2019) experiments will be decided via an Open Call, so if your organisation belongs to a member state or associated territory and you would like to participate please don’t hesitate to get in touch. You can find out if you are eligible by visiting the Cloudifacturing website here. Details will be release in April 2018 so make sure you register here for the Cloudifacturing newsletter.

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About Peter Gray

Peter is a Project Manager working predominantly on H2020 Framework Research and Innovation projects facilitated by the European Union and the Swiss State Secreteriat for Education and Innovation (SERI). His background is in the cultural heritage sector where he has managed a number of large-scale digitisation projects for various museums, national archives, and libraries.