The manufacturing process of the future are changing and need to be highly flexible and dynamic in order to accommodate customer demands. In order to keep pace with future manufacturing needs, the manufacturing companies must flexibly react to dynamic market demands and be able to participate in agile collaborations. The DIGICOR platform provides manufacturing companies with a host of industry4.0 tools and services, allowing them to design and manage more flexible and efficient production process. The platform specifically aims to support manufacturing companies in creating and maintaining agile collaborations.
This article provides an overview of different development stages of the DIGICOR platform, highlighting the achievements in each stage. These achievements were recently presented by Dr. Usman Wajid (ICE) to a large audience at the EFFRA (European Factories of the Future Research Organisation) Community Day Event. The complete presentation titled 'Towards the Realisation of HyperConnected Factories' is available through this link: https://tinyurl.com/y6w2snm2. Usman's presentation focuses on the commonalities, complementarities and latest achievements of 4 EU projects (DIGICOR, COMPOSITION, NIMBLE and vf-OS) to describe how synergies among these projecs can contribute towards creating an ecosystem of Connected Factories in Europe.
With DIGICOR entering its last 18 months of duration, the project has gone through traditional Waterfall stages of Gap Analysis and Problem Definition (as shown in Figure 1) to gathering and analysis of end-user and platform Requirements (Figure 2).
The analysis of the requirements has helped in the definition of selected use-cases. The project has defined three use-cases to be able to test and validate project outcomes in real-world scenarios.
The use-case definitions (Figure 3) complemented the requirements with necessary domain knowledge. Moreover, the detailed use-case definitions helped project partners in defining the specification of technology components. This stage also focused on identifying the dependencies and interactions of different technology components in the modular platform architecture (Figure 4).
The specification of the modular platform architecture provides the fundamental design guidelines for the development of different tools and services. From here the iterative development, testing and validations of the technology components has begun.
A parallel activity to the technology development is about the business and exploitation modelling (as shown in Figure 5). The project partners have defined viable business models of the platform taking into account the specific context of each use-case, market trends, application scenarios and environmental conditions. The business models have been supported with analysis of revenue streams and financial projections of costs vs income.
At the end, DIGICOR platform will be offered to the user through a holistic web-based portal – as shown in Figure 6. The portal will integrate the functionalities and interfaces of different tools and services to offer a unified user experience to the users. The iterative development of the portal is currently underway with the latest versions of the tools and services being integrated as they become available from different partners.
The ongoing development activities in the DIGICOR are keeping up with the project plan. At the same time, new collaborations with other EU projects are being developed to not only facilitate knowledge and technology exchange, but also to devise way in which different projects can focus and contribute towards the strategic vision of European Commission in the digital manufacturing and smart factories area.