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Advanced automation systems to respond to Industry 4.0

Advanced automation systems to respond to Industry 4.0
  • The IDEKO research centre is taking part in a project that seeks to build a modular and integrated automation platform that will enable to make the leap to new manufacturing paradigms through the use of emerging automation standards and frameworks.
  • The initiative, coordinated by the Basque manufacturer Soraluce, seeks to make a leap forward in "flexible manufacturing solutions" to increase the efficiency of its customer processes.

The transition to industry 4.0 implies a paradigm shift that involves increasingly complex manufacturing environments, in which it is necessary to develop sophisticated automation platforms to generate flexible production systems capable of delivering high-quality results at competitive costs.

In this context, the AdAM project (Advanced Automation for Manufacturing) is being developed, an initiative with the participation of IDEKO , the research centre specialising in Advanced Manufacturing, the aim of which is to provide a modular ecosystem in an automation platform that can meet current manufacturing needs.

“The most widespread automation technologies in industry lack reconfigurability capabilities, code reuse and testing and integration tools, which is an important obstacle in adequately responding to changes in requirements fully guaranteeing the end result and quality ”, says the researcher Elena Montejo, who is responsible for the project in IDEKO.

According to the expert, to build new automation platforms capable of meeting the demands of Industry 4.0 it is necessary to take advantage of the capabilities of different emerging technologies and make use of technologies successfully tested in other sectors.

"Traditional automation systems show poor flexibility and reconfiguration capabilities. Consequently, the adoption of a fully distributed automation platform, with advanced frameworks and the elimination of rigid hierarchical levels will be a significant step forward," Montejo adds.

This platform, developed within the framework of the AdAM project allows the international leading company in milling, boring and turning technology Soraluce to gain in competitiveness , not only with the latest generation machines but also with machines that require an update or adaptation to the new industry standards 4.0.

Different approaches to an integrated platform

To meet the objectives, the project will start with an industrial approach, covering the adoption of an automation system based on real manufacturing needs.

To accomplish this task, several new and emerging technological standards, frameworks, methodologies and software tools will be integrated into a single harmonised platform, which will be used to connect and deliver services to different high-level end applications, thus driving the incorporation of information technologies into industrial processes.

On this platform, high added-value applications will also be developed, creating an ecosystem to test and validate the potential and benefits of the automation solution developed in industrial processes. The individual interconnected subsystems will contribute to a distributed knowledge base that will facilitate decision making, optimisation of resources and configuration of processes, amongst others.

"The machines and robots, as well as the rest of the industrial systems, begin to form part of networks of cyber-physical systems. The verification of concepts such as plug & produce will be another of the priorities of this project", adds the expert.

The results of the project, which will run until September 2021, are expected to be validated in real manufacturing scenarios.

In addition to IDEKO and Soraluce, Aldakin Gipuzkoa, Introsys, Volkswagen Autoeuropa, UNIDEMI, Flowake and CEiiA also participate in the initiative, which is a spin-off of the SMART EUREKA CLUSTER on Advanced Manufacturing programme.