Manufacturing Partnership Day showcases innovative projects

(Originally published in ScienceBusiness)

More than 400 stakeholders attended the first edition of the European Factories of the Future Research Association (EFFRA)’s Manufacturing Partnership Day, which focused on the Made in Europe and Factories of the Future initiatives.

Held in September, the event featured a total of 48 projects, which presented their goals and results on stage, and in an exhibition and demonstration area to network and delve deeper into their work. All presentations are publicly available from the ‘Documents’ section of the web site or in the ‘Agenda’ section (by checking the description of each project).

Below is an overview of the projects showcased at the event:

Digital game changers:

  • AI REGIO aims to fill three major gaps preventing AI-driven DIHs[DP1]  from implementing fully-effective digital transformation pathways for their manufacturing SMEs at the policy, technological and business levels.
  • BetterFactory invites SMEs to redesign their current product portfolio together with business and arts mentors and technology experts to tap into disruptive product innovation.
  • Change2Twin’s ambition is to ensure that 100% of manufacturing companies in Europe have access to all the technologies required to deploy a digital twin.
  •  DIGITbrain is rooted in the innovation ecosystem of the i4MS project, addressing technology, sustainability, feasibility and a network of DIH to foster the uptake of advanced digital and manufacturing technologies.
  • KITT4SME targets European SMEs and midcaps to provide them with scope-tailored and industry-ready hardware, software and organisational kits, introducing AI into their production systems.
  • PULSATE aims to lower entry barriers to boost the adoption of laser-based technologies by SMEs.
  • VOJEXT designs affordable, market-oriented, agile, multipurpose and easy-to-repurpose, autonomous, mobile and dexterous robotic systems as the main component of a smart, agile and scalable cognitive CPS for industry.

Handling systems for flexible materials:

  • REMODEL is bringing new opportunities to human-intensive labour and manufacturing processes dealing with cables and wires.
  • MERGING delivers a turnkey robotic solution to automate handling of flexible and fragile objects with a multi-finger gripper equipped with an electro-adhesive skin.

Digital manufacturing platforms for connected smart factories:

  • KYKLOS 4.0 demonstrated the transformative effects that circular production systems, product life management, life-cycle analysis, augmented reality and AI will have for circular manufacturing.
  • SHOP4CF is finding a balance between cost-effective automation, repetitive tasks and involving human workers in areas, such as adaptability, creativity and agility, where they add the most value.
  • DIGIPRIME aims to create and operate a federated model of digital platforms for cross sector business in the circular economy.

AI-enhanced robotics system for smart manufacturing:

  • COGNIMAN showed how to tackle automation challenges by integrating simulation models, digital twins, sensors, machine learning, robotics and more in a human-centric modular toolbox that can be easily adapted.
  • CONVERGING aims to promote smart and reconfigurable production systems including multiple autonomous agents, such as collaborative robots, automated guided vehicles and humans, that can act in diverse production environments.
  • Fluently leverages the latest advancements in AI-driven decision-making processes to achieve social collaboration between humans and machines, while matching extremely dynamic manufacturing contexts.

AI for sustainable, agile manufacturing:

  • Circular TwAIn lowers the barriers for manufacturing and process industry circular value chains to adopt and fully leverage trusted Al.
  • s-X-AIPI works on the research, development, testing and experimentation of an innovative toolset of custom trustworthy selfX AI technologies to help workers deal with external and internal influences.

AI for manufacturing:

  • AI-PROFICIENT is proposing a manufacturing approach underpinned by predictive and prescriptive AI analytics at both component and system level, by cross-fertilising edge and platform AI, while leveraging human knowledge.
  • A multidisciplinary consortium, ASSISTANT aims to create intelligent digital twins through the joint use of machine learning, optimisation, simulation and domain models.
  • COALA aims to develop a voice-enabled digital intelligent assistant for manufacturing based on the privacy-focused open assistant Mycroft.
  • Driven by large industrial cases, MAS4AI proposes a system that allows the deployment and synchronisation of different AI agents in manufacturing for autonomous modular production and human assistance.
  • To lower the entry barriers for agile secure and collaborative technologies, knowlEdge intends to develop a new generation of AI methods, systems and data management infrastructure.
  • STAR is a joint effort of AI and digital manufacturing experts towards enabling the deployment of standards-based secure, reliable and trusted human-centric AI systems in manufacturing.
  •  TEAMING.AI aims to create a human AI teaming framework that integrates the flexibility of human intelligence and the scale-up capability of machine-intelligence.
  • XMANAI aims to place the power of explainable-AI at the service of manufacturing and human progress

Quality control in smart manufacturing:

  • DAT4.ZERO is a DQM that gathers and organises data from a distributed multi-sensor network to offer adequate levels of data accuracy and precision for effective decision support and problem-solving.
  •  I4Q provides an IoT-based RIDS to manage the huge amount of industrial data coming from cost-effective, smart, and small interconnected factory devices for supporting manufacturing online monitoring and control.
  • OPTIMAI is working on the smart instrumentation of production with AI-enabled sensors for quality-inspection and monitoring and more.

Data-driven distributed industrial environments:

  • 5G-TIMBER aims to validate through robust evidence the latest 5G industrial private network features and standards specifications for the wood value chain under realistic conditions.
  • RE4DY’s mission is to show that EU industry can jointly build unique data-driven digital value networks 4.0 to sustain competitive advantages through digital continuity and sovereign data spaces.
  •  Zero-SWARM aims to accelerate the adoption of advanced 5G technologies by the EU manufacturing sector through climate neutral and digitised production resulting in technical solutions for an open swarm framework.

The assembly of microparts:

  • Mesomorph discussed its TRL6 demo of a new generation of all-in-one machine integrating three disruptive technologies: femtolaser micro ablation, two-photon polymerisation and atomic layer 3D nanoprinting.

Pilot lines:

  •  DIMOFAC is enabling European factories to build more responsive production lines, in the era of mass-customisation, for use in modular factories.
  • PENELOPE, which has a novel methodology linking product-centric data management and production planning and scheduling in a closed-loop digital pipeline, discussed its application in large-part high-precision manufacturing.

Laser-based technologies for green manufacturing:

  • InShape aims to develop and demonstrate a novel first-time-right powder bed fusion process of metals using laser beams in four different industrial use cases.
  • The METAMORPHA concept is based on a single agile USP laser micromachining platform to replace conventional manufacturing process chains.
  • OPeraTIC developed an efficient and modular manufacturing platform to boost the adoption of high-power ultra-short pulsed lasers, as a sustainable alternative to current surface processing.
  • RECLAIM showcased its solution for the refurbishment and re-manufacturing of large industrial equipment, paving the way to a circular economy that saves valuable resources by reusing equipment.

Energy-efficient manufacturing system management:

  • DENiM  has developed an interoperable digital intelligence platform enabling a collaborative approach to industrial energy management and an integrated toolchain to provision advanced digital services.
  • E2COMATION addresses the optimisation of energy usage at multiple hierarchical layers of a manufacturing process considering the whole lifecycle perspective across the value chain.
  • EnerMan intends to create an energy sustainability management framework collecting data from the factory and processing it to generate dedicated energy sustainability metrics.

Manufacturing technologies for bio-based materials:

  • AMBIANCE, a project applying circularity-by-design to develop new and advanced bio-based products, considering different alternatives for recirculation

After the success of the Manufacturing Partnership Day, EFFRA plans to hold a second edition soon, as well as other events and initiatives in the field of manufacturing and innovation, cementing the association’s role promoting the development of new and innovative production technologies. In this regard, EFFRA would like to invite the European manufacturing and innovation community to continue to come forward with their projects and initiatives via its Innovation Portal to contribute to the completion of the broad picture of manufacturing projects and initiatives in Europe.