An open platform for supporting production networks' reconfiguration

Our way to resilient manufacturing value chains

The digital world is constantly evolving and external shocks like the recent COVID-19 pandemic have compelled manufacturers to reevaluate not only their supply chains, but also the flexibility of their production sites. A resilient manufacturing is the order of the day to overcome the challenge of delivering high-quality products under high production rates while minimizing non-value-adding activities.

Flex4Res utilises platform-based manufacturing approaches that leverage on the state-of-the-art Gaia-X and International Data Spaces (IDS) technologies for data-sharing across the horizontal supply chain. Additionally, it employs the Asset Administration Shell (AAS) to implement intra-factory reconfiguration practices.

Therefore, Flex4Res considers the Digital Twin of the value-adding network – a key enabling technology to achieve reconfiguration processes in highly flexible production systems and networks. The key element of technology linkage is represented by the Self-Descriptions with linked, standardised information models, particularly in terms of resilience.

The developed platform and specialised hardware aim toenhance existing industry-established lean management approaches related to reconfiguration management in the context of Industry 4.0 by allowing information sharing between value chain stakeholders.

The Flex4Res Concept

Flex4Res Concept

Flex4Res Objectives

Implementation of an open platform based on Gaia-X/IDS reference architecture and asset administration shell

Manufacturing data spaces are still in the embryonic stages and in order to overcome the existing variety of tools and implementations, a standardised approach to data sharing is required. Flex4Res aims to address this by implementing an industrial data space for sharing digital twin models of production facilities stored in asset administration shell middleware. The digital twin models will be used to support resilience assessment and reconfiguration planning.

Resilience assessment toolbox for early detection of reconfiguration needs

Resilience is a comprehensive system’s capacity to withstand and absorb disruptions and quickly recover. But currently the industry does not utilize any resilience assessment approach for decision-making in planning for reconfiguration. Flex4Res will develop a resilience assessment toolbox, which allows manufacturers to make more intelligent decisions, from a resilience point of view. A uniform Resilience Data Model will be developed for building up the resilience services.

Decision-making for the application of reconfiguration strategies

Based on the input from monitoring and prediction tools, decision-making tools will be provided to evaluate alternative reconfiguration strategies, analyse “what-if” scenarios and suggest adaptation strategies to the human or autonomously apply (self)-adaptive strategies. Therefore, a knowledge-based, plant-integrated correction system for complex production systems such as progressive compound processes to aid in the skill transfer of expert knowledge will be developed.

Test and validate the integrated solution into industrial pilot cases

Flex4Res will test and validate the integrated solution into four industrial pilot cases on the reconfiguration of different hierarchical layers from value chain to machine and device. The cases also cover different manufacturing volume rates from medium to high rates and different steps. The scope is not only on the production process but also on reconfiguring logistics.