SAFIRE Business Cases
Research and Innovation Driven By European Manufacturing Requirements
All of the work within the SAFIRE project has been driven by industrial requirements coming from commercial organisations representing different sectors of Europe’s manufacturing industry. The project included industrial partners Electrolux, OAS and ONA whose interests were focused respectively on manufactured mass volume smart products, factory control systems, and specialised production systems. Each of the industrial scenarios where SAFIRE innovations have been applied is referred to as a Business Case.
Every product tells a different story: there are as many ways of using a product as there are users. In the field of home appliances, this is mainly manifested in the selection of functions (washing cycle, cooking recipe, etc.), or process parameters (e.g. spin speed, temperature), and in the way users interact with the user interface.
The SAFIRE solution enables analysis of data of embedded controllers of products in a cloud platform to obtain important data and valuable information that will meaningfully improve the experience of the customers. In that way, the cloud services implemented in the platform, capture data from the appliances which can be exploited, not only to improve the design and manufacturing processes, but also to embed new features in the working product if they improve the experience of the user. But, SAFIRE goes further by gathering data of the context and extracting behavioural patterns of the user that can lead to a more optimised operation of the appliances. An example is the identification of the ideal time frame to carry out a defrosting cycle, when the appliance is traditionally not used, but keeping the adequate temperature for food preservation.
The Electrolux Business Case focused on demonstrating SAFIRE capabilities in the real-time "Personalisation" and the "Adaptive operation" of a smart kitchen product.
OAS is an innovative middle-sized company with a rich experience in weighing technology and industrial plant construction all over Europe. The objective of OAS was to demonstrate the use of SAFIRE to optimise production processes and preventive maintenance activities, managed by the OAS proNTo control system, using reconfiguration based on the analysis of data gathered from the equipment and other systems. ProNTo is a high performance process visualisation system for SCADA and, at the same time, a control system for the process and production control level (MES). It is optimised for the control and administration of batch-oriented processes and it is particularly suitable for weighing solutions.
OAS validated the SAFIRE technologies in one of their customer’s installations. The plant was continuously observed by the SAFIRE platform to identify usage patterns. These patterns were used for achieving optimal re-configuration parameters for a production process, as well as the baseline for advanced preventive maintenance based on analytics. In addition, OAS intends to use information gathered from its customers to monitor the performance of their control systems. This will be used as feedback to OAS design process to improve design of new control systems. The SAFIRE technologies will extend the overall OAS portfolio and increases the innovativeness of OAS through the addition of solutions for challenges related to Industry 4.0 (i.e. vast amount of data to process, needs for additional sensors for data acquisition and product control, connectivity demands, etc.).
ONA is a manufacturer of Electrical Discharge Machining (EDM) solutions, highly specialised in large, custom and automated EDM machines and installations. As part of the digital transformation of the company, ONA focuses on the research of advanced services for connected machines. A cloud platform (ONA Smart Connect) is being deployed with the dual aim of improving ONA customer´s processes and ONA products and services performance.
Advanced data analytics and dynamic situational models are the SAFIRE technologies explored in the context of adaptive machining and smart EDM. Research activities in this field try to increase the machine capabilities to adapt to changes with respect to pre-planned operations. When manufacturing a component, the relevant manufacturing data are monitored and registered to identify anomalies, or to advance deviations from a target pattern. It has been a matter of important research to apply machine-learning-based technologies in SAFIRE to anticipate unexpected events, or to generate new process sensors that can add valuable information to the signature part concept and the machine condition fingerprint.
The last developments in ONA EDM solutions increase the manufacturing options for a job. Apart from having many machine sizes and configuration options, some specific machining modes in the ONA Smart CNC open a potential for process optimisation. That is the case of eco modes for saving consumables and energy, or the management of urgent jobs, for instance. It is expected that Optimisation and Reconfiguration modules in SAFIRE will assist ONA customers to select the optimal EDM manufacturing way in their EDM workshops.