Interview to Daniel Gesto, Senior Project Manager at AIMEN (Asociación de investigación metalúrgica del Noroeste) and Z-BRE4K project coordinator.

Within Z-BRE4K, AIMEN coordinates the project and contributes with its competence in the field of data gathering developing a distributed Cyber-Physical Systems (CPS) architecture for a real-time data collection, distribution and pre-processing of the data acquired from different machines/process of the plant.

  1. Daniel, as project manager of Z-BRe4K which are in your opinion the main strengths that will make Z-BRE4K solutions competitive and appealing in the Predictive Maintenance market?

Z-BRE4K is focused on providing the Manufacturing Industry with a solution that could transform the Maintenance daily activity from preventive to predictive. The Z-BRE4K solution comprises the introduction of eight (8) scalable strategies at component, machine and system levels. The main strength of Z-BRE4K lies on its modularity, that is its solution could be adapted to every customer needs.  

  1. Which challenges from the manufacturing industry is Z-BRE4K contributing to tackle?

Manufacturing trends have been changing significantly in the last years. Traditional mass production processes are no longer valid due to the current demands on product customisation. This and the rising pressure on production costs are the main drivers to foster flexible and easy-reconfigurable manufacturing configurations. Definitely, this adds complexity in planning and control of production systems, leading to a fall in productivity. Thus, it is clear that preventive maintenance strategies designed for traditional highly repetitive and stable mass production processes, based on predefined components and machine behaviour models, are no longer valid and more adaptive and responsive (predictive-prescriptive) maintenance strategies are needed in order to reduce the number of unexpected breakdowns to zero. In this sense, the main challenge of Z-BRE4K solution is to be able to Predict Remaining Useful Life (RUL) of assets instead of scheduled interval maintenance.

  1. How do you think the future of PdM technologies in Europe will be and how should governments support the spread of these technologies?

Market for Predictive Maintenance Solutions is experimenting a huge growth worldwide and this trend shows a promising future. Thanks to the digital transformation a lot of data from the manufacturing processes can be collected and processed almost in real time. However, it is very important to distinguish between relevant and irrelevant data considering associated costs. One important issue to be tackled in the coming years is security behind data exchanging.

Since Predictive Maintenance is a hot topic, in order to reduce significant costs of manufacturing companies, in next future  governments should put on the table some actions from their side in order to promote the development and the implementation solutions like the Z-BRE4K one, since this will definitely increase the competitiveness of their local companies. In this sense, creating specific R&D&I calls for this topic, promoting training and dissemination actions and so on will be more than welcome in short-term.

  1. As member of the Advanced Manufacturing department at AIMEN, how do you think Z-BRE4K will increase the competitiveness of your stakeholders? How will the project results be integrated in AIMEN portfolio?

The adoption of Z-BRE4K solution will increase the competitiveness by reducing failures, downtimes and, consequently, by increasing the operating life of assets and then reducing the associated significant costs.

AIMEN is working on the development of an embedded real-time IR-based arc welding quality control system, that constitutes one of the components included in Z-BRE4K modular solutions. The promising results we are obtaining will be used to increase our portfolio in the field of materials processing quality control, enabling us to go beyond in this research line, for which we are now offering new solutions to the market together with a Spanish company.

  1. Z-BRE4K is taking part in the ForeSee cluster with the other projects of the FoF-09-2017. Which relevant activities are you carrying out in collaboration with other projects’ partners across Europe?

ForeSee cluster has been created by 6 ongoing H2020 Projects that are working on Predictive Maintenance. The main objective of the cluster is to promote Predictive Maintenance Strategies in the Manufacturing Industry. In this sense, several Activity Areas ave been defined and Z-BRE4K is leading the one focused on STANDARDIZATION, where Z-BRE4K is dynamizing the possible incorporation of new or modified standards in the scope of Maintenance.

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