The Digital Shopfloor: Industrial Automation in the Industry 4.0 Era

J. Soldatos, O. Lazaro, F. Cavaldini

River Publishers. 2019. p.59-68

At the dawn of the fourth Industrial Revolution, the benefits of plants’ digital transformation – flexibility in automation, predictive maintenance, zero defect manufacturing – are increasingly becoming evident. Despite its early implementation and proof-of-concepts, the Industry 4.0 vision is still in the early stages for various reasons, including manufacturers’ poor awareness about digital manufacturing solutions and their business value potential; the high costs associated with the deployment, maintenance and operation of CPPS systems in manufacturing shopfloors; the time needed to implement CPPS/IIoT and the lack of a smooth and proven migration path from existing OT solutions; the uncertainty over the business benefits and impacts of IIoT and CPPS technologies and so on.

In order to face these challenges, this book provides some insights into automation and simulation platforms towards a digital shopfloor. The book is organized in three parts. In the first one, following an introduction to Industry 4.0, it is presented a range of innovative digital platforms, which have been developed within three EU projects – AUTOWARE, DAEDALUS, and FAR-EDGE – under the H2020 Programme for research and innovation. These projects have recently joined forces towards a “Digital Shopfloor Alliance” aiming at reducing costs, time and efforts to implement safe digital processes and products and secure I4.0 digital automation system.

In this book, Z-Bre4k is presented as an example of Predictive Maintenance, since the implementation of its PdM platform will allow to eliminate unexpected-breakdowns and extend the life of production systems, thanks to its Reactive, Coordination and Cognitive functions.

In terms of specific Industry 4.0 functionalities and use cases, the second part of this book focuses on systems that boost the development of flexible and high-performance production lines such as the digital simulation systems (i.e digital twins).

However, since the successful adoption of digital automation concepts in Industry 4.0 depends also on a wide range of complementary assets that favour the adoption of digital automation functionalities, the third party of these book focuses on a variety of elements affecting digital automation in Industry 4.0, from digital transformation strategies and the training of workers in new processes, to migration strategies and ecosystem building efforts.

In conclusion, authors in this book also emphasize that although the vision of a fully digital shop floor is already developed, we are only at the beginning and there is still a long way to go to implement this concept.

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