Rapid Reconfiguration of Flexible Production Systems through Capability-based Adaptation, Auto-configuration and Integrated tools for Production Planning
The ReCaM project is a three-year project funded by the European Commission in the Horizon 2020 programme under Grant agreement No: 680759. The project aims to develop and demonstrate the next generation flexible production systems leaning on reconfigurable modular production resources and associated engineering tools and control systems. These flexible systems allow rapid reaction to dynamic market changes, such as product variations and demand fluctuations, and changes in production itself, like dynamic routing, mixed-model production and production resource unavailability.
Tools for autonomous reconfiguration and auto-programming of the resources to the given product requirements will be provided.
The aim is to switch from programming to configuration, so that the reconfiguration activities, before taken on the tactical level, could now be performed on the operational level. This will be enabled by fast and easy reconfiguration, which does not require specific programming skills. The reconfiguration planning tool will be integrated to the upper level production management systems, such as MES (Manufacturing Execution System) and planning and scheduling systems facilitating the production planning and scheduling in a way which allows the changeover times and costs to be minimised. The integrated planning tool will also take into consideration the energy consumption of the specific resources and try to minimise it by smart production scheduling. The project consortium involves nine partners from industrial end users, technology providers and research institutions.
The ReCaM project aims to demonstrate a set of integrated tools for the rapid reconfiguration of flexible production systems, both at operational as well as tactical levels, integrated with the existing production planning and scheduling tools (MES) at a higher technological readiness level (TRL 7). This approach is based on intelligent plug-and-produce capable self-describing mechatronic objects, which are able to auto-program and self-adjust to the required task by utilising parametric capabilities. These next generation flexible production systems and the proposed set of enabling ICT tools will allow a rapid and cost-efficient reaction to dynamic market changes, also in small-lot production contexts, reducing the efforts needed to switch between product types and production quantities.
ReCaM-solutions are expected to allow increasing the number of variants and decreasing the lot sizes by 50% in an economically feasible way. Also, at least 30% reduction in set-up and changeover times and costs are expected. The integrated planning tool will take into consideration the energy consumption of the specific resources and try to minimise it by smart production scheduling, utilisation of integrated operating-point switching of mechatronic objects, and reconfiguration. Thus, at least 5% reduction in energy consumption is anticipated.
The main results of ReCaM project are a set of integrated tools for the rapid and autonomous reconfiguration of flexible production systems, both at operational as well as managerial levels, integrated with the existing production planning and scheduling tools. This approach is based on intelligent plug-and-produce capable self-describing mechatronic objects, which are able to auto-program and self-adjust themselves to the required task by utilising parametric capabilities. The project will make use of existing de-facto standards and specification regarding reconfigurable system architectures, resource data models, control architectures and interfaces, providing and supplementing new specifications for the missing aspects. These flexible production systems and the proposed set of integrated tools will allow a rapid and cost-effective reaction to dynamic market changes, reducing the efforts needed to switch between product types and production quantities.
These developments will be implemented on two industrial demonstration environments and one lab demonstrator. The first industrial demonstrator is the Bosch Homburg plant environment, which assembles hydraulic valves for industrial applications, featured by very high number of product variants and a huge fluctuation of product demand. Many of these valves require specific fixtures and processing equipment during production, however, currently many of the assembly resources are not adjustable/adaptable to handle many product variants.
The second environment is the CESA plant which produces hydraulic actuator components for the movement of aircraft structures and locking mechanisms for aeronautics applications. The current production system heavily relies on manual operations to address the highly specific processing requirements. The ReCaM tools supports the configuration of the system for products that are still in the ramp up phase, but with a demand forecast that grows fast. The Bosch lab demonstrator is being used as a proof of concept and test bed for the ReCaM tools.
The IEC 61499 is one of the enabling technologies in the project. As the only international standard that regulates the implementation of distributed control systems, IEC 61499 is better suited then other control solutions, to be used in the project for controlling a distributed network of mechatronic objects and providing a standardized communication between them. With its interoperability, configurability and portability features it fulfils the goals of the project like enabling a fast, flexible and easy reconfiguration of the system. The system model of the standards provides the topology of the entire system by means of mechatronic objects interconnected and communicating with each other, where each mechatronic object is capable of performing a set of independent tasks. The encapsulation of functionality and intellectual property, provided by IEC 61499, is the perfect solution for the concept of CPS-s and their applicability in distributed systems.
Dr. Sebastian Schröck email: Sebastian.Schroeck@de.bosch.com
Role: PROJECT COORDINATOR