The Intelligent Control Systems for the Factories of the Future vertical value chain (ICSFoF) is the result of the process of cooperation between academia and companies and the joint search for development priorities and products interesting for the market that has been taking place in the technology network Process Control Technology since its inception in 2002.
The process of selecting focus areas and product lines for the domain of Factories of the Future took place in parallel with the creation of the Smart Specialization Strategy in 2014 and 2015 and was based on the selection of areas with appropriate competencies and capacities. This set was supplemented in 2016 and represented the initial situation, on the basis of which the development strategy and action plan were built. In the process of SRIP’s operation in 2018 and 2019, there were additions to the focus areas of development and product lines, as well as the inclusion of new partners.
When supplementing the priority directions of development and product lines, we took into account global trends and upcoming technologies. Here, there is a great emphasis on general digitization, intensive automation and robotization of processes and, above all, increased integration of individual partial solutions into a common whole. Of course, all this does not only affect the production processes in a technical sense, but has also led to the need for new business models that are adapted to the new conditions, as well as the new role of employees in such factories. Instead of replacing people, technology will actually increase their role in production. The responsibility of repetitive tasks will be on automated and collaborative robotic production systems, and employees will take responsibility at a higher level in controlling these systems, making decisions in real time and looking for opportunities to increase product quality, reduce production costs and optimize individual important processes, such as maintenance of production equipment.
Research and development activities within VVC ICSFoF focus primarily on the following technological areas:
- Artificial intelligence in control and optimization of systems. In this context, the partners envisage the development of new solutions in the field of process optimization, control and diagnostics using methods for managing large amounts of data, machine learning, advanced statistics, etc.
- Digital twins in technical processes. The focus will be on the development of the methodology for establishing digital twins and the applications of this concept on various processes and devices.
- Energetics in complex systems. Activities will be focused on the development of software modules and interfaces that will enable energy optimization at the factory level and its integration into a higher energy level.
- Predictive maintenance – prognostics and assessment of the state of production devices and machines. The development of predictive maintenance is envisaged in various areas such as e.g. electric motor production line, bread baking line, metal sheet cold-rolling line, injection moulding machines, etc.
- Industrial Internet of Things. The focus will be on the development of interfaces and agents that will enable efficient connectivity of devices and machines into a single system.
- Integrated MES. Activities will focus on upgrading and expanding the functionality of existing MES systems.
- Specific control applications. In this context, further development work on the platform for controlling laser light sources in connection with microelectronic lithography based on accelerators is planned.