FAR-EDGE: virtualized factory automation solutions

Engineering is the project coordinator of FAR-EDGE: Factory Automation Edge Computing Operating System Reference Implementation.

FAR-EDGE is a joint effort of global leaders in manufacturing, industrial automation and future internet technologies towards facilitating the graceful and wider adoption of virtualized factory automation solutions by manufacturers in Europe and beyond.

In order to achieve this goal, the project will research and provide a novel factory automation platform (operating system) based on future internet technologies. Specifically, FAR-EDGE will introduce, implement and validate an open platform for factory automation based on an edge computing architecture, leveraging IoT/CPS and Blockchain technologies. Accordingly it will use this platform as a basis for establishing an ecosystem for novel decentralized automation solutions for the factories of the future (FoF).

FAR-EDGE will provide a reference implementation of architectural concepts introduced in the scope of emerging standards-based solutions for industrial automation, notably RAMI 4.0 and the reference architecture of the Industrial Internet Consortium. In this way, the project’s platform and associated ecosystem will lower the barriers for manufacturers (including SMEs) to move towards the Industrie 4.0 vision, as a means of increasing automation, streamlining manufacturing processes and facilitating new production models and trends (notably mass-customization and reshoring).

The design and development of the FAR-EDGE platform will consider different deployment aspects of CPS technology in the manufacturing domain in order to ensure that hybrid and/or decentralized solutions outperform existing centralized solutions in terms of production quality, speed and cost, thus alleviating manufacturers’ concerns about switching to new technologies.

FAR-EDGE will be validated in real-life plants (VOLVO, WHIRLPOOL) in the scope of user-driven scenarios (business-cases) for mass-customization and reshoring, where tangible improvements relating to reliability, productivity increase, quality cost, reduction in adaptation effort/costs will be measured and evaluated. Also, a wide range of migration scenarios will be evaluated in the scope of a CPS manufacturing testbed.

FAR-EDGE will also establish a unique ecosystem for FI factory automation solutions, which will bring together the FoF and FI communities (e.g., EFFRA, Industrie 4.0, AIOTI, ARTEMIS JU) and will ensure sustainability of FAR-EDGE results.