Link to national or regional initiatives for digitising industry
This initiative is stated in the National Plan “Industria 4.0”, presented by the Italian Government in 2016, which provides for the creation of an innovative infrastructure composed of few and selected highly specialized Competence Centers (CCs) and selected Digital Innovation Hub (DIHs) all over the Country.
According to the National Plan:
- Competence centers have to involve leading Italian Universities and large private players; they should support to key stakeholders (e.g. research institutions, startups, etc.). Their mission is to orient and focus on facilitating Industry 4.0 transformational projects in all domains;
- DIHs are “soft” structures and their specific aim is to create awareness and support companies in the knowledge of technologies and their application.
The network of DIH act like a bridge, a strong and steady link between research and industry.
DIHs are the contact point among companies, research institutions and public/private investors at regional level. Their mission is to create awareness on the opportunities of Industry 4.0; provide support to the development of innovative investment plans; offer orientation to Industry 4.0 Competence Centers; favour the access to public and private financing solutions/investors; interact also with European DIH.
SMILE-DIH is part of the Digital Innovation Hub network created at national level.
More precisely, Smile-DIH, as well as European, is also recognized as Italian DIH of the Confindustria system and adheres to the "Piano nazionale Impresa 4.0" (in english "National Business Plan 4.0").
The National Business Plan 4.0 (formerly Industry 4.0) is an opportunity for all Italian companies that want to seize the opportunities linked to the fourth industrial revolution.
The Plan includes concrete measures based on three main guidelines:
All measures that have proved effective have been strengthened and addressed in a logic 4.0 and new ones have been foreseen to fully respond to the emerging needs.
The main actions:
Hyper and Super Depreciation (Investing to grow);
Nuova Sabatini (Innovation Credit);
Guarantee Fund (Expanding Credit Options);
R & D tax credit (Reward those who invest in the future);
Innovation agreements (industrial research projects and experimental development);
Development contracts (large strategic and innovative investment programs);
Startups and innovative SMEs (Accelerating innovation);
Patent box (Give value to intangible assets);
Highly specialized competence centers (Advanced technologies for companies);
Technology transfer centers (Training, consulting, services);
Tax credit training (Focus on skills).
Regarding the RIS3 strategies (national or regional innovation strategies for smart specialization), SMILE DIH wants to contribute with its activities so that the Italian economy becomes more intelligent, sustainable and inclusive, because, working well on all the three priorities, we believe we can contribute to the achievement of high levels of employment, productivity and social cohesion on the part of the European Union and the Member States.
SMILE DIH was established in March 2018. Its founding members, Unione Parmense degli Industriali (UPI) and University of Parma, have independently participated in some projects and initiatives financed by the EU in the H2020 and FP7 initiatives; in H2020, UPI has engaged in the Future of Internet initiative, with a project on the management of the cold chain in the agri-food sector and control of quality parameters in the transport of perishable materials; the University of Parma in many FP7 projects such as, among others, self-driving cars and research in the field of product traceability with RFID systems to combat food fraud and false products both in the food and in the field of fashion.
Directly as SMILE DIH, we joined the I4MS program, thanks to which we were born, and for which we are participating in some Working Programs related to DT-ICT-02-2018 calls: Robotics-Digital Innovaton Hubs, DT-ICT-06- 2018: CSA for Digital Innovation Hubs and DT-ICT-07-2018-2019: Digital Manufacturing Platforms for Connected Smart Factories.
We are also studying the SAE initiative and deciding which action can be interesting for us.
Dissemination (technical knowledge) and awareness raising
In short, the activity consists in the offer of Conferences, newsletters, publications, lobbying activities.
In particular Industrial ecosystem awareness on the technological innovation opportunities through:
- Workshops, conferences, technical insights;
- News and technical-scientific insights publication on websites, video interviews;
- Visits to enterprises and centers of excellence.
At least two of these are also reported on the national website http://preparatialfuturo.confindustria.it/formazione/in-aula/ while all the events have been published on our website, in the appropriate section.
Output: SMILE-DIH helped companies in coaching in Industrie 4.0 knowledge through workshops for hundreds of participants from different SMEs.
Forecast studies, market surveys
Education and information
Training courses, hosting training institutes, webinar
Commercial evaluations, feasibility studies, intellectual property evaluations
Research and Development projects, consultancy
Listen to the “customer’s voice” and develop the business accordingly
Obtain the infrastructure
Pilot production infrastructures, laboratories, demonstrations, validating solutions
Digital market, brokerage sessions to innovate, access to finance
Digital Readiness Assessment Maturity
SMILE-DIH has contributed to the development of ""Test Industry 4.0"" a customizable service for companies to assess their level of maturity compared to digitization and to define a roadmap and an implementation plan for the next evolutionary steps towards digitizing the company.
The level of maturity will be assessed on the basis of the individual assessment of the different dimensions (use of digital technologies, organization of production, control systems, etc.).
Within this set of parameters, technical and organizational solutions will be developed and presented in a roadmap to the company management to take the next evolutionary steps in the adoption of greater digitization.
In addition to the SMILE-DIH website, you can also see in action on the website of the national Confindustria system : http://preparatialfuturo.confindustria.it/digital-innovation-hub/check-aziendale-online/
Or here: https://www.testindustria4-0.com/
The ""Test Industry 4.0"" was created for several companies of different sizes, mainly in production.
Till now 25 evaluations made, with tipical profile: production.
The output of SMILE-DIH has helped companies develop a roadmap of activities to facilitate digital transformation.
Create an ecosystem
Workshops, company visits, conferences, brokerage, project development
Support for the implementation of projects and funding of investments
The target of our activities are small and medium-sized enterprises, mainly manufacturing, in order to make them able to adopt digital technologies and to integrate them into their processes. In particular, hub’s activities aim to support companies in the evolution of their production systems that go beyond pure production and that cover all parts of the value chain and operation of smart production systems along the entire supply chain.
Companies need to reinforce their awareness about the opportunities of new technologies and how they can improve their competitiveness, they need to upskill their workforce so to address the digital transformation challenge, and they need to have access to funding in order to make investments on new technologies.
We are currently following several projects that are more or less protected by industrial secrecy. The projects that have received the release form can be consulted on our website (both in Italian and in English) in the appropriate section: http://smile.italian-dih.eu/project_category/casi-duso/ (it), http://smile.italian-dih.eu/project_category/use-cases/?lang=en (en).
Use cases: SmartGlemMan
SMILE-DIH is committed to promoting successful Use Cases from industrial manufacturing companies. The ""SmartGlemMan"" case is below.
Abstract: Automatic identification of components and quality control in the production line
Organizations involved: Glem Gas SpA (manufacturing company) and DM Management & Consulting srl (solution provider)
Objectives obtained: The main objective of the project, which determined the effective supply of the turnkey solution, aimed to meet the needs of management and create a production model that allowed constant monitoring of production efficiency in real time and, at the same time , automate the control of production and activities related to quality control of the components produced.
The goal of the management was to create a new production model that would allow constant monitoring of production efficiency in real time and at the same time automate the control of production and activities related to quality control of the components produced.
Analysis of the state of the art
The process of analysis and study of the production model started with a careful analysis of the state of the art of production, this photo of the production processes has allowed to highlight the critical points and their influence on the production line, with consequent evidence in the inefficiencies and production problems.
Type of products
The company develops, manufactures and distributes appliances for cooking and for the wider world of cooking (kitchens, ovens, microwave ovens, cooktops, hoods, etc.), with distinctive expertise in the development of technology for the production of systems for gas cooking and Bi-energy cooking (gas or electric oven).
Department structure and production lines
The production process is organized into 4 assembly lines (120 work stations) and pre-assembly islands (20 workstations).
From the management point of view, each assembly line consists mainly of:
- a station, where the operator takes care of the pre-preparation and loading of the products that will enter the line;
- a series of assembly stations (with the exception of fixed quality control and test stations);
- control of certain quality stations and test stations, whose position is fixed in each line (but different from line to line);
- end-of-line stations for cleaning the product, canning, palletizing and sending to the storage warehouse.
The process currently provides that the pre-assembly department will carry out the basic structural component preparation phase, the assembly of the kitchen frame and some fixing components.
Output products supply line stations.
Downstream the product is made through a process of assembly along the stations of the line, starting from a first structure that comes in line (“muffle” or the carcass of the kitchen) until you get, after the test, to pay the finished product in the end-of-line station.
The lines of work on a single day shift based on the defined schedule.
The management and controls are delegated to the operators by filling out specific paper documents at the end of the order, which must record the production order, the serial number of the components produced, the transit time on the line, in fixed and fixed points, validate the quality tests (Ok / Not Ok label), and manage storage logistics.
As emerged from the analysis the main theme was to manage in real time and without the intervention of the operator the recording of production times, the transit time of materials, the sequence of kitchens for the assignment of freshmen, the association serial number and result of testing and finally the routing to the storage warehouse and related automatic payment of products in the ERP system.
The prototype model was based on the MES DMP Intelligent Manufacturing System (produced by DM Management & Consulting Srl of Parma), a technological platform that guarantees integration with the factory processes and business processes.
The technological structure of WEB native allows to have a collaborative system and in the same decision on production. The platform has been designed according to MESA guidelines “Manufacturing Enterprise Solutions Association”.
The DMP platform can collect information from the field using various IoTs and manual solutions, allowing production of information to be processed in real time, so that it can be graphically visualized through synoptic tables and specific dashboards of efficiency and productivity indexes (OEE-Pareto-etc .. ).
The project saw the use of RFID components, with storage of the serial numbers and insertion in the production lines of special antennas, in specific points of the line, for the reading of the serial numbers stored in the TAGs and related association of the operator activity.
This first prototyping phase highlighted a careful measurement of the production Lead-time, a precise and timely control of the matriculation / testing.
The activation in the second phase of the no-paper functions, functions that allowed operators to make declarations directly on the touch-screen monitors, allowed a punctual and careful analysis of the operational situations in real time, with consequent evaluation of the corrective actions to be carried out from the perspective of continuous improvement and maximization of production.
RESULTS OBTAINED BY THE NEW PRODUCTIVE MODEL
- Operational tests have shown that the new business model allows:
- efficient traceability of the product at every stage of the production process;
- real-time management of the final data of the lead-time with the preventive data;
- creation of the efficiency and productivity control system (OEE, standstill analysis and pauses, Pareto of inefficiencies);
- rapidity in directional decision making when negative events occur;
- productivity recovery thanks to the reduction of the declarative time of the operators (about 82% of the unproductive time);
- reduction of the WIP.
Use cases: TJiTLE
SMILE-DIH is committed to promoting successful Use Cases from industrial manufacturing companies. The ""TJiTLE"" case is below.
Abstract: Total Just-in-Time: Lean in ETO companies (notes: ETO = Engineering To Order)
Organizations involved: University of Parma + 3 different manufacturing companies (it is not possible to mention them because the project is subject to industrial secrecy)
Objectives obtained: The main objective of the project is to use lean principles to redesign the production planning approach (from order receiving to order delivering) and to boost operating performance, with the goal to:
- Reduce total throughput time
- Reduce durations’ variability
- Make quotations (both in terms of costs and time) more reliable
- Synchronizes the activities of the shop floor with that of the design department
The three organizations that will benefit from the services offered by the HUB can be classified as Engineering To Order (ETO). Indeed, they are complex pull-type manufacturing systems in which:
- products are made on customer specifications,
- the quantity to produce per product specification is one or only a few,
- the total throughput time is long (months if not even years) and
- variability is high.
More specifically, due to the lack of repeatability, to customers made products and to the need of insightful product know-how all these companies suffer of a very low degree of standardization, high variability and low performance predictability.
So, all three companies are experiencing severe difficulties in making reliable quotations for new orders, both in terms of cost of times. Not only estimating new orders profitability is hard, but also planning work avoiding delays and respecting due dates is challenging. In this scenario, an appropriate management of both materials and information, coupled with an effective synchronization of all scheduled activities, are vital issues of operational excellence.
To tackle these problems, the application of lean principles may be a promising solution. As known, relatively to the Make-To-Stock (MTS) sector, lean benefits are unquestionable, as lean has proven to be a powerful weapon to get rid of waste and to boost productive performance. Although not trivial, implementing lean in MTS companies cannot be said to be challenging, since lean principle are well known, many “off the shelf” operative tools have been developed and many Consulting Societies can be easily found on the market place.
Conversely, the situation is totally subverted in case of ETO companies, because the distinctive features of these companies are poorly aligned with standard lean requirements, which require stable volumes, repetitive products, short flow shop throughput times, linear routings and limited variability. Lean methodologies and tools dedicated to this kind of manufacturing systems are rare, and technical competencies for this niche segments are hard to be found.
This does not mean that lean principles cannot be fruitfully applied in the ETO contexts too. At a high level, lean principles remain valid, but the lean toolkit (i.e., a set of tools and techniques needed to deploy lean at the shop-floor level) must be rethought. Indeed, standard lean techniques have a common structural limit when applied to ETO contexts: they have a positive impact only at the departmental level, but they cannot improve the performance of the whole system. This is because the greatest losses of ETO systems are due to a lack of visibility and of synchronization among the different departments that are involved in order processing. Evidently, this effect is even stronger in long-cycle ETO companies where WIP control techniques, as far as feasible, are to be considered of secondary importance.
Owing to what mentioned above, the main objective of the project is to use lean principles to redesign the production planning approach (from order receiving to order delivering) and to boost operating performance, with the goal to:
- Reduce total throughput time;
- Reduce durations’ variability;
- Make quotations (both in terms of costs and time) more reliable;
- Synchronizes the activities of the shop floor with that of the design department.
To this aim, the aim of the project is to develop a holistic theory for the implementation of lean principles in ETO companies and, next, to build all the necessary tools for its deployment at the industrial level. It is important to note that, at present, all the tools for lean implementation are based, mainly, on paper/manual-based approaches or, rarely, on “ad-hoc in-house made” IT solutions that are non-integrated and, generally, non-global. Hence, as a secondary objective, we will strive to make lean a paperless paradigm by taking advantage of all IT solutions and Auto-ID technologies that are currently available. In this regard, the project will lay the foundations for the development of a novel – conceptually new – information system, widespread and pervasive, based on all the theory and all the implementation tolls designed during the project.
The main issues that will be covered are listed below:
- Create a new – lean based – framework for a detailed synchronization of both physical and information flows, which encourages the decentralization of management/control of production activities. We will call this methodological framework as Total Just In Time (TJIA);
- Identify, through tests performed in labs and/or in real environments, the smart technologies that could enable the development of an information system based on the TJIA theory;
- Use the identified smart technologies to convert the JIA theory in an IT based (i.e., paperless) lean-oriented toolkit, purposely designed to allow employees to reactively and proactively manage both production planning and control. Solutions belonging to the toolkit should be able to collect (e.g. adopting Auto-Id technologies), process and manage all significant events that can occur on the shop floor (both expected, as productive or logistic task completion – and unexpected, as a machine failure). To this aim, they will be based on an event-driven approach, so as to communicate, in real time and to all the stakeholders, the information on the status of Work In Process (at every department), as well as all other data needed to anticipate/solve potential problems. Lastly, to further increase processes’ visibility, the tools should also generate key performance indicators and other specific information, conceivably in the form of a centralized control dashboard for the Project Manager, and in the form of a visual planning dashboard for the Supervisor;
- Integrate the above-mentioned toolkit with the information systems of the companies (i.e., Enterprise Resource Planning, Manufacturing Executing systems and Product Data Management). This will make it possible to transform lean in a paperless approach.
Use cases: SISMA
SMILE-DIH is committed to promoting successful Use Cases from industrial manufacturing companies. The ""SISMA"" case is below.
Abstract: Smart Identification and location Systems for Maintenance Activities
Organizations involved: University of Parma + University of Pisa + 1 manufacturing company (it is not possible to mention it because the project is subject to industrial secrecy)
Objectives obtained: The goal of this project is the development and test of two smart devices based on Auto-Id technologies. These devices will be developed to safely manage some typical dangers of maintenance activities on sets of machines to reduce the risk:
- the first is a real-time location system for employee involved in maintenance tasks (with high accuracy – a few tens of cm). Thanks to this location will be possible to constrain the machine run until the operators aren’t in a “safe” zone;
- the second concerns the development of a “smart” drawers for maintenance tools: the tools equipped with Auto-Id device can only be removed by authorized personnel, properly recognized by the system, and only per a specific predetermined task to be conducted during maintenance activities. In addition, the run machine will be permitted only when all the tools are in the drawer.
The management of risk during maintenance activities is extremely important in the Machinery Directive 2006/42/EC. The machine design must take into consideration the risk associated with these activities; moreover, the proper execution of these tasks has to be described in detail in the “Instructions for Use” manual.
This problem is particularly important for the production lines and the integrated production systems (sets of machines). In fact, they are characterized by a considerable spatial extent and by the presence of a part of a multiplicity of machines / almost constructively complex machines and other part of material handling systems (such as roller conveyors or belt).
In this extremely complex context, there are some risks, such as:
- for those sets in which the control/command station isn’t easily distinguishable for all the working or maintenance workstations, there is a danger to reset or to start the machine with yet maintenance employee within (risk of entrapment). Today, different technologies, such as laser scanners, cameras, or methodologies based on double consensus starter, allow it to address this risk, failing in general to ensure the absence of human error;
- during the adjustment/calibration operations, after maintenance activities, the operators can be near dangerous areas. Such a situation is handled with maintained action controls (jog).
- in some cases, maintenance activities are complicated and require disassembly or reassembly of large and complex machinery, with a high number of tasks. So, it is possible that, the operators perform the sequence incorrectly, causing serious malfunctions to the next restart. At the same time, it is possible that maintainer leave behind tools and/or spare parts.
As part of Industry 4.0’s goals, these risks can be effectively reduced by using “smart” innovative technologies based on RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) technology, enabling to know, in real-time and high-precision, the position of objects and operators that are equipped with one or more transponders (tags). RFID technology with passive tags (ie they do not require a battery) allow unique identification and localization, remotely and at a low cost, of objects and operators, even in the case of very large spaces (sets of machines).