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Clustering

Four projects funded under the European Seventh Framework Programme have joined forces to give a coherent view of clean manufacturing to industry. REFORM is working with AREUS, EMC2Factory and ENEPLAN on different aspects of the eco-factory. Joint dissemination and training activities will spread a single message on competitive, green manufacturing to industry.

After participating in several impact seminars in Brussels, the first meeting of the cluster was held in Sheffield on 15 October 2013. Members of the four projects discussed ways of working together to enhance the research results produced and to disseminate the research as widely as possible. The cluster has since held joint dissemination events at Industrial Technologies in Athens and at TPA-Italia in Milan, and a joint leaflet and banner are planned.

A training event at the Politecnico di Milano was attended by all four projects and clean manufacturing technologies were taught to the next generation of engineers.

 

 

 

 

Industrial robots and automation systems offer high speed precision and dispatch repetitive tasks quickly and accurately. Due to these enhanced performance capabilities, they are adopted rapidly in all sectors of industry for a variety of manufacturing tasks such as welding, surface mounting of electronic circuits, component assembly, pick-and-place tasks and packaging. While robotics offers high speed accuracy it is also intrinsically energy intensive and its massive adoption compromises factory sustainability.

The objective of AREUS is to overcome this limitation providing an innovative integrated technology and engineering platform, which is interdisciplinary, modular and configurable. Efforts are focused on a significant reduction in their ecological footprint and in cutting total lifecycle costs while improving productivity and adaptivity. Four research and development areas have been selected and will be addressed during the project’s lifetime:

  1. Hardware technologies to leverage bi-directional energy flows and to improve the use of renewable energy sources in factory,
  2. Eco-efficient design of robotic production systems,
  3. Sustainability optimization of production processes,
  4. Lifecycle assessment of both environmental and economic costs linked with co-evolving products, processes and robotic production systems.

 

Today’s manufacturing plants offer a number of different processing techniques for making any specific product, each with different advantages and limitations. During manufacture, the factory must be able to quickly shift between operations with short programming and set-up times without compromising quality, reliability and life-cycle costs. However, one of the main driving forces in today’s production is the environmental friendliness and the energy efficiency of the production itself. The main objective of ENEPLAN is the development of highly flexible manufacturing systems that are adapted to a single product. These systems will cover the operation of the whole plant , from overall planning (product routes, production scheduling) down to programming the individual processes (process operation, energy efficiency etc). Process planning will be based on expert systems and tools will be developed to simulate the operation of each machine both from a technological and an economical point of view.

ENEPLAN will deliver a manufacturing planning decision support tool to optimise plant operation and which can be used during every phase of production from concept design to dispatch.

 

EMC²-Factory will improve and develop new technologies and processes, combining existing tools and methods in an overall integrated framework, to achieve economic and ecologic factories. It will focus on the main energy intensive processes within the most relevant industrial sectors in Europe (automotive, rail and aerospace), developing tangible and industry relevant results to be easily implemented in cross-sectoral manufacturing environments. To assure impact on European economy, EMC²-Factory's partnership includes the main Industrial players and SMEs in manufacturing, highly-recognized research centers and Universities and one of the main European industrial associations. The project results will therefore lead to a sustainable and economically profitable, green factory framework. The newly established paradigm will become a permanent reference point in European Manufacturing.

 

REFORM will carry out research to make every part of the lifecycle of a composite component greener. Methods for forming, machining (cutting and trimming), assembly and recycling composites will be investigated and advances demonstrated through a range of case-studies. By using the technologies developed in REFORM, companies will be able to reduce lead-times and manufacturing times, reduce energy-use and the amount of scrap produced and meet end-of-life and recycling directives. REFORM is also developing tools which will allow companies to assess the cost and environmental impact of implementing new technologies.