A European project set to develop tools to prevent breakdowns in industrial machinery
IK4-IKERLAN is participating in the CREMA project with EU funding of more than 5 million euros
- It will develop computing tools to monitor the functioning of critical components in machinery so that possible breakdowns can be anticipated
- Component use will be optimised, thus avoiding not only repairs, which can be very expensive, but also delivery delays
"A stitch in time saves nine," so the saying goes. This saying is very apt in the case of industrial machinery; their breakdowns can be very costly to repair and can also cause problems in the organisation of the company such as delivery delays. In fact, to prevent breakdowns or the malfunctioning of machinery, the European Union (EU) has launched the project CREMA (Cloud-based Rapid Elastic MAnufacturing); it will be developing tools to monitor critical components of machines so that it is possible to find out and analyse their state and thus anticipate future problems.
IK4-IKERLAN is participating in this European project that will be developing various cloud-based computing tools to help companies optimise their production resources. The new technologies will allow the functioning of the machinery to be constantly monitored; that will enable companies to find out the best moment to replace a specific component in a machine.
So the aim is to maximise the performance of machine components and, at the same time, to prevent the appearance of breakdowns.
The tools that will be developed in the CREMA project will make it possible for data to be captured in real time from the machines in the production plants, for these data to be securely stored on the cloud and be monitored on mobile devices, and for an ongoing analysis of the evolution of the indicators to be carried out.
Should a problem be spotted for example in the quality standards of a process or in the abnormal functioning of a critical component of a machine, an alert will be issued to trigger a collaborative process on the cloud to establish the intervention that has to be carried out to solve the problem.
The technology developed will allow all the various parties involved in the repairs to be put into contact with each other: the company using the machinery, the supplier of components and the after-sales service which will handle the intervention.
That way, the aim is to drastically cut the time and cost of the interventions while increasing the available capacity of the production resources.
CREMA is being funded by Horizon 2020, the EU programme supporting R&D, and has a budget of over 5 million euros. It is part of the 'Factories of the Future' initiative devoted to developing high added-value technologies for the so-called Factories of the Future. The project, led by the German company Ascora, got going recently and will run for three years. Participating in the project together with IK4-IKERLAN are Fagor Arrasate and Goizper, Basque co-operative companies that belong to the capital goods sector, plus another seven organisations from four European companies.
Due to the proliferation of ICTs and the bursting onto the scene of the Internet in all spheres of our society, the manufacturing industry is undergoing a substantial transformation not only in the functionality of the means of production but also in the software and services used in production environments. In parallel, future manufacturing processes are changing to adapt to a highly flexible and dynamic environment so as to meet demand that is increasingly unpredictable and tricky to manage.
“Future factories have to evolve so that they are capable of reacting flexibly, rapidly and efficiently,” said Eduardo Saiz, head of the project at the Basque R&D centre.
SMEs tend not to have sufficient resources to develop or acquire technologies like those expected to be developed in the project. That is why the CREMA project will be developing computing applications that are scalable and adaptable to different types of enterprises belonging to sectors as varied as the automotive, or capital goods sectors. This technology could also be useful for large steel works, paper mills, chemical product companies or the foodstuff industry, for example.
The role of IK4-IKERLAN
In this project, IK4-IKERLAN will be applying the experience it has built up in many projects to transfer technology to industrial companies so that it can specify, implement and validate one of the two pilot cases in the project focussing on the maintenance of one of the critical components in the presses of Fagor Arrasate, which is supplied by Goizper. It will also be actively participating in the development of the monitoring and alert systems. To carry out these activities IK4-IKERLAN will receive funding of over 460,000 euros.
“What is spurring us on at IK4-IKERLAN is the desire to help companies be more competitive and we have experience in improving the organisation of all kinds of companies, from multinationals to small enterprises in our area, and this has enabled us to build up significant experience in this sphere,” asserted Eduardo Saiz.
IK4-IKERLAN is a leading centre in technology transfer and in the contribution of competitive value to companies, thanks to its capacity to offer comprehensive solutions by combining various technological domains. This is possible due to its high degree of expertise in six major domains: embedded systems, power electronics, microtechnologies, energy, mechatronics and advanced manufacturing.
Name: CREMA - Cloud-based Rapid Elastic MAnufacturing
Funding body: European Union
Programme: Horizon 2020-FoF-2014
Contract number: 637066
Project leader: Ascora