Project title:                Flexible Manufacturing using Semantically Interoperable Data Integration

Project acronym:       FlexInt

The software solution implementation part of the project has been carried out during February, March and partly April 2019 and culminated in a pilot where we have connected 18 machines/device to the X1-GRID™ in a manufacturing environment. The whole setup operated for 14 days in March 2019. During this period, we have collected user’s feedback. Yaskawa Cockpit, a Yaskawa Inc. digital information solution for manufacturing, has been used for data visualization in this setup.

Within the scope of the project we extended the concept of the solution with a second prototype. This solution allowed us to integrate and feed the IBM Watson unsupervised machine learning solution with the aim to detect anomalies in manufacturing process. Our concept proved of utmost value since it was able to accommodate changes in data models of manufacturing application within an hour.

We have demonstrated that prototype on Hannover Messe 2019 at our own booth as part of IBM solutions. Conducting the discussions with the visitors that are manufacturing decision makers was the second source of customer feedback to our solution.

The solution feedback is summarized as follows:

-       The technical concept of FlexInt solution is appropriate

The concept enabled the users to quickly convey the changes on their machine application to their business systems. It also allowed them to effectively decouple the data management on operational technology level from data management on information technology level.

-       The presented concept of establishing Semantic Interoperability does not scale as expected by end users

The key user feedback/finding of the pilot has been that in order to achieve Semantic Interoperability in a brown-field situation one has to manually match often more than 100 machine model, where each model contains over 200 parameters. This requires extensive manual work, prone to errors. An automated solution that covers at least part of the work is needed.

-       The presented solution lacks a visual information management tool that would allow users to define transformation rules of raw machine/device data to information, such as KPIs.

We plan to continue working on the full realization of project FlexInt concept to bring the solution to the market. We plan to amend the initial plan to cover new product requirements discovered during the project. In addition, a new research project is required to cover the automation aspect of establishing the Semantic Interoperability.