Project

VFF - Virtual Factory Framework (EU FP7)

Goal: The project concept is here summarized in 4 points:

1 - Development of a Reference Model for factory planning
The current phase-based reference model of factory planning is analyzed. A new planning framework, allowing parallel planning phases is foreseen. It will provide a consistent data platform (“information market place”), intelligent project management support systems and the visualization of cross-links and interconnections between planning objects through a virtual prototype.
Factory = Product allows the application of existing product lifecycle management tools and methods onto the factory. Its main activity is the development of a Factory Data Model for buildings, processes, resources and products.
2 - Development of the VF Manager core
The VF Manager describes each element composing the manufacturing environment and their relations in order to perform a specific required activity. The VF manager guarantees data consistency and availability to any Functional Modules. The representation of this common space is based on the Factory Data Model.
3 - Development of the decoupled Functional Modules
The Functional Modules implement various tools and services for factory design, reconfiguration, evaluation, management, any functional module respecting the interfaces defined by the VF manager and based on the Factory Data Model can be integrated. The VFF project develops some of the key components of this modular approach: expected results in VFF project are collaborative customer-driven VF tools (based on the new paradigm of seeing the factory as a product) for cost-effective and rapid creation, management and use of complex knowledge-based Factories.
4 - Development of the Knowledge repository and Good Practice
VFF develops semantically enriched taxonomy rules in order to properly structure the knowledge recorded in all dimensions of the manufacturing enterprise. These rules will enable the systematic classification of all factory elements facilitating the modeling of complex systems and eventually enabling the examination of the factory as a product. The formalized knowledge will integrate strategies in order to adapt to fluctuating market demands, capacity planning methods, demand profiles and forecasts, modern business models and more. Towards this objective, this activity will introduce the capability to interrelate data from different sources through intelligent algorithms.

Date: 1 September 2009 - 1 February 2013

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Project log

Marco. Sacco
added 2 research items
The current complex market highlights the need of software tools supporting product engineering and manufacturing during the various stages of product and factory lifecycles. These are designed focusing on specific tasks, thus missing to satisfy the requirements of networked collaboration and concurrent engineering for the design and management of products, processes and production systems. A major challenge consists in the integration and harmonisation of the knowledge related to the factory of industrial companies by using a variety of multidisciplinary software tools. The topic is addressed by software providers and the scientific community, as demonstrated by the European project "Virtual Factory Framework" (VFF) that aims at developing an integrated framework to implement the next generation virtual factory. This paper describes the motivations behind the VFF concepts, together with the goals and the first results. Finally, it is presented how the Virtual Factory will be permanently synchronised with the Real Factory to validate its expected time and cost savings during the factory lifecycle phases.
Digital Factory is a comprehensive approach of network of digital models, methods, and tools - including modelling, simulation and 3D/Virtual Reality visualization- integrated by a continuous data management. (DiFac brochure, 2007). This paper describes the results of the research project named DiFac (FP6-2005-IST-5-035079) founded by the European Commission. DiFac realized a suite of results able to drive manufacturing SMEs from Digital to Virtual Factory. The DiFac Integrated Scenario illustrates the modularity and scalability of the project results. The paper shows a not so far in the future daily life in a possible manufacturing factory named SECONDA Laser Machine. Different actors in various parts of the world re-design a new product in a collaborative and delocalised way, re-organize the production line evaluating it with simulation and ergonomics and finally use the new technologies as Virtual and Augmented reality for designing the new laser machine and maintaining it efficiently.
Ferdinando Milella
added a research item
The current challenges in manufacturing engineering are the integration of the product/process/factory worlds (data and tools) and the synchronization of their lifecycles. Major ICT players already offer all-comprehensive Product Lifecycle Management suites supporting most of the processes. However, they do not offer all the required functionalities and they lack of interoperability. An answer will be given by the development of a Virtual Factory Framework (VFF): an integrated virtual environment that supports factory processes along all the phases of its lifecycle. This paper will focus on the Virtual Factory Manager (VFM) that acts as a server supporting the I/O communications within the framework for the software tools needing to access its data repository. The VFM will ensure data consistency and avoid data loss or corruption while different modules access/modify partial areas of the data repository at different times. Finally, an industrial case study will show the potentiality of the VFM.
Walter Terkaj
added 5 project references
Ferdinando Milella
added 2 project references
Ferdinando Milella
added a research item
The growing importance of manufacturing SMEs within the European economy, in terms of Gross Domestic Product and number of jobs, emphasizes the need of proper ICT tools to support their competitiveness. Major ICT players already offer one-does-all Product Lifecycle Management suites, however, these do show consistent shortcomings in terms of SME accessibility, degree of personalization and they often lack of an acceptable level of interoperability. These problems are being addressed by the development of a Virtual Factory Framework (VFF). The approach is based on four pillars: (1) Semantic Shared Data Model, (2) Virtual Factory Manager (VFM), (3) Decoupled Software Tools and (4) Integration of Knowledge. This paper will focus on the Virtual Factory Manager that acts as a server supporting the I/O communications within the framework and its stored knowledge for the Decoupled Software Tools needing to access its repository.
Ferdinando Milella
added a project goal
The project concept is here summarized in 4 points:
1 - Development of a Reference Model for factory planning
The current phase-based reference model of factory planning is analyzed. A new planning framework, allowing parallel planning phases is foreseen. It will provide a consistent data platform (“information market place”), intelligent project management support systems and the visualization of cross-links and interconnections between planning objects through a virtual prototype.
Factory = Product allows the application of existing product lifecycle management tools and methods onto the factory. Its main activity is the development of a Factory Data Model for buildings, processes, resources and products.
2 - Development of the VF Manager core
The VF Manager describes each element composing the manufacturing environment and their relations in order to perform a specific required activity. The VF manager guarantees data consistency and availability to any Functional Modules. The representation of this common space is based on the Factory Data Model.
3 - Development of the decoupled Functional Modules
The Functional Modules implement various tools and services for factory design, reconfiguration, evaluation, management, any functional module respecting the interfaces defined by the VF manager and based on the Factory Data Model can be integrated. The VFF project develops some of the key components of this modular approach: expected results in VFF project are collaborative customer-driven VF tools (based on the new paradigm of seeing the factory as a product) for cost-effective and rapid creation, management and use of complex knowledge-based Factories.
4 - Development of the Knowledge repository and Good Practice
VFF develops semantically enriched taxonomy rules in order to properly structure the knowledge recorded in all dimensions of the manufacturing enterprise. These rules will enable the systematic classification of all factory elements facilitating the modeling of complex systems and eventually enabling the examination of the factory as a product. The formalized knowledge will integrate strategies in order to adapt to fluctuating market demands, capacity planning methods, demand profiles and forecasts, modern business models and more. Towards this objective, this activity will introduce the capability to interrelate data from different sources through intelligent algorithms.