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Key Research Priorities for Factories of the Future—Part II: Pilot Plants and Funding Mechanisms

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Mission-oriented policies have been proposed for research and innovation in the European manufacturing industry to address grand challenges while fostering economic growth and employment. A mission is required to have clear goals that can be demonstrated also to a wide public, therefore research and innovation infrastructures play a key role to create the necessary conditions. Given the fundamental importance of public investment to promote innovation, possible funding mechanisms for industrial research and innovation are discussed. Furthermore, taking advantage of the experience gained during the Italian Flagship Project Factories of the Future, this chapter identifies three types of industrial research and innovation infrastructure that can support mission-oriented policies: lab-scale pilot plants, industrial-scale pilot plants, and lighthouse plants.
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Chapter 21
Key Research Priorities for Factories
of the Future—Part II: Pilot Plants
and Funding Mechanisms
Tullio Tolio, Giacomo Copani and Walter Terkaj
Abstract Mission-oriented policies have been proposed for research and innovation
in the European manufacturing industry to address grand challenges while foster-
ing economic growth and employment. A mission is required to have clear goals
that can be demonstrated also to a wide public, therefore research and innovation
infrastructures play a key role to create the necessary conditions. Given the fun-
damental importance of public investment to promote innovation, possible funding
mechanisms for industrial research and innovation are discussed. Furthermore, tak-
ing advantage of the experience gained during the Italian Flagship Project Factories
of the Future, this chapter identifies three types of industrial research and innova-
tion infrastructure that can support mission-oriented policies: lab-scale pilot plants,
industrial-scale pilot plants, and lighthouse plants.
21.1 Introduction
The adoption of a mission-oriented approach has been proposed to reshape the Euro-
pean research and innovation policy agenda [1,2]. Mission-oriented policies have
the potential to promote continuous innovation while providing solutions for specific
problems in the scope of social grand challenges.
The previous chapter of this book [3] adopted a mission-oriented approach to
propose seven missions (i.e. circular economy, rapid and sustainable industrialisation,
robotic assistant, factories for personalised medicine, internet of actions, factories
close to the people, and turning ideas into products) for research and innovation in
T. Tol io
Director of the Italian Flagship Project “Factories of the Future”, Direttore del Progetto Bandiera
“La Fabbrica del Futuro”, CNR - National Research Council of Italy, Rome, Italy
T. Tol io
Dipartimento di Meccanica, Politecnico di Milano, Milan, Italy
G. Copani ·W. Te rk aj (B)
CNR-STIIMA, Istituto di Sistemi e Tecnologie Industriali Intelligenti per il Manifatturiero
Avanzato, Milan, Italy
e-mail: walter.terkaj@stiima.cnr.it
© The Author(s) 2019
T. Tol io e t al . (e ds.), Factories of the Future,
https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319- 94358-9_21
475
476 T. Tolio et al.
manufacturing industry. These missions were designed taking inspiration from the
scientific results of the Flagship Project Factories of the Future [4].
A mission-oriented approach requires the participation of the civil society both for
the identification of the social challenges to be addressed and for the assessment of
the results. This chapter deals with the problem of funding mission-related projects
and demonstrating their results. Also in this case, the organisation and results of the
Flagship Project Factories of the Future provided valuable input. Indeed, the flagship
project designed open calls for proposals and funded small-sized research projects
aimed at realizing hardware and software prototypes demonstrating the key scientific
and industrial results [4]. These research projects share common traits with mission
projects defined in the scope of a mission-oriented approach [1].
Section 21.2 analyses which are the current initiatives and possible funding mech-
anisms to implement mission-oriented policies. In particular, the need of proving the
results of mission-oriented policies leads to design and develop appropriate research
and innovation infrastructures that can be accessed by a large set of stakeholders.
Therefore, Sect. 21.3 presents three types of industrial pilot plant that can support
industrial research and innovation: lab-scale pilot plants, industrial-scale pilot plants,
and lighthouse plants. Relevant examples of ongoing initiatives are presented for each
type of pilot plant.
21.2 Funding Industrial Research and Innovation
Research and innovation play a relevant role in relation to the prosperity, health and
wellbeing of the citizens in Italy and Europe. In this perspective, the public pol-
icy to support research and innovation is crucial to fund, activate, and encourage
actions and players. After analysing the current research and innovation policy con-
text (Sect. 21.2.1), this section presents a theoretical framework to address the main
challenges related to research and innovation funding (Sect. 21.2.2).
21.2.1 Current Research and Innovation Policy Context
and Challenges
Due to the fundamental role of manufacturing for guaranteeing sustainable growth
and social welfare [4,5], especially after the recent financial crisis, the European
Commission, member states and regions have devoted considerable resources to
support manufacturing research and innovation during the last decade, launching a
wide number of programs and initiatives.
At European level, the Commission promoted Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs)
to strategically address and manage research and innovation programs. In Manu-
facturing, the PPPs Factories of the Future (FoF),1Sustainable Process Industry
1http://ec.europa.eu/research/industrial_technologies/factories-of-the-future_en.html.
21 Key Research Priorities for Factories of the Future … 477
through Resource and Energy Efficiency (SPIRE),2Robotics,3and Photonics4were
established. In order to address specific innovation and uptake challenges, further
initiatives were launched, such as the programs FTIPilots,5the SME Instrument6
and the Knowledge and Innovation Communities (KICs)7of the European Institute
of Technology (EIT).
Based on the Smart Specialisation Policy, programs for inter-regional cooperation
aimed also to industrial technology innovation were funded, such as the INNOSUP8
and INTERREG9programs. The European Commission created the S3 Platform on
Industrial Modernisation10 with the goal of supporting EU Regions in the definition of
relevant innovation investment projects based on smart specialization and mobilizing
the interest of a high number of stakeholders in Europe. Furthermore, the European
Commission invested in creating a better context for technology uptake considering
skill, regulation framework, and access to finance for companies, especially SMEs.
Examples are Investment Plan for Europe (including the European Fund for Strate-
gic Investments EFSI),11 the Blueprint for sectoral cooperation on skills,12 and the
Long Life Learning Program.13 Furthermore, the European Investment Fund (EIF)14
manages INNOVFIN SME Guarantee Facility, COSME Equity Facility for Growth
(EFG) and Loan Guarantee Facility (LGF).
At national level, all most industrialized manufacturing countries have setup
research and innovation programs in manufacturing. Some examples are Platform
Industrie 4.015 in Germany, Catapult network16 and its High Value Manufacturing
(HVM) division17 in UK, Usine du future18 in France, Fabbrica del Futuro19 and
Piano Industria 4.020 in Italy, Industrial Conectada 4.021 in Spain, Made Differ-
2https://www.spire2030.eu/.
3https://ec.europa.eu/digital-single-market/en/robotics-public-private-partnership-horizon-2020.
4https://www.photonics21.org/.
5https://ec.europa.eu/programmes/horizon2020/en/h2020-section/fast-track-innovation-pilot.
6http://ec.europa.eu/programmes/horizon2020/en/h2020-section/sme-instrument.
7https://eit.europa.eu/activities/innovation-communities.
8https://ec.europa.eu/easme/en/horizon-2020-innosup.
9https://interreg.eu/.
10http://s3platform.jrc.ec.europa.eu/industrial-modernisation.
11http://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/policies/investment-plan/.
12http://ec.europa.eu/social/main.jsp?catId=1415&langId=en.
13http://ec.europa.eu/education/lifelong-learning-programme_en.
14www.eif.org.
15https://www.plattform-i40.de/I40/Navigation/EN/Home/home.html.
16https://catapult.org.uk/.
17https://hvm.catapult.org.uk/.
18http://industriedufutur.fim.net/.
19http://www.fabbricadelfuturo-fdf.it/.
20http://www.sviluppoeconomico.gov.it/index.php/it/industria40.
21http://www.industriaconectada40.gob.es/Paginas/index.aspx.
478 T. Tolio et al.
ent22 in Belgium, Smart Industry23 in the Netherlands. In general, these programs
include actions spanning from industrial research to innovation activities. In some
countries, such programs are linked to the setup of National Technology Clusters
representing the priorities of the manufacturing community and coordinating man-
ufacturing stakeholders (e.g. the Italian Cluster Intelligent Factories mentioned in
Sect. 21.3.3.2).
At regional level, manufacturing policies are implemented in alignment with
the concept of Smart Specialisation promoted by the European Commission.24 The
majority of such programs are co-funded through the European Structural and Invest-
ment Funds (ESIF).25 Initiatives at regional level are more bounded towards inno-
vation in specific industrial domains of excellence of local industry. Some examples
are:
innovation vouchers awarded in Baden-Württemberg26 (Germany), Lombardy27
(Italy) and Limburg28 (the Netherlands);
specific credit and loans schemes for SMEs such as the Robotic loan of Pays de
la Loire (France) and the financial tools of Finlombarda29 in Lombardy (Italy);
the Innovation Assistant30 in Saxony-Anhalt, Brandenburg, North Rhine-
Westphalia (Germany), Kärnten and Tyrol (Austria), through which regions co-
funds employment of skilled graduates in regional SMEs to boost know-how trans-
fer and innovation;
measures supporting the development of new manufacturing skills, such as the
Industry 4.0 training programme in Navarre31 (Spain), Compétences 2020 in Pays
de la Loire (France) and the Flemish Cooperative Innovation Networks-VIS in
Belgium.
With a focus on innovation infrastructure at regional level, the Vanguard Initiative
(see Sect. 21.3.2.2) aims at the synergic cooperation of European Regions to boost
innovation through the establishment of a European network of pilot plants based on
smart specialisation. The Vanguard network of regions elaborated a specific model to
fund the establishment and operation of pilot plants. Such a model implies a decreas-
ing public contribution from the phase of pilot plants implementation, to the phase of
22http://www.madedifferent.be/.
23https://ec.europa.eu/futurium/en/system/files/ged/nl_country_analysis.pdf.
24https://ec.europa.eu/jrc/en/research-topic/smart-specialisation.
25https://ec.europa.eu/eip/ageing/funding/ESIF_en.
26https://www.wirtschaft-digital-bw.de/en/measures/hightech-digital-innovation-voucher/.
27http://www.openinnovation.regione.lombardia.it/it/storie-di-innovazione/news/al-via-i-voucher-
per-la-digitalizzazione.
28https://www.cpb.nl/sites/default/files/publicaties/download/do-innovation-vouchers-help-smes-
cross-bridge-towards-science.pdf.
29http://www.finlombarda.it/home.
30https://ec.europa.eu/growth/tools-databases/regional-innovation-monitor/support-measure/
innovation-assistants-0.
31http://clusterautomocionnavarra.com/industria-4-0/herramienta-de-auto-formacion-en-
industria-4-0/.
21 Key Research Priorities for Factories of the Future … 479
operations (service offering) up to the industrial uptake, with the necessary condition
that companies complement public intervention through private co-funding.
With the goal of including in virtuous innovation processes not only the most
advanced regions but also emerging manufacturing regions, recently new regions
from Eastern Europe joined the Vanguard Association and specific initiatives were
supported by the European Commission (e.g. the Greenomed INTERREG Mediter-
ranean Project32).
Similarly to the national level and stimulated by the European Cluster Excellence
Programme,33 regional Clusters play a central role in coordinating the industrial
ecosystems for the definition and exploitation of regional research and innovation
policies. As an example, Lombardy Region created Regional Technology Clusters
as actors supporting the regional government in the definition and management of
research and innovation policies in alignment with National Clusters. Among them,
Associazione Fabbrica Intelligente Lombardia (AFIL) is the cluster representing the
manufacturing sector.34
However, the current manufacturing policy framework presents still challenges
for companies and other research and innovation manufacturing stakeholders, which
are summarized as follows:
Even if the coordination among various policies improved in the last few years, the
wide number of fragmented initiatives at all geographic levels makes it difficult
for companies to address in a synergic and efficient way the different funding
opportunities.
The current research funding approach is mainly technology-based, while a
mission-oriented approach would be more effective to address industrial chal-
lenges [13].
Existing inter-regional cooperation programs support joint activities based on a
geographical proximity base, while common interests might emerge in a wider
European supply chain view.
Apart from digital technologies, funding for innovation and uptake of specific
technologies is limited.
The availability and access to innovation infrastructure to uptake research results
is still limited in Europe.
The access to research and innovation opportunities and services is unbalanced
among the most industrialised and less advanced manufacturing regions.
The role of intermediators for research and innovation, such as Clusters, is very
heterogeneous in various regions and countries.
These challenges are acknowledged by European, national and regional institu-
tions that are working cooperatively to improve the current policy context in the
scope of the existing governance framework. The next European Research and Inno-
vation programme (2021–2027) is expected to invest about 100 billion euro. Most
32https://greenomed.interreg-med.eu/.
33https://www.clustercollaboration.eu/eu-initiative/cluster-excellence-calls.
34http://www.afil.it/.
480 T. Tolio et al.
of the budget will be dedicated to the programme Horizon Europe35 that, building
on the previous Horizon 2020, will be based on three pillars: Open Science, Global
Challenges and Industrial Competitiveness, and Open Innovation.
The main novelties of Horizon Europe include:
The key role of the European Innovation Council (EIC)36 to support breakthrough
innovation.
Research & Innovation Missions [1] within the Global Challenges and Industrial
Competitiveness pillar.
Strengthening international cooperation.
Enhancement of open access dissemination and exploitation.
Simplified approaches to partnership and funding.
21.2.2 A Framework for Research and Innovation Funding
Research in general, and specifically industrial research, is traditionally organized
through a set of sequential steps starting from basic research towards the exploitation
of the results in a real industrial environment. The various phases in this chain
have different aims and methodologies and, consequently, involve different actors.
Basic or fundamental research is aimed at improving the scientific understanding of
phenomena in general; it is manly curiosity-driven and is carried out by public bodies
like universities and research bodies. On the contrary, the industrial development
phase has the main objective of bringing the results of the research (e.g. a prototype
or a demonstrated approach) to its industrial maturity. Consequently, the involved
actors are those interested in the exploitation of the results.
Funding research has to take this structure into consideration. Basic research
always requires a public funding support since it is not explicitly aimed at devising
exploitable results within a defined time horizon. When moving to applied research,
funding is traditionally public-private, while industrial development is in charge of
venture/risk capitals or industrial partners aiming at the exploitation of the research
results, although some public support is possible, e.g. in terms of tax credits.
This traditional approach to research funding has a clear and widely-accepted
motivation and a fruitful implementation tradition in many countries. Nevertheless,
some criticalities arose, in particular because of the increasing requests to rapidly
bring the results of the research to the maturity phase and leverage on the consequent
high level of innovation and competitiveness of the industry. As stated by Stokes [6],
“The belief that the goals of understanding and use are inherently in conflict, and that
the categories of basic and applied research are necessarily separate, is itself in tension
with the actual experience of science and industry”. Indeed, the link between research
35http://ec.europa.eu/horizon-europe.
36https://ec.europa.eu/programmes/horizon2020/en/h2020-section/european-innovation-council-
eic-pilot.
21 Key Research Priorities for Factories of the Future … 481
and innovation should be strengthened to fast identify research results that have high-
est potential impact in industry and to set the conditions for successful exploitation.
Nevertheless, establishing connections between the results of basic research and its
application is a complex process entailing the need of creating the conditions for
cross fertilisation, whose success is also sometimes due to serendipitous events. The
link between basic and applied research should be strengthened through:
1. The central role of research and innovation infrastructures that enable basic and
applied researchers to work together on goal-based research and innovation activ-
ities.
2. The possibility to fund joint basic-applied research projects. Funding could pro-
ceed through a stage-gate approach in which subsequent research and innovation
stages are funded based on positive results of previous phases (gates). Funded
actors may change in each phase according to the TRL level, required compe-
tences and interests.
3. Partnerships between applied and basic research bodies aiming at promoting
cross fertilization paths.
4. The role of Clusters and intermediators that mobilise the different research and
innovation stakeholders and provide an efficient and coordinated cooperation
environment.
In particular, the next section (Sect. 21.3) will delve into the first item of the list,
i.e. research and innovation infrastructures.
21.3 Infrastructures for Industrial Research
and Innovation
The concept of mission-oriented policy is strictly related to the need of clearly demon-
strating how specific innovation goals have been reached, while supporting the uptake
of innovation to generate wide industrial and societal impact. Bringing research
results to industrial applications is a critical issue for Europe. This is particularly
true for the Key Enabling Technologies (KETs) identified by the European Com-
mission, which have the potential to enable disruptive innovation in manufacturing
[7]. Innovation infrastructures can play a fundamental role to overcome the Valley
of Death, i.e. the phase ranging from Technology Readiness Level (TRL) 6-7 to 9
(commercialisation) [8,9].
Companies naturally tend to stay anchored to technologies and processes that
proved to perform well in the past (the path-dependent and lock-in effect reported
by [10]). The adoption of technologies and solutions implying a change of manu-
facturing paradigm presents a set of significant concurrent risks (technical, market,
organisational, and institutional risks) that companies are not often able to address
[11,12]. Innovation infrastructures can constitute a unique protected environment
where novel technologies coming from research can be cooperatively further devel-
oped and the contextual factors needed for successful technology exploitation can be
482 T. Tolio et al.
set-up (such as market existence and acceptance, sustainable network cooperation,
institutional and regulatory framework, etc.) [13]. Innovation infrastructures are also
useful to set-up and monitor innovation policies, since they can be stimulated by
institutional actors to implement industrial policies, or they can be used by the latter
to gather trends and assess the performance of various innovations in order to manage
policies contents in the long-term [14].
Despite the relevance of innovation infrastructures and the significant investments
devoted to them by governments at European, National and Regional level, innovation
infrastructures received limited attention from researchers [15], even though multiple
definitions and taxonomies were proposed in literature. As an example, Ballon et al.
[14] refer to innovation infrastructures as Test and Experimentation Platforms (TEPs)
and identified five types of them: innovation platforms, living labs, open and closed
testbeds, software platforms. Hellsmark et al. [16] call them Pilot and Demonstration
Plants (PDPs) and classified the following types: high profile pilot and demonstra-
tion plants, (lab-scale or industrial-scale) verification pilot and demonstration plants,
deployment pilot and demonstration plants, and permanent test centres.
The types of innovation infrastructure can be classified according to several dimen-
sions, such as the maturity of the technologies of the infrastructure (TRL), the focus on
technology scale-up versus (market) testing, the degree of openness of the infrastruc-
ture, the type of risks they contribute to mitigate and their goal in terms of addressing
non-technical challenges (such as the generation of diffused and tacit knowledge on
new technologies, the networking dimension and the needed institutional/regulatory
framework) [14,16].
In this chapter, three relevant types of innovation infrastructure are presented:
Lab-scale Pilot Plant (Sect. 21.3.1), Industry-scale Pilot Plant (Sect. 21.3.2) and
Lighthouse Plant (Sect. 21.3.3). Each type of innovation infrastructure is exemplified
with specific reference to the Italian research, industrial and policy context to show
the role of innovation infrastructures in a dynamic lifecycle perspective according to
the maturity of the technology and of the industrial uptake process, as suggested in
[16].
Lab-scale innovation infrastructures are aimed at increasing the TRL of avail-
able research results by integrating multiple technologies for the achievement of
an industrial objective (Lab-scale Pilot Plants). With this goal, a selected commu-
nity of key-stakeholders that contribute to generate more mature technologies in
a cooperative environment should be established. Subsequently, innovation infras-
tructures for the wide industrial deployment of mature technologies should be built
(Industry-scale Pilot Plants) to provide innovative solutions solving specific prob-
lems of manufacturing companies. Finally, permanent infrastructures are needed
to guarantee continuous support for technology uptake and complete the adoption
process (Lighthouse Plants).
Pilot plants will help the overall innovation system to make cross-fertilization
actions in a multi-facetted, highly networked, and dynamic environment where indus-
trial companies, universities, research institutes, policy makers, and civil society can
collaborate [17]. Digital technologies dramatically increase the opportunities of ver-
tical and horizontal integration in complex and dynamic eco-systems. The impact
21 Key Research Priorities for Factories of the Future … 483
Fig. 21.1 Different type of innovation infrastructure against solutions’ maturity and time (adapted
from [16])
and strategic importance of pilot plants will be measured in terms of value added,
better cohesion, open innovation, and social acceptance of industrial initiatives.
Referring to the framework proposed in [16], Fig. 21.1 shows three different
types of infrastructure considering the maturity of solutions (including technologies,
organization, business model, supply chain, etc.) and time.
The three types of infrastructure differ for the TRL of their technologies, their
main scope, the openness, their funding and business model, as well as for the type
of involvement of public authorities.
21.3.1 Lab-Scale Pilot Plants
21.3.1.1 Concept
A Lab-scale Pilot Plant is an innovation infrastructure aimed at supporting research
and innovation activities to progress in the TRL scale, making technologies more
mature and closer to industrial application (from TRL 4-6 to 5-7). Lab-scale Pilot
Plants are focused on the design and finalization of integrated technologies for the
solution of specific industrial problems [14], by exploiting solutions that are typically
the result of research projects. Therefore, these pilot plants are generally set-up (and
owned) by research organisations and universities that define also their strategy and
operations rules [16]. Innovative research results are transferred into the pilot plants
and the main effort in the setup phase is technology integration under a system
engineering perspective. Usually, in fact, research projects generate results in single
484 T. Tolio et al.
technology domains, but a systemic perspective to solve specific industrial challenges
is missing. Technological equipment of Lab-scale Pilot Plants consists of integrated
production systems or lines that can be used in certain industrial domains, but are not
customized for specific industrial applications yet. Thus, pilot technologies present a
certain degree of flexibility in order to be adapted to different configuration scenarios.
The goal of these pilot plants is exactly to define and demonstrate industrial and
technological configurations that can represent innovative solutions for the sectors
in which they are applied and that can be scaled-up in other pilot plants at industrial
level.
Besides the development of new technology setups for specific industrial scenar-
ios, which is a typical innovation activity, Lab-scale Pilot Plants can also perform
some research activities that are necessary to integrate the solutions (especially when
their nature is highly multi-disciplinary) or to complete the configuration and testing
phase. This justifies the central role that research organisations have in this type of
innovation infrastructure, in accordance with the main focus of generating scientific
and engineering progress. Moreover, a Lab-scale pilot plant has to be in continuous
evolution as it tries to integrate and finalize research results as soon as they become
available from research projects. To this aim, Lab-scale pilot plants are frequently
used as demonstrators in research and innovation projects.
Even though the main goal of Lab-scale Pilot Plants is to lower technology risk
and they are generally owned and managed by a single research organization, such
facilities constitute an aggregation point for various innovation stakeholders with
an important network effect [18]. Besides research organisations, the stakeholders
are mainly technology suppliers, that have to cooperate to integrate technologies in
manufacturing systems, and manufacturing end-users, that will be the final adopters
of technologies. The degree of openness of such facilities will be intermediate: all
key-actors at different supply chain and technology levels should be represented, but
their number should not be too high in order not to generate competition, conflict of
interest and not to reduce the efficiency of cooperation, as also stated by [14]. Usually,
stakeholders are highly reputed research and industrial partners in their competence
area, that already cooperate in research and innovation activities.
Lab-scale Pilot Plants can be funded and operated exploiting a mix of instruments.
Public research and innovation funding (at European, National and Regional levels)
supports the development of innovative technology solutions that can be included in
the pilot plant. Dedicated funding programs and Regional/National direct funding to
research organisations and universities for the setup of infrastructure can support the
creation of the pilot plants through the setup of a facility where multiple technolo-
gies are integrated. In-kind contribution can be provided by stakeholders, who are
interested in the infrastructure because it is a vehicle for the setup of new solutions
that later can be sold in the market or can be directly up-taken before competitors.
Revenues can be in the form of research and innovation contracts by customers inter-
ested in identifying and testing suitable solutions to solve their industrial challenges
as well as in the form of incomes from the first sales of such solutions by providers.
21 Key Research Priorities for Factories of the Future … 485
21.3.1.2 De- and Remanufacturing Pilot Plant at CNR-STIIMA
A relevant example of Lab-scale Pilot Plant is the “Mechatronics De- and Remanu-
facturing” pilot plant installed at CNR-STIIMA (ex CNR-ITIA). The pilot plant, in
its original configuration, was initially funded by Regione Lombardia with a grant of
1.5 million euro. After several upgrades supported by projects and industrial grants,
the pilot plant currently includes innovative technologies and prototypes doubling
its initial investment.
The pilot plant goal is to integrate and validate at TRL 5-7 a set of multi-
disciplinary methodologies, tools and technologies for the smart de- and remanu-
facturing systems of the future, with specific focus on mechatronic products.
The pilot plant was designed and built according to a precise strategy of CNR-
STIIMA (ex CNR-ITIA) that, based on the evidence that End-of-Life (EoL) of
mechatronics is addressed in a very fragmented and inefficient way in Europe,
decided to invest in the setup of a unique research and innovation facility in terms of
process integration and multi-disciplinarity of technological enablers. Single tech-
nologies, in fact, are currently available separately as the result of research and
innovation projects, but until they were not integrated in a plant that can replicate
real industrial processes for the achievement of manufacturing objectives.
The pilot plant includes technologies to support products disassembly, remanu-
facturing and recycling of materials (addressing mechanical pre-treatments), imple-
menting the most valuable EoL strategy according to the parts to be treated. Inno-
vation is pursued at three levels, as represented in Fig. 21.2: at the level of single
process/technologies, of the integrated process chain and of business model.
Fig. 21.2 Concept of the lab-scale pilot plant of CNR-STIIMA (ex CNR-ITIA) [19]
486 T. Tolio et al.
The plant consists of three connected cells. The first cell is dedicated to hybrid
disassembly of mechatronic components exploiting the human-robot interaction
paradigm. The second cell is dedicated to testing and remanufacturing of printed
circuit boards (PCBs) and it exploits highly flexible solutions to adapt to the extreme
variability of products. The third cell is dedicated to mechanical pre-treatment with
low environmental impact (i.e. shredding and materials separation processes) for the
recovery of high-value and critical raw materials from PCBs.
A virtual model (digital twin) connected to the real plant was realised for the
implementation of the concept of the Digital de-manufacturing factory.
The pilot plant is fully operational and has been employed mainly for research
and innovation objectives within several research and innovation projects, for which
it is a differential asset. In addition, the plant supports the offering of technology
services to companies willing to test the potential of new integrated technological
solutions for circular economy, mainly in the automotive, white goods, and telecom-
munication sectors. These activities allowed building a community of academics,
manufacturers, recyclers, remanufacturers and technology providers that constitutes
a pool of qualified service offering parties and potential partners for new research
and innovation projects. This community is continuously generating new knowledge
around the demonstrated technologies and contributes to the consolidation of supply
chain relationships that will be necessary when the demonstrated multi-disciplinary
solutions will be sold in the market.
Finally, the pilot plant is used also for training and education according to the
learning factory paradigm [2023].
21.3.2 Industrial-Scale Pilot Plants
21.3.2.1 Concept
An Industrial-scale Pilot Plant is an innovation infrastructure aimed at supporting
industry in the first uptake of innovative technologies and solutions that have been
previously demonstrated in Lab-scale Pilot Plants. Compared to the latter,Industrial-
scale Pilot Plants are equipped with technologies at higher TRL level (7-8) which
resulted to be successful in precedent innovation phases. The level of flexibility of
such technologies is consequently lower, and the pilot plant offers a demonstration
facility in real industrial environment to quickly and effectively test the benefits
of novel solutions with a setup tailored to specific business applications. Thus, the
focus of activity is more on demonstration than on design, which is limited to the final
customisation of the solution for the specific users’ applications. Limited industrial
research activities are carried out.
Demonstration activities are meant to reduce uptake risks. By testing the new
technologies on their specific products and processes, companies can better measure
expected benefits, thus being able to elaborate robust business plans and to define
financial needs. They are also able to anticipate organisational issues linked to new
21 Key Research Priorities for Factories of the Future … 487
technologies uptake (e.g. production re-organisation and the need of new skills and
competences of operators) that the Industrial-scale Pilot Plants might contribute to
address through specific industrial-oriented education programs. Finally, technical
services received by these pilot plants support industry in the definition of require-
ments for the technical integration of new technologies in production plants and in
the minimization of the inefficiencies during the ramp-up phase.
The main goal of Industrial-scale Pilot Plants is to offer a wide set of technology
and business services supporting the uptake. Consequently, these plants are more
open that Lab-scale Pilot Plants. Usually, they are not owned by a unique actor,
but they present a multi-ownership structure [16]. Public Authorities might also
participate or directly influence the governance of such infrastructure, since they are
supposed to generate impacts for entire industrial sectors and they need to have a
high level of openness to companies, especially to SMEs. This public-private nature
of the infrastructure makes the business model challenging, thus becoming a research
topic for future research per se.
The networking dimension associated with these pilot plants is very significant,
because, besides the goal of supporting technology demonstration and uptake plan-
ning, they are supposed to be a meeting point for companies to build new supply
chain partnerships that are needed in future operations of novel technologies.
Funding of this type of innovation infrastructure is challenging because required
investments are high and a public-private multi-ownership structure may be involved.
Public funding plays a major role in triggering the setup of such innovation infras-
tructures, since the direct benefit for single organisations and private investors is
less clear than Lab-scale Pilot Plants [24]. Revenues for the infrastructure derive
from direct service contracts with industrial customers, as well as from possible
public incentives schemes (such as vouchers) to stimulate the demand of services by
industrial companies.
21.3.2.2 Vanguard De- and Remanufacturing Pilot Network
for Circular Economy
The “Vanguard Initiative—New Growth Through Smart Specialisation” is a political
initiative of more than 30 European Regions aimed at promoting inter-regional coop-
eration based on smart specialization.37 The goal of Vanguard is to boost industrial
innovation exploiting synergies and complementarities of European Regions. With
this goal, regions organize themselves in pan-European partnerships of companies,
Research and Technology Organisations (RTOs), Universities and other manufactur-
ing stakeholders that propose and manage strategic projects for the establishment of
networks of pilot plants supporting the industrial uptake of innovative technologies
and the creation of new European value chains. The network of pilot plants is meant
to be a public-private service centre open to companies of all Europe, especially
SMEs.
37https://www.s3vanguardinitiative.eu/.
488 T. Tolio et al.
Fig. 21.3 Cross-regional architecture of the De- and Remanufacturing for Circular Economy Pilot
Network
Within the Vanguard “Efficient and Sustainable Manufacturing (ESM)” pilot
project, the “De- and Remanufacturing for Circular Economy Pilot Plant” was con-
ceived and designed [25]. The cross-regional architecture of the “De- and Remanufac-
turing” pilot plant currently includes eight Regional Nodes, each of them specialized
in a specific testing and demonstration domain (Fig. 21.3).
Each node will be a potential point of access for manufacturing end-users in the
same or in other regions, depending on the specific capabilities and target sectors.
According to regional specialisation, pilot nodes will include a set of advanced tech-
nologies to support companies’ uptake in specific domains, e.g. the remanufacturing
of electronics products, recycling of composites, re-use and recycling of batteries.
The main concept of the De- and Remanufacturing pilot network is represented
in Fig. 21.4. For each industrial problem, the most suitable combination of technolo-
gies to retrieve the highest residual value from the post-use product will be tested
and validated. The output of this process will be a set of demonstrated integrated
technological solutions and circular economy business models to support the imple-
mentation of the specific business cases at industrial level.
Currently, the definition of the pilot concept is supported by more than 80 private
companies (both SMEs and large companies) at European level with a cumulative
turnover of 27 billion euro and with some 150,000 employees, and 68 universities
and RTOs distributed among the involved regions. These actors also declared their
intention to co-fund the development of the pilot network.
It was estimated that this pilot network can lead to about 35 new industrial instal-
lations in five years after its setup, bringing a cumulative revenue for the involved
companies of about 215 million euro.
21 Key Research Priorities for Factories of the Future … 489
Fig. 21.4 Concept of the De- and Remanufacturing for Circular Economy Pilot Network
The implementation cost of the pilot network is estimated to be 50 million euro.
Currently, the Vanguard community and the stakeholders of the pilot plant projects
are discussing with European, National and Regional institutions, as well as with
banks and other private funding organisations, to define the most appropriate public-
private funding mix to establish the infrastructure.
The European Commission has recently selected this partnership to offer support
through experts’ consulting with the aim of removing the existing implementation
bottlenecks in the frame of the S3 Platform on Industrial Modernisation.
21.3.3 Lighthouse Plants
21.3.3.1 Concept
A Lighthouse Plant (LHP) is an infrastructure that aims at creating a reference pro-
duction plant, owned by a company and operating in a stable industrial environment,
based on key enabling technologies whose benefit was previously demonstrated (e.g.
in Lab-scale or Industrial-scale pilot plants). The aim of the LHP is twofold: on the
one hand, to demonstrate on a long-term basis novel technologies in operation,
thus supporting the continuous uptake by industry; on the other hand, to trigger the
development of industrial research and innovation activities to continuously improve
manufacturing solutions according to the progress of technology.
LHPs are conceived as evolving systems and are realized ex-novo or based on an
existing plant deeply revisited, where collaborative research and innovation, partially
funded by public institutions, is carried out by the owner of the plant together with
universities, research centres, and technology providers. The results of research and
innovation activities are meant to be readily integrated into the plant. The main
difference with respect to the other types of pilot plant presented in Sects. 21.3.1 and
490 T. Tolio et al.
21.3.2 is that LHPs are real plants operated by companies in industrial environments,
therefore they prove the sustainability of embedded technologies (TRL 9). A LHP
contributes to the generation of new knowledge for the industrial operation of novel
technologies. LHPs overcome the purely technology push approach while proposing
the use of technologies to solve specific problems, thus creating a link between
technologies and a strategy pulled by challenges.
Once realized, a LHP becomes a catalyst for further industrial research and inno-
vation activities, playing the role of test house in subsequent initiatives at regional,
national and international level to guarantee that the plant continues supporting over
time the uptake of new technologies that are there applied as early user.
Being owned by an industrial company, a LHP will be mainly funded by the
company itself, but public authorities can stimulate and co-fund the setup and fol-
lowing research and innovation activities. While guaranteeing intellectual property
rights (IPR) and confidentiality of key portions of the plant, the goal is to open as
much as possible the LHP to other companies and in general to the industrial sys-
tem. Educational and training activities must be designed to show how to follow the
innovation path, thus increasing the overall culture of the manufacturing network.
Various stakeholders can benefit from a LHP:
Manufacturers can set-up innovative plants that are constantly evolving coherently,
while receiving a particular and continuous attention on their industrial issues from
technology suppliers, universities and research organisations. The manufacturers
will have visibility according to the strategic scope of the plant, which is part of a
large LHP network.
Technology providers have the opportunity to develop new solutions that can be
tested in real production plants and be highly visible to potential buyers. This is
particularly strategic for SMEs and startup companies.
SMEs have access to concrete examples of application of new technologies that
can inspire several other smaller scale implementations.
Universities and Research Organisations have the opportunity to be involved in
research and innovation projects with production plants as a way to enhance the
results of their research and to receive new founding for subsequent activities.
The supply chain around the plant is positively influenced by the innovation that
often requires commitment from different members of the supply chain upstream
and downstream.
Local and national governments have the opportunity to assess concrete results
of the implemented innovation actions and to showcase best practices to national
and international actors. Based on the results, the local or national governments
can also identify strategic initiatives to be funded for basic or applied research in
the manufacturing domain.
21 Key Research Priorities for Factories of the Future … 491
21.3.3.2 LHP in Italy
The LHPs concept as presented in the previous section has been defined by Ital-
ian Cluster Intelligent Factories (CFI)38 to further boost the National Plan Enter-
prise 4.039 designed by the Ministry of Economic Development in Italy (MISE)
in 2017. This plan included incentives for super- and hyper-depreciation as a way
to support the implementation of advanced technologies in Italian manufacturing
companies.
CFI coordinates the LHP initiative in accordance with the strategic action lines
identified in its research and innovation roadmap [26]. A formal procedure has been
established for the submission of LHP proposals. Each company interested in the
LHP initiative can submit a proposal of research and innovation project linked to
a new plant (or a deeply renovated one) to the CFI Technical Scientific Committee
that will later express its opinion and possibly admit it to the LHP candidate list.
CFI supports the preparation of the LHP proposal till the submission to MISE. If
the proposal is approved by MISE, the new LHP will receive funding. After the
approval, each LHP proposer is invited to set up a scientific-strategic management
board for the project; an expert appointed by CFI Coordination and Management
Body is invited to participate at least twice a year in the board meetings to discuss:
the advancement of the project with respect to the workplan;
consistency and synergy of the project activities with the CFI activities;
coordination and planning of joint initiatives with CFI.
Furthermore, each LHP project will participate in the Lighthouse Plant Club40
managed by CFI to support:
promotion of the direct interaction with Ministries;
visibility of the LHP at national and international level;
access to a set of competences available among CFI members;
participation in the initiatives promoted by CFI;
participation in the training and education activities promoted by CFI;
identification of follow-up research and innovation initiatives.
Currently, four LHP proposals have already been approved by MISE (see
Fig. 21.5), each one with a total value for research and innovation activities ranging
from 10 to 19 million euro (in addition to the value of the new plant):
Ansaldo Energia.41 Smart Factory based on the application of Digital Technolo-
gies.
38www.fabbricaintelligente.it.
39http://www.sviluppoeconomico.gov.it/index.php/it/industria40.
40http://www.fabbricaintelligente.it/english/light-house-club/.
41www.ansaldoenergia.com.
492 T. Tolio et al.
Fig. 21.5 Lighthouse plants approved by MISE: aAnsaldo Energia, bORI Martin and Tenova,
cABB Italy, dHitachi Rail Italy. Courtesy of Italian Cluster Intelligent Factories (CFI)
ORI Martin42 and Tenova.43 Cyber Physical Factory for steel production from
scraps.
ABB Italy.44 Multi-plant factory for the production of the complete Circuit breakers
portfolio.
Hitachi Rail Italy.45 New Products Platforms produced in Digital Factories.
MISE Ministry and the local Regions will contribute to the public funding of these
research and innovation projects connected to the plant for 36 months by signing a
strategic innovation agreement for each Lighthouse Plant.
The LHPs will enable the CFI community, and in particular SMEs, to have a
special access to the technologies of Industry 4.0 in real applications.
Acknowledgements This work has been partially funded by the Italian Ministry of Education,
Universities and Research (MIUR) under the Flagship Project “Factories of the Future—Italy”
(Progetto Bandiera “La Fabbrica del Futuro”) [4].
The authors would like to thank Marcello Colledani, Rosanna Fornasiero, and Marcello Urgo for
their valuable contributions to this chapter.
42www.orimartin.com.
43www.tenova.com.
44https://new.abb.com.
45http://italy.hitachirail.com/en.
21 Key Research Priorities for Factories of the Future … 493
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... Chap. 21 for a detailed description of the Lighthouse plants initiative [27]). ...
... The following chapters will present in details the scientific and industrial results of the 18 research projects (see Tables 1.6 and 1.7) [84][85][86][87][88][89][90][91][92][93][94][95][96][97][98][99][100][101]. Grounding on the experience and results of the flagship project, the final two chapters of this book present an outlook on future manufacturing research by proposing missions aimed at fostering growth and innovation [102] and discussing research infrastructures and funding mechanisms [27]. ...
Chapter
Full-text available
This chapter deals with the central role of manufacturing in developed and developing countries, assessing how relevant it is from economic and social perspectives. The current international and Italian manufacturing contexts are analysed by highlighting the main criticalities and the impact of relevant global megatrends. Then, the main ongoing industrial research initiatives are presented both at international and Italian level. Based on the elaboration of current context and research initiatives, the Italian Flagship Project Factories of the Future defined five research priorities for the future of the manufacturing industry. Based on these priorities, the flagship project funded a total of 18 small-sized research projects after a competition based on calls for proposals. The results of the funded research projects are analysed in terms of scientific and industrial results, while providing references for more detailed descriptions in the specific chapters.
... These topics are anticipated in the conclusions (Sect. 20.3) and better discussed in the next chapter of this book [11]. ...
... Therefore, effective research infrastructures are needed to improve the exploitation of promising scientific and industrial results. In particular, the following chapter of this book [11] analyses how pilot plants can help to overcome the so-called Valley of Death, i.e. the phase between Technology Readiness Level 6-7 and 9. Industrial research and pilot plants can be sustainable only if integrated (public-private) funding mechanisms and innovation partnerships are implemented. Open Access This book is licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), ...
Chapter
Full-text available
This chapter investigates research priorities for factories of the future by adopting an approach based on mission-oriented policies to support manufacturing innovation. Missions are challenging from a scientific and technological point of view and, at the same time, are addressing problems and providing results that are understandable by common people. Missions are based on clear targets that can help mitigating grand challenges. Based on the results of the Italian Flagship Project Factories of the Future, this chapter proposes seven missions while identifying the societal impact, the technological and industrial challenges, and the barriers to be overcome. These missions cover topics such as circular economy, rapid and sustainable industrialisation, robotic assistant, factories for personalised medicine, internet of actions, factories close to the people, and turning ideas into products. The accomplishment of missions asks for the support of a proper research environment in terms of infrastructures to test and demonstrate the results to a wide public. Research infrastructures together with funding mechanisms will be better addressed in the next chapter of this book.
... In order to cross the valley of death, a common approach is to gradually deploy a technology at sequentially larger scales in settings that in one way or another are shielded from full market competition, typically in pilot and demonstration plants (Frishammar et al. 2015;Nemet et al. 2018;Tolio et al. 2019). The latter especially tend to be associated with challenges, with the main reason being that they are highly capital intensive but still very risky from a technological perspective. ...
Technical Report
Full-text available
Executive summary It is becoming increasingly clear that substantial amounts of negative emissions-essentially, the removal of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere-will likely be required if global climate change is to be limited to 2°C above pre-industrial levels. In order to limit warming to 1.5° and thereby substantially reduce the risks associated with global climate change, negative emissions will be a crucial part of the mitigation toolbox. Among the different negative emissions options, bioenergy with carbon capture and storage, or BECCS, is arguably one of the most commonly discussed in climate policy debates. BECCS is very often discussed in terms of its potential and drawbacks over a very long timeframe, e.g., 2050 and beyond. In this report, however, we focus on the potential and challenges associated with deploying BECCS systems and value chains in the near to medium term. We provide a brief overview of different technological options for capture, transport and storage of CO2, and offer insights into how BECCS business models could be set up. We further discuss the role of public policy in this setting and how bioenergy with carbon capture and utilization (BECCU) could play a role in enabling BECCS deployment. An important starting point for any discussion on BECCS is to see it as a subset of a broader group of options for carbon capture and storage (CCS), because from a technological perspective the general principles are largely the same. When it comes to sectors where capture of biogenic CO2 would be feasible, bioethanol production facilities are a particularly low-hanging fruit because of the high concentrations of CO2 available for capture. However, applications in pulp and paper mills also show promise thanks to substantial CO2 concentrations and availability of excess heat that can be used in the capture processes. In addition, there are BECCS pilot and demonstration projects under development in both power stations (using wood pellets) and in waste-to-energy facilities. When it comes to transportation and storage infrastructure, these will most likely have to be shared among CCS systems irrespective of whether the source of CO2 is fossil or biogenic. Regardless of the area of application, actual deployment of BECCS will require public policy interventions at several levels. To begin with, there is a need for financing to de-risk and/or co-finance industrial investments in large-scale demonstration facilities. In addition, there needs to be a policy mechanism in place that rewards negative emissions. For example, no such mechanism is possible under the EU emissions trading system (ETS) and although there are other possible means of implementing such systems, the discussions on how this could be done are so far quite immature. In terms of the utilization of biogenic CO2 (BECCU), this could help drive innovation and enable cost reductions that help to unlock BECCS potential, because BECCS/U shares similar needs for CO2 capture technologies and infrastructure. In terms of the mitigation potential of BECCU in itself, this will vary a lot because BECCU includes a wide range of applications from enhanced oil recovery (EOR) to production of synthetic fuels via so-called power-to-X (PtX). In conclusion, the technological obstacles to near to medium-term deployment of BECCS systems are likely not prohibitive. However, the policy measures required to incentivize the demonstration, deployment and operation of BECCS value chains are currently largely absent. It is imperative that policymakers begin an earnest discussion about this as soon as possible if the potential of BECCS as a negative emissions technology is to be realized.
... The De-Manufacturing Pilot Plant sited in the lab of CNR-STIIMA (ex CNR-ITIA) [58] is dedicated to the integrated End-Of-Life processing of mechatronic products (specifically, printed circuit board, or PCB) using modular technological solutions to process heterogeneous work pieces (i.e. the PCBs) while requiring limited hardware and software reconfigurations. The first goal of the plant is to repair the PCB via remanufacturing and, if this is not suitable or technically feasible, by recovering valuable components through disassembly. ...
Chapter
Modern automation systems are asked to provide a step change toward flexibility and reconfigurability to cope with increasing demand for fast changing and highly fragmented production—which is more and more characterising the manufacturing sector. This reflects in the transition from traditional hierarchical and centralised control architecture to adaptive distributed control systems, being the latter capable of exploiting also knowledge-based strategies toward collaborating behaviours. The chapter intends to investigate such topics, by outlining major challenges and proposing a possible approach toward their solution, founded on autonomous, self-declaring, knowledge-based and heterarchically collaborating control modules. The benefits of the proposed approach are discussed and demonstrated in the field of re-manufacturing of electronic components, with specific reference to a pilot plant for the integrated End-Of-Life management of mechatronic products.
... A hypothetic recycling company already operating in the market was taken in consideration to assess the acquisition of the new flexible technologies for business expansion. Investment costs, operation costs and performance parameters (such as system capability, lead time, grade, etc.) were estimated through experimental tests carried out at the CNR-STIIMA (ex CNR-ITIA) pilot plant [41] equipped with the new technologies and relying on data from recycling literature. Table 5.1 reports the results of the Scenario Analysis for the described industrial case. ...
Chapter
Materials recycling is a key process to close the loop of materials in the direction of circular economy. However, the variability of waste and the high volatility of the price of recovered materials are posing serious challenges to the current rigid design of mechanical recycling systems. This is particularly true for Waste Electric and Electronic Equipment (WEEE), whose volume is growing more than other waste streams in Europe due to the diffusion of electronic products and to their short technology cycles. This study is aimed at the development of new flexible recycling systems through the implementation of a Hyper Spectral Imaging system and a simulation model enabling the real-time characterisation of shredded particles and the dynamic optimisation of process parameters for efficient sorting. A hardware and software prototype was realised and tested at the De- and Re-manufacturing pilot plant of CNR-STIIMA. The positive economic impact of flexible recycling systems enabled by new technologies was assessed through scenario analysis.
... The reference industrial case is a de-manufacturing pilot plant (Fig. 2.2) implemented in the lab of CNR-STIIMA (ex CNR-ITIA) [22][23][24]. The system was designed for testing and repairing of printed circuit boards (PCBs) and it consists of four cells and a transport line based on transport modules, in particular: The typical sequence of operations performed by the de-manufacturing plant consists of the following steps: ...
Chapter
The analysis and design of control system configurations for automated production systems is generally a challenging problem, in particular given the increasing number of automation devices and the amount of information to be managed. This problem becomes even more complex when the production system is characterized by a fast evolutionary behaviour in terms of tasks to be executed, production volumes, changing priorities, and available resources. Thus, the control solution needs to be optimized on the basis of key performance indicators like flow production, service level, job tardiness, peak of the absorbed electrical power and the total energy consumed by the plant. This paper proposes a prototype control platform based on Model Predictive Control (MPC) that is able to impress to the production system the desired functional behaviour. The platform is structured according to a two-level control architecture. At the lower layer, distributed MPC algorithms control the pieces of equipment in the production system. At the higher layer an MPC coordinator manages the lower level controllers, by taking full advantage of the most recent advances in hybrid control theory, dynamic programming, mixed‐integer optimization, and game theory. The MPC-based control platform will be presented and then applied to the case of a pilot production plant.
Chapter
Full-text available
The context in which manufacturing companies are operating is more and more dynamic. Technological and digital innovations are continuously pushing manufacturing systems to change and adapt to new conditions. Therefore, traditional planning strategies tend to be inadequate because both the context and short - term targets are continuously changing. Indeed, one of the goals of manufacturing companies is to keep manufacturing systems efficiently running, and reduce and control the impact of disruptive events, that may originate from different sources, not always known or well defined. In order to do so, manufacturing systems should be kept relatively close to the current optimal condition, while, at the same time, taking into account information about future possible events, which may require new optimal conditions. In fact, the reaction time to the change must be short, in order to remain competitive in the market. In addition companies to be competitive should lead the introduction of changes therefore they have to be both reactive and proactive. From this analysis, the new paradigm of ‘pit - stop manufacturing’ is introduced, in which the overall goal is to dynamically keep the manufacturing system close to an improvement trajectory, instead of statically optimizing the system. It is shown how the ‘pit - stop manufacturing’ deals with various aspects of current manufacturing systems, therefore providing novel research questions and challenges.
Chapter
The demand for key metals for the production of high-tech products is constantly growing in Europe, leading to relevant problems both in terms of supply risks and costs. Waste from Electric and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) is growing very fast in Europe, with an annual increase rate between 3 and 5%. Printed Circuit Boards (PCBs), which are embedded in electric and electronics products, are very valuable waste products, since they are composed also of precious metals and key metals (about 25–30%). Recycling of PCBs is a very challenging task that has not been solved yet: recycling rates for traditional metals are around 30–35% and many critical key metals, as well as the non metal fraction, are not recycled. This work proposes a set of solutions to be adopted towards the automated zero-waste treatment of PCBs. They address selective disassembly of PCBs components, mechanical pre-treatments, chemical processes for the characterisation of metals material content of PCBs, as well as for the recycling of their non-metal fraction. New business models are finally proposed for the uptake of such solutions in a framework of integrated recycling chain.
Book
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This book presents results relevant in the manufacturing research field, that are mainly aimed at closing the gap between the academic investigation and the industrial application, in collaboration with manufacturing companies. Several hardware and software prototypes represent the key outcome of the scientific contributions that can be grouped into five main areas, representing different perspectives of the factory domain:1) Evolutionary and reconfigurable factories to cope with dynamic production contexts characterized by evolving demand and technologies, products and processes. 2) Factories for sustainable production, asking for energy efficiency, low environmental impact products and processes, new de-production logics, sustainable logistics. 3) Factories for the People who need new kinds of interactions between production processes, machines, and human beings to offer a more comfortable and stimulating working environment. 4) Factories for customized products that will be more and more tailored to the final user’s needs and sold at cost-effective prices. 5) High performance factories to yield the due production while minimizing the inefficiencies caused by failures, management problems, maintenance. This books is primarily targeted to academic researchers and industrial practitioners in the manufacturing domain.
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This chapter investigates research priorities for factories of the future by adopting an approach based on mission-oriented policies to support manufacturing innovation. Missions are challenging from a scientific and technological point of view and, at the same time, are addressing problems and providing results that are understandable by common people. Missions are based on clear targets that can help mitigating grand challenges. Based on the results of the Italian Flagship Project Factories of the Future, this chapter proposes seven missions while identifying the societal impact, the technological and industrial challenges, and the barriers to be overcome. These missions cover topics such as circular economy, rapid and sustainable industrialisation, robotic assistant, factories for personalised medicine, internet of actions, factories close to the people, and turning ideas into products. The accomplishment of missions asks for the support of a proper research environment in terms of infrastructures to test and demonstrate the results to a wide public. Research infrastructures together with funding mechanisms will be better addressed in the next chapter of this book.
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This chapter deals with the central role of manufacturing in developed and developing countries, assessing how relevant it is from economic and social perspectives. The current international and Italian manufacturing contexts are analysed by highlighting the main criticalities and the impact of relevant global megatrends. Then, the main ongoing industrial research initiatives are presented both at international and Italian level. Based on the elaboration of current context and research initiatives, the Italian Flagship Project Factories of the Future defined five research priorities for the future of the manufacturing industry. Based on these priorities, the flagship project funded a total of 18 small-sized research projects after a competition based on calls for proposals. The results of the funded research projects are analysed in terms of scientific and industrial results, while providing references for more detailed descriptions in the specific chapters.
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The Teaching Factory is an emerging paradigm aiming to enforce skills and competencies of engineers and operators working in the field of manufacturing, through an alignment of the teaching and training activities to the needs of modern factories. In this research work, the Teaching Factory principles are applied to envision ManuLearning, a new interactive and explorative knowledge-based system, which aims at enhancing the workforce skills and competencies within the context of Industry 4.0, while developing an awareness campaign to newest technologies among Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs). This paper presents this envisioned system by mainly focusing on two key-aspects: (i) the elicitation of its major requirements; (ii) the design of the architecture, which highlights how to concretize the realization of a communication channel between the factory and education systems. Finally, a real case study is introduced in order to demonstrate the correctness and validity of the proposed system.
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The notion of Industry 4.0 is having a catalyzing effect for the integration of diverse new technologies towards a new generation of more efficient, agile, and sustainable industrial systems. From our analysis, collaboration issues are at the heart of most challenges of this movement. Therefore, an analysis of collaboration needs to be made at all dimensions of Industry 4.0 vision, complemented with a mapping of these needs to the existing results from the collaborative networks area. In addition to such mapping, some new research challenges for the collaborative networks community, as induced by Industry 4.0, are also identified.
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The Teaching Factory paradigm aims to align manufacturing teaching and training to the needs of modern industrial practice. Future engineers and knowledge workers need to be educated with new curricula in order to cope with the increasing industrial requirements of the factories of the future. The Teaching Factory paradigm comprises the relevant educational approach and the necessary ICT configuration for the facilitation of interaction between industry and academia. The Teaching Factory aims at a two-way knowledge communication between academia and industry. Both knowledge channels of the paradigm are presented, in the context of this work, within real-life industrial applications. The Teaching Factory paradigm provides a real-life environment for students and research engineers to develop their skills and comprehend the challenges involved in everyday industrial practice.
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Pilot and demonstration plants (PDPs) play important roles in technological development. They represent bridges between basic knowledge generation and technological breakthroughs on the one hand, and industrial application and commercial adoption on the other. The objectives of this article are to synthesise and categorise existing research on PDPs, as well as to suggest an agenda for future research. We review the PDP phenomena in three literature streams: engineering and natural science research, technology and innovation management, and innovation systems. The analysis highlights clear differences in e.g. conceptions of system boundaries and what the literature streams seeks to accomplish, but also similarities such as the key ideas of using PDPs for technology scale-up and uncertainty reduction.
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Learning factories present a promising environment for education, training and research, especially in manufacturing related areas which are a main driver for wealth creation in any nation. While numerous learning factories have been built in industry and academia in the last decades, a comprehensive scientific overview of the topic is still missing. This paper intends to close this gap by establishing the state of the art of learning factories. The motivations, historic background, and the didactic foundations of learning factories are outlined. Definitions of the term learning factory and the corresponding morphological model are provided. An overview of existing learning factory approaches in industry and academia is provided, showing the broad range of different applications and varying contents. The state of the art of learning factories curricula design and their use to enhance learning and research as well as potentials and limitations are presented. Conclusions and an outlook on further research priorities are offered.