R&D project is designed to digitally link value chains

May 19, 2017 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
As part of the European microelectronics funding program ECSEL, a consortium of more than 100 companies from 19 European countries have launched the Productive4.0 research initiative. The goal is applying the principles of the Internet of Things to manufacturing processes in company-spanning data-driven value chains – in other words, the implementation of next-generation of automation described as industry 4.0.

The activities are coordinated by Infineon, participating entities include semiconductor vendors NXP and STM, carmakers BMW and Volvo, electronics suppliers ABB, Bosch, Thales and Philips as well as a range of high-profile research institutes like Fraunhofer, TU Dresden and Karlsruhe Institute of Technology. “Real-time connected value chains will dramatically increase agility in development and production. They will thus help shorten time to marke,” explained Infineon CEO Reinhard Ploss. In this context of dynamic cyber physical systems, microelectronics is regarded as a key enabling technology, he added.

ECSEL is designed to strengthen the European expertise in manufacturing automation as well as electronics designed for application in a number of vertical industries, namely automotive and industrial electronics, security and energy distribution. Within the program, the partners will collaborate in a joint R&D effort for three years. The project budget amounts to 106 million euros, of which the European Union as well as the member states will contribute 51 million euros.

In terms of a material result, the Productive4.0 project will devise a digital application platform that spans value chains and industry branches. The participating partners will examine methods, concepts and technologies for service-oriented architecture as well as for components and infrastructure in the Internet of Things. Other aspects are standardization and process virtualization, in other words, simulating manufacturing processes to optimize real workflows. The platform can be used in the three interlocked process pillars for managing the supply chains, the product life cycle and digital production. The Productive4.0 project will run until 30 April 2020.