The DIGITbrain EU H2020 project, supporting manufacturing companies with data and associated AI-based optimisation, has been accepted for funding by Horizon 2020.
The idea of the project is to develop the Digital Brain that will support manufacturing companies with data and associated AI-based optimisation algorithms to create a whole new level of personalised and optimised manufacturing.
DIGITbrain is a three and a half year-long EU project with an overall funding of 8.34 million euros. It starts as a collaboration of 36 partners such as universities, research institutes, technology companies and manufacturing companies, and will recruit a further 35-40 collaborators, mainly technology and manufacturing small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), during its lifetime.
Westminster is one of the major and largest partners in the project and receives almost 400,000 euros from the budget. The researchers from The Research Centre of Parallel Computing at the University will be involved in the development of the ‘Digital Product Brain’ that is the core concept of the project.
There is a concept in manufacturing that is more and more widely applied and called ‘Digital Twin’. A Digital Twin is a computer-based application/simulation that mimics the real production line of a company and runs in parallel with the real manufacturing process. Using this Digital Twin, companies can rationalise the manufacturing process, make predictions regarding expected machine failures and can predict maintenance needs, for example.
The researchers want to put this concept into a whole new level with the development of the ‘Digital Product Brain’. The Digital Product Brain will store data about production lines/machinery used in factories throughout their entire life cycle, from the design of these machines to the recycling of them. With all this information, utilised by Artificial Intelligence (AI) and data analytics applications, the researchers can customise and set up these machines whenever required for very specific manufacturing tasks.
This will enable a new manufacturing model that they call ‘manufacturing as a service’ that will support creating products on demand, in a much more specialised way and in potentially small quantities but in a still economically feasible way.
For example, manufacturing a very specific furniture, for one specific purpose, and in a small quantity, the Digital Product Brain will be able to tell you where the closest and most suitable manufacturing facilities are and how those need to be customised to fit your purpose. It will set up and programme the machines to be able to produce the exact product you need.
The funding for the project given is by Horizon 2020, the biggest EU Research and Innovation programme, which promises more breakthroughs, discoveries and world-firsts by taking great ideas from the lab to the market.
Professor Tamas Kiss, the Co-Principal Investigator on the project at the University of Westminster, said about the achievement: "The Research Centre of Parallel Computing is delighted by this opportunity to work in the development of the "Digital Product Brain". We can utilise our long-standing experience that we gained when working with the manufacturing sector in the past ten years and can contribute to the creation of an intelligent new manufacturing model that has the potential to make a significant impact on how customised and specialised products are made today."