Virtual Factory Open Operating System   (Duration 10/2016 – 09/2019 Funding: Horizon 2020 2016 – Factories of the Future)  

Background

The World is facing the fourth industrial revolution based on ICT, specifically architectures and services, as key innovation drivers for manufacturing companies. Traditional factories will increasingly be transformed into smart digital manufacturing environments. Currently, the full potential for ICT in manufacturing is far from being fully exploited. Factories are complex systems and there is a need to develop a platform on which future manufacturing applications can be built. Vf-OS aims to be this platform.  

Objective

The goal of the vf-OS project is to develop an Open Operating System for Virtual Factories, composed by a Virtual Factory System Kernel (vf-SK), a Virtual Factory Application Programming Interface (vf-API) and a Virtual Factory Middleware (vf-MW). An Open Applications Development Kit (vf-OAK) will be provided to software developers for deploying Manufacturing Smart Applications for industrial users, using the Manufacturing Applications Store (vf-mApp) at the Virtual Factory Platform (vf-P).

The  Virtual Factory Platform (vf-P) will be an economical multi-sided market platform with the aim of creating value by enabling interactions between Software Developers, Manufacturing Users, ICT Providers and Service Providers. It will provide a range of services to the connected factory of the future to integrate better manufacturing and logistics processes.

Vf-OS aims to become the reference system software for managing factory related computer hardware and software resources and providing common services for factory computational programs.

Almende’s contribution

In the initial stages of vf-OS, Almende will be dealing with the identification of the potential software application developers, the understanding of their needs and expected business models. This will guarantee their participation in expanding the vf-OS Platform with Smart Applications.

Almende’s main goal is working on the vf-OS Platform Environment and the vf-Service Provision Framework, providing a holistic service platform which is the foundation for all services and end user applications vf-OS will facilitate. The service platform will be the central outwards facing component of the project and will allow parties to easily develop, describe, discover, provide, consume, administrate, personalise and combine/compose applications, as well as monitor their executions. Since the developed applications may rely on on-cloud services, Almende is also responsible for leading the development and deployment of cloud services.

Next to this, Almende will also publish the project results on the OAK System Dashboard – Control Panel and Task Manager in international conferences and journals on Distributed Artificial Intelligence.

Results

The project aligns with Almende’s vision on the manufacturing domain, specifically when it comes to creating virtual factories and supply chains that share information in a transparent fashion and introduce a higher degree of flexibility. The insights gained in this project can be successfully applied to other manufacturing challenges in the future.

Keywords

Virtual factories, smart manufacturing, digital manufacturing, virtual supply chain

Partners