The EU CloudiFacturing project offers small and medium-sized enterprises in Europe easier access to high-performance computers running simulation software. Its aim is to digitize manufacturing processes and boost competitiveness.
(Darmstadt, Germany) The mission of the EU CloudiFacturing project is to streamline manufacturing processes by means of a digital marketplace. The initiative is aimed at small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Participants are provisioned with highly advanced and sophisticated modelling and simulation software via a cloud. Fewer than one in four SMEs in Europe employ state-of-the-art information and communications technologies. Against this background, the project has a clearly defined political goal. “Cloudification services will be an enabler of digitization in the manufacturing sector,” states Professor André Stork, head of the Competence Center for Interactive Engineering Technologies at Fraunhofer Institute for Computer Graphics Research IGD, the organization tasked with managing and coordinating the project. Giving SMEs affordable access to sophisticated tools running on high-performance computers will allow them to digitize their manufacturing processes. Via the cloud, they will be able to use a wealth of data captured from ongoing manufacturing operations as the basis for powerful analytics. This will lead to far more precise simulation of the manufacturing process that enterprises can leverage to improve competitiveness while conserving resources.
CloudiFacturing is open to enterprises EU-wide. An Open Call for Proposals for Application Experiments was issued in July 1. Application Experiments are subprojects with a maximum duration of 12 months whose goals correspond to the CloudiFacturing mission. Preference is given to the simulation of production processes, the utilization of operational data as a basis for optimization, and projects to improve processes and/or product manufacturability. Participants can be manufacturing SMEs, independent software vendors (ISVs), consultants, research organizations, and high-performance computing (HPC) providers. Proposals must be submitted by two to five multidisciplinary partners from at least two countries. Up to 100,000 euros in funding will be made available for each experiment. Proposals are submitted to, and evaluated by, specially created Digital Innovation Hubs.
The project has much to offer participating companies. The primary resource is the existing vendor-agnostic cloud infrastructure that can be employed to conduct the experiments. As a welcome side-effect, each new experiment will add a further useful facet to the service offering as a whole. As an alternative, where desired, intellectual property can be protected by individual agreements. The Digital Innovation Hubs, with experience drawn from 30 completed experiments, provide project support. Experiments give businesses the opportunity to gain valuable experience with high-performance computers and cloud computing. More realistic simulation results enable them to improve and streamline their manufacturing processes. Experiments deliver new insights into cloud-based business models. Furthermore, the CloudiFacturing digital marketplace has significant potential as a sales channel.
CloudiFacturing is a European Innovation Action (IA) within the framework of the Factories of the Future (FoF) public-private partnership. The project, which involves 34 partners from diverse European nations, follows on from the successful CloudFlow and cloud SME EU projects, and is overseen by Fraunhofer IGD, Darmstadt, Germany.