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New Research Profile Will Strengthen the Competitiveness of the Manufacturing Industry.

Updated: May 17, 2019

Project leaders Amos Ng and Anna Syberfeldt from the University of Skövde.

Virtual factories and knowledge-driven optimization (VF-KDO) is a profile that will deliver innovation to next generation's manufacturing process over eight years. The research has received close to SEK 100 million in funding. On Monday November 5, the profile was launched at ASSAR Industrial Innovation Arena.

The University’s research profile will work closely together with Volvo Car Corporation, Volvo Group Trucks Operations, Scania CV, IKEA Industry, Flexlink, Arla Foods Götene, and ABB. The research fields and the synergy received through the digitalization strategies of its partner companies will strengthen the competitiveness of the Swedish manufacturing industry.

Optimizing the Entire Production Chain

The work in the research profile is funded by the Knowledge Foundation and will be focused on testing various solutions for the industry in a virtual environment. Through virtual testing, industries will be able to perform development without having to invest in solutions that are not yet ready to launch.

– We can help industries test everything, from the smallest sensors to entire plants. Our virtual tests are also unique in the way that the entire production chain can be optimized. Traditionally, each part of the chain was optimized separately. The project Virtual Factories and Knowledge-Driven Optimization opens up for a holistic approach, says Anna Syberfeldt, Professor of Production Engineering at the University of Skövde, and project manager for the profile.

Making Cheese and Trucks

– Today, we launched the profile together with our partner companies. We have discussed our expectations on the profile, based on the digital factory and Industry 4.0., says Professor of Automation Engineering Amos Ng, project manager for the profile at the University of Skövde.

Even though the partner companies are quite diverse, from the manufacturing of cheese to trucks, Monday's meeting showed great similarities in that they all face the same challenges. Digitalization for a more efficient production.

– We hope to be inspired to take one more step towards optimizing our entire flow of goods in Götene, regarding production efficiency and security of supply to ensure product quality, says Magnus Larsson at Arla Foods in Götene.

Seven Research Fields

The industry solutions to be tested can be found in seven different research fields: OPT-KNOW (knowledge-driven optimization), INTERACT (interactive and virtual analyses), LINK (data, models, and knowledge-linked infrastructure), FLOW (flow modelling and reconfiguration on multiple levels), ROBOT (virtual robot cell settings), HUMAN (digital modelling of humans), and PROCESS (virtual process points). Altogether, this covers the entire production chain, which is unique, in Sweden as well as globally.

– Considering the unique composition of the profile, it is important that as many people as possible can access the research and development, and this is where ASSAR Industrial Innovation Arena will play a crucial part. The demonstrators that are being developed will be placed at ASSAR for maximum exposure, says Amos Ng.

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