Beyond Industry 4.0: the impact of new, very innovative ITEA projects on product design 4.0

Posted by Philippe Letellier · 15 January 2019


In my previous Post I shared with you some unique results from ENTOC to master the engineering optimisation for production lines and from VMAP to ensure simulation engineering optimisation for materials. These two unique results are at the end of the industry chain on the production line itself.

Today I want to share with you some unique results arising at the very beginning of the industry chain, at the design level. But even I would say it is more revolutionary than that. There is no more start or end, I want to speak about the actual full digital loop when you acquire a bunch of data on all the usage of a deployed product/service to continuously adapt the product/service you are selling.

The ITEA project REFLEXION builds and demonstrates such a full digital loop on different kinds of products. The target of the project was to react fast to any effects observed in the field by evaluating and learning from the extracted usage information.

Océ has done an agile development with customers for its new inkjet printer. To identify the actual specification of the new product, it exploited 4GB of data per day coming from 300 sensors and 150 actuators. To exploit this data lake, it developed ODAS, an “Optimal Diagnosis Analysis System”. Beyond this automatic analysis, key was to support quick sharing between the company’s different specialists to reach a common understanding of the situation and then a common decision on what to enhance. To support its teams, Océ generalised the usage of the open source Jupyter Notebooks which easily allows text and code to be mixed, allowing all the engineers (not only the SW guys) to express their understanding and their proposal. Thus, confronted by an alarm coming from the automatic usage data analysis, the designers from different cultures can quickly share an understanding and together propose a solution that can be implemented in an agile approach. During this project Océ developed an incredible maturity on this full digital loop and a set of products and methodologies that can be useful for many other European players

Testing complex systems is becoming incredibly complicated . In any event, all the cases can’t be tested exhaustively. Thus, testing science is a question of understanding what is important, what is sensitive in your product and focusing the main test efforts on these zones to ensure a more basic test procedure for the rest. Confronted by a complex system, this ability to identify the key areas in your system is more and more difficult to master. In this REFLEXION project, Philips undertook a massive analysis of the usage data coming from its several thousand connected machines, clustering them to exhibit close to 200 different user actions. These patterns have been used to define the normal usage and to focus the test effort on the more important procedures. The exploitation of the full digital loop is indeed a revolution in the field of test effort distribution.

Siemens, on its side, focused on condition monitoring of machinery to detect faults earlier. Again, it deployed a full digital loop: from the on-field data acquisition, data filtering and calibration through data analysis and classification to visualisation and feedback on the design. In an operational full digital loop, some data is to be 'lost'. By enhancing the full digital loop with some simulated data to compensate for the missing data, the result was very surprising. In particular, these missing data very often appear in the fault situation where you haven’t enough data to ensure machine learning. This original approach delivers very good results. Thanks to REFLEXION, Siemens has begun selling engineering consulting projects for condition monitoring services.

For maintenance you are regularly confronted with the situation that the maintenance operator arrives on site and discovers the situation is not the one forecasted, so he must return with a different set of tools. This generates extra cost, customer dissatisfaction and demotivation. The SME Synerscope extends the REFLEXION results to the oil & gas market, enlarging the impact of the project. The state-of-the-art on smart meter maintenance is to solve the problem at 90% success rate after the first visit. Building this full digital loop with automatic default analysis, the problem-solving success rate reached 99.5% after the first visit.

Barco is a provider for hospital operating rooms, which is one of the most expensive rooms in a hospital, both from a CAPEX and OPEX perspective. As such, it is of prime importance for its customers to enhance the operational uptime of these operating rooms. Barco uses this full digital loop to improve the maintenance response by sharing insights in the health status of an operating room using the distributors and system integrators through the Nexxis Care Plan portal that has resulted from the REFLEXION project. It is also a unique opportunity for Barco to gain insights in the actual usage of its products as they appear behind an integrator in the value chain and couple these insights back to product design.

Beyond these examples, this project has resulted in many fast exploitations. The Dutch SME Axini forecasts several million euros for the next 5 years for their new test tools. The Belgium SME Yazzoom set up a new product service on anomaly detection. Philips considers now that logfile is a treasure for design and not just an engineering tool for maintenance.

It opens new incredible opportunities to be followed soon: all these data resulting from the full digital loop are generating actual treasures to get closer and closer to the end users to serve him even better. It will require protection and will open the door to many new services to serve all the stakeholders of the value chain. A great future is open.

If you want to understand more how to build such full digital loop in your business and take advantage of the REFLEXION software stack have a look on the simulation tool from TNO. It is very didactic and gives you an overview of the REFLEXION tool’s potential impact. A unique and original dissemination approach.

The target of ITEA is to be at the forefront of the Digital Transition. Again, REFLEXION delivers results which make the difference by using artificial intelligence at all levels. Don’t miss it!

Innovate with ITEA, innovate with the ITEA Community, innovate using the results of the ITEA projects.

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