Factory ECO-friendly and energy efficient technologies and adaptive autoMATION solutions

Project

 

The production landscape is changing. Traditionally, the energy costs represented a small part of the production expenses, meaning that the design of production facilities usually neglected investments in efficient energy usage in favour of more important factors, such as the maximization of production throughput; the energy consumption of factories has been in fact always high, but the cost of energy has increased dramatically in the last decades, pushing the industrial representatives to search for higher level of efficiency This scenario, however, is changing rapidly. According to the International Energy Agency, manufacturing is responsible for approximately 37% of global primary energy consumption being the largest energy consumer and CO2 producer. Improvement of energy/resource efficiency is the key to reduce environmental impact and is mentioned as driver to reach European 20/20/20 goals.

In order to obtain an efficient work and material flow, and achieve such challenging results, an overall optimization of the whole concept of Factory has to be pursued, introducing a new holistic vision of the production environment, with comprehensive interventions acting both at methodological and technological level.

Factory-ECOMATION project will aim at enabling European manufacturing industries to overachieve Europe 2020 program targets through development of breakthrough innovations for cost-effective, highly productive, energy-efficient and near-zero-emissions production systems, by means of:

  • Definition of a holistic perspective of the economically and ecologically oriented production environment;
  • Development of a comprehensive sensing, monitoring and data evaluation system which could grant access to an organic view of all the materials, energy, wastes and emissions flows within the factory;
  • Extension and development of new technologies to increase energy efficiency by reducing its consumption at machinery and production level, and by recovering it whenever wasted;
  • Development of advanced emissions abatement technologies
  • Introduction of a new adaptive management and automation platform to optimize production taking into account not only productivity targets but also eco and energy-oriented ones.

Factory-ECOMATION will improve and develop new technologies and processes, focusing in particular on two industrial sectors, relevant for European economy and crucial to achieve the EU 20/20/20 objectives: the iron&steel industry, a highly energy intensive industry characterized by continuous processes; and the woodworking industry, a high carbon footprint industry, to demonstrate the effectiveness of project outcomes on low-energy domains characterized by discrete processes. This two-pilots approach in two different sectors will grant the inter-applicability of the project results to other continuous and discrete industrial sectors as well.

To assure the impact on European economy, Factory-ECOMATION partnership includes relevant Industrial players in technology development and manufacturing, together with highly-recognized Research Centres. The inclusion of IMS partners will also grant a global scope to the project objectives, essential to achieve all the proposed results, including standardization and definition of eco-labelled processes.

The project results will therefore lead to a sustainable, as well as economically profitable, energy efficient, near-zero emissions factory framework, based on new measurement and control technologies and on new adaptive factory automation solutions. The new established paradigm will become a permanent reference point in sustainable European Manufacturing.


This project has received funding from the European Union Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007-2013) under grant agreement n° [314805].