The main challenges in today's manufacturing, now pervaded by the digital transformation of industry, are how to reconcile competitiveness and efficiency with sustainability, and how to adapt networked, collaborative solutions to rapidly changing circumstances.
This is also true for the functioning of companies, factories and production units linked in the product value chain and the logistics networks that connect them. The impact of the economic shock of the coronavirus epidemic on manufacturing and related logistics is of particular relevance.
New network models need to be developed, whereby cooperation between independent business actors allows for more resilient and flexible operations, more efficient use of material resources (e.g. through circular economy) and a reduction of the combined environmental burden of manufacturing and logistics.
The aim of our research and development is to use new technological opportunities created by the digital transformation of industry. Also, to make production and logistics networks more efficient and adaptable to changing circumstances, while taking the requirements of sustainable production into account. Our aim is to develop models, communication and decision processes and business models based on these, which can be applied in realistic circumstances.
The methods are based on the data available as a result of digitalisation, the generation of forecasts and roadmaps derived from it, and cooperative protocols that encourage the parties to share not only information but also costs, risks and gains. In this way, we may support the operation of a circular economic model and sustainable production itself, taking into account the costs associated with environmental pressures.
We will implement and demonstrate solutions using state-of-the-art communication and cloud computing technologies. Our priority is to achieve results that can be applied in industrial practice and, due to the nature of the topic, in an international context. Therefore, we will work with the members of the Industry 4.0 National Technology Platform Alliance to discuss key problems and our proposed solutions, and will invest significant efforts to be part of successful European R&D proposals.