The world of advanced manufacturing has now reached the fourth industrial revolution, a process which will result in fully automated and interconnected industrial production as a logical outcome of smart manufacturing. The new digital technologies will have a decisive impact in the context of the use of data and of analytics: once data have been gathered, value must be extracted from them. Today only 1% of data collected is actually utilised by businesses, whereas instead they could increase their own levels of efficiency thanks to “machine learning”, that is to say from machines which perfect their performance by “learning” from data gathered bit by bit and then analysed.
Total efficiency, process integration, digitalisation, data analytics: these are therefore the keys to building the Smart factory of the future. The challenge is to increase the levels of manufacturing, organisational, managerial and energy efficiency by achieving the highest possible degree of productivity for the process and of quality for the product.
The TOTAL EFFICIENCY 4.0 project, developed in partnership between Pirelli, Politecnico di Milano and Telco, positions itself within this scenario, by setting as its target the creation of a digital infrastructure for smart manufacturing aimed at establishing a true unification of the various phases of the production process. The new system will allow these to be managed dynamically and according to a logic of machine learning in respect of all the unified processes. To achieve this, prototypes of new integrated and sensor-equipped machinery will be developed, which are capable of supporting the new system. All the phases of production will therefore be involved, with the objective of obtaining increased productivity, increased flexibility, increased speed, increased energy efficiency, and a reduced variability of the product with a consequent increase in the quality levels of the finished product.
The architecture of the system, developed as a scalable pilot model, will thus take shape in the form of the creation of a complete application within Pirelli’s R & D laboratories in Bicocca.
The project partners will make their complementary expertise available amongst themselves, including skills from the industrial and academic arenas and from project design in the service of businesses. The results of the project, which is totally innovative, will be useful in maintaining the competitive advantage of companies in the region, as they will generate new levels of expertise and will have positive repercussions on the future development of its human resources.