We envision future factories being designed by compositions of smart connected components, with a large part of the intelligence residing in the Cloud. This will enable increased flexibility and evolvability of manufacturing, as well as pave the way for new business models where production facilities can be accessible as cloud services.
Moving a large part of the production complexity to the Cloud has benefits in cost, energy efficiency, sharing of resources, increased flexibility, adaptability and evolvability, and provide in general a strong basis for innovation. There are however associated challenges, including providing efficient and predictable (safe and secure) computation and communication, and coping with the huge amounts of data needed to provide the envisioned intelligence. These challenges are particularly demanding in safety-relevant systems, such as transportation and manufacturing.
FiC will provide generic solutions for Future factories in the Cloud in the form of an integrated set of techniques and generic tools for future smart products and production systems, including architectural templates for cloud based production; algorithms and tools for safe and secure communication and computation, specifically handling big-data; and techniques for efficient and predictable sharing of computation and communication resources. The research will be based on real usage scenarios and results demonstrated and evaluated in industrial contexts.