September is the MAYA final month and all the partners have been busy completing the demonstration scenarios and the deliverables.
The high-end scenario, focused towards demonstrating MAYA implementation in a big company, had its highlight moment in the three days’ Workshop that took place in Wolfsburg on February 2018 with personnel from different Volkswagen departments. Moreover, the results were presented at the Volkswagen Digital Factory Group Meeting with about 400 participants in Brunswick.
The SME scenario was implemented at Finn-Power Technology and Training Center at Kauhava with internal workshops focused on different aspect of the factory lifecycle, mainly from the pre-sales to early design in order to improve the time to make a commercial proposal to the customer.
A final meeting with the partners and the EC members will be hold in Brussels on 13th November, where the developed tools will be demonstrated.

The 16th IFAC Symposium on Information Control Problems in Manufacturing (INCOM 2018) was held on June 11-13, 2018 in the beautiful venue of the campus of University of Bergamo, a former monastery complex of Sant’Agostino, in the upper town of Bergamo, Italy. The Symposium was jointly organised by Politecnico di Milano and University of Bergamo, and sponsored by the Technical Committees of IFAC Coordinating Committee on Manufacturing and Logistics Systems (IFAC CC 5). The technical co-sponsors were four other IFAC TCs (TC 1.3, TC 4.2, TC 4.3, and TC 9.2), the IEEE Italy Section and its affiliated chapters, as well as IFIP, IFORS, AIDI (Italian Association of Industrial Systems Engineering Professors) and GDR MACS/CNRS (French National Council for Scientific Research). Chaired by Prof. Sergio Cavalieri (University of Bergamo) and Prof. Marco Macchi (Politecnico di Milano), the Symposium could count on the scientific support of an International Program Committee composed by 106 members and chaired by Prof. László Monostori (MTA Sztaki Budapest) with 28 Associated Editors in charge of the peer review process. The technical program of INCOM 2018 was organized around the following main topics: Advanced manufacturing technologies and systems, Advanced reliability, maintenance and safety engineering and technologies, Enterprise modelling and information systems, Modelling and optimization for complex engineered systems, Simulation, control and monitoring of evolutionary and adaptive production systems, Robotics and autonomous systems, Operations management in production systems and logistics, Human and social factors in production systems, Lifecycle management and product-service systems (PSSs), Industry 4.0: strategies, models and technologies for next-generation production systems.

During INCOM 2018, POLIMI organized a special session on Advanced Simulation for CPS-based production systems, where two works related to the MAYA project outcomes have been presented:

  • Using Open Standards for Behavior ModelsUsing Open Standards for Behavior Modelsto gain performance in the VirtualCommisioning Simulation, by Torben Meyer (VW)
  • Exploiring the role of Digital Twin for Asset Lifecycle Management, by Marco Macchi (POLIMI)
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Some distinctive figures of the Symposium: 371 papers were submitted from 46 countries from all over the world, 297 papers from 928 contributors were finally selected for presentation in regular, invited and special sessions – with a total of 403 participants at the conference.

The start of MAYA's third and last year has marked an important milestone in the project with the beginning of demonstration-oriented activities (Work Package 6). It also marked the end of WP2 and WP3 with a whopping 7 deliverables submitted in September. The development-focused WP4 and WP5 are in the middle of their activities.

The road so far

Before introducing the newly started WP6, let’s recap what has been done in the last year. WP2, just ended, was focused on the design and implementation of the CPS representation and communication tiers that are at the base of the MAYA Framework, and that implement respectively the concepts of digital-continuity and digital-real synchronization: it is thus impacting on the development of WP3 and on the tools-related-WPs. WP3, started in M12 and ended in M24, dealt with the development of the MAYA runtime as the integration of the Centralized Support Infrastructure and the Simulation Framework, created for the management of the multi-disciplinary simulations and the concurrent orchestration of the models. During the second year of the project, the effort has been focused on CPS meta data model design, definition of behavioural models, conception of Communication Layer, design and implementation of the Centralized Support Infrastructure, taking into consideration the required synergies between the general semantic data model and the specific concepts dealt in the other carried out. The completition of all the activities within WP2 and WP3 has led the project to a stable MAYA runtime based on a consolidated MAYA semantic meta-data model.

Tools integration

WP4 and WP6 are running in parallel addressing the integration of High-End tools, on one side, and on the other side SME oriented tools. The activities are in the middle of their scheduled execution, with two tasks on each WP already completed. As a general approach, both WPs have organized their work around frequent meetings with the reference industrial partner in order to keep the development in track with the end-user requirements. Using an iterative and incremental development process has also allowed the tools software vendor to build a very robust prototype in a structured manner and constantly refine it. This approach, in addition to the beforementioned benefit of better acknowledge end-user requirements, is better suited to introduce new developments to an existing commercial application that has an already well-defined maintenance and feature update cycle.

The next year

The newly started WP6 is focused on the demonstration implementation: the most important tasks are T6.2 and T6.3, dedicated respectively to the high-end (Volkswagen) and SME (Finn-Power) scenarios. Following the successfully approach carried on during WP4 and WP5, all the partners are motivated to continue the iterative and incremental development process with frequent meeting with the end-user. Moreover, the feedback from the end-user is very crucial during these tasks as the demonstrators will be validated in the context of a real physical line.

A consortium-wide meeting was hosted on 29th and 30th November by Siemens in Münich, being an occasion to discuss the work done so far and to plan the activities for the last year.

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The concept and implementation of Cyber-Physical Systems (CPS) in industrial manufacturing is, by definition, a multi-disciplinary research challenge, where the digital extension of manufacturing assets, represented through the so-called digital twin, must be equally sustained by a methodological and technological change at control-level.

Thus, tackling different but complementary aspects for the deployment of effective CPS in current and future Factories, MAYA and DAEDALUS projects have formalized a concrete collaboration to the aim of maximizing their respective objectives through a synergistic approach in facing development, exploitation and dissemination.

Technically speaking, the collaboration has been built on top of two key cornerstones of both projects, a Simulation Framework for CPS and IEC-61499 standard and technologies for distributed automation, brought together thanks to the concept of Digital Synchronization and the usage of a common semantic model. The objective is to exploit the industrial-grade demonstration built by Daedalus in its Competence Centre to achieve a common and integrated showcasing of how the results of the two projects were designed and implemented taking into account an overarching functional architecture.

But the collaboration will not be accomplished only at technical level. The target groups for the exploitation of MAYA and Daedalus are strongly overlapping, laying the ground for a common effort to sustain market acceptance for the core technologies of both projects. This will be explicitly achieved through several joint actions, both in terms of communicating and disseminating the benefits provided by the project’s results and sustaining dedicated events to involve potential end-users.

After one year of project, where MAYA requirements and definitions (Work Package 1 – WP1), and data model refinements (WP2) were defined – in WP3 (led by Siemens PLM), it is about time to write some software. WP3 deals with 3 major topics, each one focused on the development of a different software component:

  • the Centralized Support Infrastructure that stores the simulation objects (CPS) and their relation
  • the MAYA Simulation Framework that dispatches, coordinates and synchronizes the multi-disciplinary simulations on the same CPS.
  • the integration with the High Performance (Cloud) environment

All of these software components use the MAYA data model and other basic elements developed in WP2 and will provide the basis for several upcoming work packages like WP4, which demonstrates the usage of the MAYA concepts on a high-end scenario of a Volkswagen production line. One of the main MAYA challenge is that it does not operate on a “green field”, that is suddenly being transformed into a factory. Car and manufacturing companies are currently making product “without MAYA”. We need to integrate the MAYA benefits into their existing IT structure like Teamcenter platform, which serves, in some of them, as their main data backbone and single source provider of information. For this reason, in WP3 we have also defined how MAYA tools will be integrated with other IT infrastructure in the industry.

WP3 develops infrastructure, but as a sales guy has taught me; you cannot “sell” infrastructure, but you can sell benefits. In WP3 one of our key tasks is to bridge between the data model to the infrastructure and then to the business benefits. This requires not only Software Engineers and Architects, but also Mechanical and Control Engineers, that understand the current production processes and know how we can try to make it better, through the introduction of new concepts, tools and methods. Fortunately, in MAYA we have all of the needed experts to turn this ambitious challenge into a reality.

In order to demonstrate the benefits of the MAYA concepts we have to think, right now - what is required from the simulation tools used in production processes? Knowing this will enable to fully utilize the MAYA framework and provide concrete business values to users like Volkswagen and Finnpower. As such, the MAYA partners have already started to develop enhancements to simulation tools so to make them MAYA enabled. We are developing the capability of reading CPS data in AutomationML (AML) format, one of the industry standards used in MAYA. Another capability developed includes bringing Logic (Event Based) simulation towards the beginning of the project instead of waiting to find Logic issues at the Virtual Commissioning stage, which is done close to the end of the project. At that stage, it may be too late to change the line. Taking these issues into consideration in WP3 will enable better results in WP6 where we will see the actual MAYA implementation and testing results.

The results, so far, look promising and exiting, but we are only half way through. Stay tuned and I hope you too will benefit from MAYA achievements.

MAYA consortium met on 13-14th December 2016 at Politecnico of Milan for a two-days meeting. Partners dedicated the first day to discuss about Work Package 2 development and the second day for updating on the project status and planning activities for the next months. 

We would like to thank all partners for the important participation in this meeting and POLIMI for their kind hospitality.