Technological advancements, by themselves, are not anymore enough to satisfy and foster the need of innovation of the industrial market. If applied research is able to bring to field level technological breakthrough, to reach a comprehensive shift towards new manufacturing paradigms, it is necessary to promote initiatives able to educate and accompany industries in this transition.

This is the case of the European Competence Centre for IEC-61499, presented on 18th-19th October by Synesis. The competence centre, created as result of a long path of research and innovation supported by the European Commission FoF – Factory of the Future PPP, and developed within the project Daedalus, aims at creating an ecosystem for industrial automation, based on the new technologies for distributed intelligence coming from the ICT domain, thus bringing into the market the awareness of how such solutions can foster opportunities for revolutionary applications. Understanding and accepting the major issue of attracting users into a digital platform, the Competence Centre pushes the envelope of IEC61499-based CPS as a disruptive innovation and become the catalyser to accelerate its widespread acceptance at European level, hosting and incubating its Digital Marketplace.

During the two-days launch event, speakers from the industrial, research and regulatory domain took the stage to present, discuss and give their vision about this challenging role of the competence centre. 5 discussion panels alternated to keynote speeches have been organized discussing the following topics.

Distributed and scalable control solutions for flexible and reconfigurable manufacturing systems: the discussion crossed the main topics of relevance for deploying reconfigurable manufacturing systems based on distributed automation, explaining the choice of focusing on IEC-61499.

Transforming a technological platform into an ecosystem for industrial automation: description and proposal of a digital marketplace for the diffusion of applications and software components based on the IEC-61499 technologies.

Five Daedalus showcases to incubate reference application scenarios: session dedicated to the exploration of five Daedalus’ showcases. Complex automation devices transformed into IEC61499-compliant CPS; IEC-61499 encapsulation of AGVs to become mobile agents; distributed robotic picking to optimize intralogistics tasks; an industrial pilot plant for de-manufacturing optimized and re-configurable in real-time; IEC-61499 'Factory-in-a-room': integration of industrial, building and grid automation in a single framework.

IEC-61499 Ecosystem: fostering innovation within the market: relevant representatives from international companies proposed their point of view on this opportunity, fostering discussion among key industrial automation stakeholders such as Schneider Electric, HMS Industrial Networks, Schunk, SCM Group, and many other keynote speakers and participating partners.

Simulation and Control of hierarchical systems of CPS: discussion on how an appropriate usage of modelling, simulation and advanced control techniques– in a shop floor governed by a CPS-based distribution of intelligence – can lead to a new generation of “self-aware” devices and systems. In this context, the framework of Maya has been presented by Diego Rovere, Head of R&D of TTS, by highlighting the synergies among MAYA and Daedalus projects. 

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