Innovative end-to-end Management of Dynamic Manufacturing Networks

IMAGINE in a Nutshell

IMAGINE is a Research & Development project, funded by the European Commission under the “Virtual Factories and Enterprises” theme of the 7th Framework Programme (FoF-ICT-2011.7.3, Grant Agreement No: 285132). The project targets the development and delivery of a novel comprehensive methodology and the respective platform for effective end-to-end management of dynamic manufacturing networks in an innovative plug and produce approach, and aims at supporting the emergence of a powerful new production model, based on community, collaboration, self-organisation and openness rather than on hierarchy and centralised control.

IMAGINE Description and Major Objectives

Effective end-to-end management of dynamic manufacturing networks is consistently touted as a top priority for manufacturing enterprises that need to strive to improve their efficiency, adaptability and sustainability of their production systems. Moreover, it is a crucial prerequisite for the emerging powerful new model of production based on community, collaboration, and self-organisation and openness rather than on hierarchy and centralised control.

IMAGINE addresses the need of modern manufacturing enterprises for a novel end-to-end management of dynamic manufacturing networks by developing a multi-party collaboration platform for innovative, responsive manufacturing that encompasses globally distributed partners, suppliers & production facilities (SMEs and/or OEMs) that jointly conduct multi-party manufacturing. The project will implement a novel comprehensive methodology for the management of dynamic manufacturing networks that provides consolidated and coordinated view of information from various manufacturing sources and systems and enables service-enhanced product and production lifecycle and responsive manufacturing processes throughout the value chain. Living Labs in major industrial sectors will drive the implementation, testing, evaluation and dissemination of the IMAGINE methodology and supporting ICT platform.

The IMAGINE manufacturing model is an innovative plug and produce approach that implements an end-to-end manufacturing interoperability solution. The IMAGINE solution is market-oriented with focus on value chain streamlining and support for emerging manufacturing business models.

IMAGINE Objectives

IMAGINE will design and develop a novel, user-friendly networked manufacturing management framework, based on an associated engineering methodology that respects the interplay between the lifecycle of processes, resources and policies between cooperating consumers and providers, notably SMEs. IMAGINE’s concept is distilled in a set of six inter-related objectives, which are closely associated with steps necessary to craft the IMAGINE framework and associated lifecycle methodology and supporting ICT Platform. These are described as follows:

Collaborative Development and Delivery of the Best Service-enhanced Product
Automating Product-related Manufacturing Processes for Increased Productivity
Reusing Manufacturing Information for the end-to-end Supply Chain
Re-thinking, Designing and Improving Product-Related Processes & Supply Chains
Improving Product and Supply Chain Visibility
Measuring Controlling & Environmental Footprint

IMAGINE Methodology and Contribution
The IMAGINE Methodology

The cornerstone of the IMAGINE Management and Monitoring Framework is the importance of visibility, and data and process synchronization along networked production systems for achieving effective and efficient manufacturing network management.

To address this challenge, IMAGINE links information from disparate IT systems by fusing two worlds that were until recently completely isolated, viz. enterprise computing (ERP/MRP) and manufacturing execution systems (MES).

The basic ingredient in the IMAGINE Management and Monitoring Framework is a DMN management lifecycle and supporting ICT-based IMAGINE Platform.

The figure at the right illustrates that the end-to-end DMN management is supporting a DMN lifecycle (configure, design, monitor & govern manufacturing network) that accepts PLM details as input via the relevant blueprints.

The blueprints provide the necessary information and knowledge to orchestrate a manufacturing network (network configuration), pool processes, resources and equipment, control KPI-driven end-to-end manufacturing processes (network design), and monitor and govern their execution in a repeatable and predictable manner.

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