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The research group in "Intelligent Manufacturing and Industrial Innovation (FI4.0)" focuses its activity on the study of new industrial models, resulting from the process of digital transformation of the company and economic activity. Technology is a central element in the new industrial revolution that makes possible intelligent, high-value manufacturing models that need high connectivity and manage large volumes of information.
Thus, the technological roadmap of the smart factory must combine, among others: cyberphysical systems (CPS), Internet of things (IoT), secure communications, cloud computingand big data solutions. These technologies facilitate the digitisation and integration of the value chain, the emergence of new business models and the digitisation of the company's product and service portfolio.
The smart factory, with its technological infrastructure, introduces the principles of vertical and horizontal integration. The first corresponds to the integration of planning and development with production, with an increase in connectivity between the level of automation and production management (ERP-MES). The second refers to the exchanges of information between departments of the company and between the company and the other agents of the innovation system.
Despite the strategic importance of technology in thesmartfactory, it is necessary to highlight the possibilities of non-technological innovation in the face of the need for new business models related to an adaptation of internal processes and the company's relationships with its environment, with new ways of interacting with competitors, suppliers and customers. The competitive strategies of traditional industrial firms based on the differentiation, specialisation, or cost leadership that has sustained their business models for decades need to be reviewed. The fourth industrial revolution involves substantial changes in the factory that lead us to the concept ofsmart factory, a highly connected industrial company that manages a large amount of data, and characterized by being flexible, efficient, receptive, collaborative, secure, predictive and sustainable, within an industrial model with collaborative innovation, connected means of production, integrated value chains, and digital distribution and care channels.
The group has the following lines of research:
Study of the processes of innovation and territorial development in the framework of the strategies ofsmart specialisation of the EU, and in particular within the thematic area of Industry 4.0. The new knowledge economy establishes new demands for competitiveness in companies and territories. Thus, the design of successful territorial development policies requires a deep knowledge of the processes of innovation and entrepreneurship, and their connection with research and technology transfer from the university to the company. The main objective within this strategic area is the in-depth study of the determinants and dynamics of the innovative process and its activators and results, both at the business level (Smart Factory) as territorial (Smart Regions), which can help local public administrations to reorient policies in the field of economic development and growth. Likewise, the analysis of the institutional environment of the development of the processes of innovation and entrepreneurship can be of great utility to the public administrations for the review of the services of support to the creation and the development of the business activity.
The research activity will focus on the design and implementation of actions and projects within the framework of the Sustainable Development Goals of the 2030 Agenda of the United Nations (SDG), which directly challenges universities as active agents of change, generating impact on the territory.
The group supports a set of strategic lines in the field of intelligent data analytics. The most obvious gains from the application of this knowledge are in the improvement of production, efficiency, automation and in the reduction of costs (allowing customers and businesses to capitalize on the digital economy) within the context of theSmart Factory.
Within Industry 4.0, the development of new forms and applications of robotics stands out. The milestones of recent years in the field of robotics are: the development and introduction in recent years of robots working in collaboration with humans in the workplace; the use of robots as guided transporte vehicles within manufacturing plants and warehouses; the implementation of mobile robots that cooperate with each other; robots capable of moving on highly uneven terrain; robots learning from their own experience; interfaces close to human experience (hands, voice, hominoid shapes, etc.). Outside of industry, many of these milestones also apply to it; its use in medicine and care for people can be especially noted.
The aim of this strategic area is the study and development of new advances in the field of robotics, especially focused on industrial environments. Especially the group focuses on:
Within this line, we study how to increase the energy efficiency and reliability of an electronic converter consisting of an array of switching cells, where each cell is formed by a power transistor with diode in antiparallel of the same voltage rating, together with auxiliary circuitry, and which can be used as a building block to implement any type of conversion (cc-cc, cc-ca, poop) in a wide range of voltage and current ratings.
Electronic power converters based on these switch cell arrays inherently involve the use of multilevel structures, which improve the performance of conventional two-level converters, both as a power converter as well as on the system level.
This electronic power device consists of an array of switching cells without bulky passive components, and proper control allows to distribute the power losses in the structure. Therefore, the device has a high potential for integration, which enables a very compact implementation.
Dra. Virginia Espinosa (group coordinator)
Dr. Salvador Alepuz
Dr. Jose de Gea
DFKI GmbH Robotics Innovation Center. Bremen (Germany)
Mr. John Gil
Dr. Julian Horrillo
Dr. Jordi Mas
Dr. Joan Triadó
Dr. Francesc Flores Salgado
Dr. Joan Ramon Gomà Ayats
Dr. Arnau González Juncà
Dr. Xavier Font Aragonés
Conferences and lectures
- Conference "The smart factory and Industry 4.0". Organized by: Metal Business Federation at the headquarters of the CECOT. Terrassa, June 2016. Round table on “Practical experiences of the smart factory”. Moderator J. Ayza.
- Conference “Smart factory. The keys to management in Industry 4.0 ”. Organized by: ASEITEC at the headquarters of the College of Technical Engineers of Barcelona. Barcelona, April 2016. Moderator J. Horrillo.
- Conference “Innovation systems in the European regions of industry 4.0. The case of Catalonia ”. Speaker J. Horrillo.
- V. Bargsten, J. de Gea Fernández, Y. Kassahun. Experimental Robot Reverse Dynamics Identification Using Classical and Machine Learning Techniques. In International Symposium on Robotics, (ISR), 21.6.-22.6.2016, Munich, 2016.