Recently, we sat down with Jesus Alonso from Innovalia to learn about the project RE4DY. How is RE4DY helping the European manufacturing industry to build data spaces, and why are they needed? Alonso explains that not only manufacturing, not only Europe, but the whole world is facing a new environment known as VUCA. It stands for volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity, meaning the speed of change in all industries. “We are facing a higher level of uncertainty because it’s more difficult to predict the future. Things are getting continuously more complex and more interconnected. Therefore, a small change can produce a huge impact.” Data allows us to predict better.
From automated to autonomous operations
This is where the RE4DY project comes in. It seeks to demonstrate how the European industry can jointly develop resilience strategies. Through data spaces and sovereign data sharing, the manufacturing industry gains competitive advantages at every stage of the product and process lifecycle, effectively treating data as a product. “We need to transition from automated operations to autonomous operations, where decisions are based on data and made automatically or at least in a more data-based way,” Alonso describes. As a first step, a resiliency engineering framework is needed so industries and companies can build robust processes and evaluate them. RE4DY is also working on a legal framework and legal ontologies. Alonso’s team provides not only these essential frameworks, but also a comprehensive toolkit that allows to prepare, share, and utilize data.
To achieve a production data network, the continuity of the data needs to be maintained, across various levels. These include computer continuity (hardware), digital thread continuity, industrial artificial intelligence, and machine learning continuity (application and services), and finally digital twin continuity. The preparation of the data and then the enhancement of the data into a data as a product is another key concept of the project.
Concept of digital continuity
RE4DY is executing four pilot programs to demonstrate this concept of digital continuity and the manufacturing data network concept, with two of them focusing on operations and the other two on products. The pilots are in the automotive, machinery and aerospace sector. Furthermore, three testing and evaluation facilities are established which help to bring these innovations to SMEs and companies beyond the project – by having a data space where companies can test the technologies and to see whether they actually work.
IDS is the core of the project: The manufacturing data networks are not possible without a data space based on IDS technologies, concept, and architecture. Not only is IDS used in the pilots to share data, but the developed toolkit that allows to enhance and prepare data for sharing will complement IDS in return – helping other companies to prepare their data in the future.
The RE4DY project is part of the Digital Factory Alliance initiative, an alliance of companies to promote innovation in the industry. The results of the pilots will be published on their website. “We are now finalizing the first proof of concepts of each pilot and will see how the different tools of the toolkits can be applied. We will have a demonstrator to show how these tools work.”
In any case, the name of the project is perfectly chosen: We all want to be RE4DY for the transition, don’t we?