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Flexible Factory Project

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Flexible Factory Project

In manufacturing sites, the use of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) is increasing to enhance productivity under recent constraints such as shortage of skilled workers and change of work style. The following needs were raised by workers in manufacturing sites.

  • Monitoring the precise status of manufacturing equipment and inspection results on whether each process was completed correctly for quality control.
  • Ensuring stable communications among workers and production facilities including automated feeders and automated guided vehicles (AGVs).
  • Enabling flexible layout of machines and order of manufacturing processes to adapt to variable-type, variable-volume production and mass customization.

Wireless communication is one of the effective solutions to cover these needs. More and more wireless systems have been introduced with manufacturing equipment for status monitoring, product inspection, process management, environment sensing, machine control, and so on.

Instabilities of communication are already emerging concerns.

Due to interference between non-license requiring wireless systems operated independently, applications sometimes cannot secure enough bandwidth to maintain communication quality.

To address these issues technically, NICT has proposed the SRF Wireless Platform vision based on the concept of enabling coordination between a wide variety of wireless systems within the same facility for stable and efficient operation of an industrial system. Two of the private companies participating in the Flexible Factory Project are particularly committed to this vision, and in July 2017 they established the Flexible Factory Partnership Alliance (FFPA), a non-profit organization, to put it into practice.

Technical Description

SRF (Smart Resource Flow)

In the SRF platform, multiple wireless systems consisting of a gateway and several wireless devices are managed and controlled cooperatively by the field manager. In order to operate a variety of systems stably and effectively, the following tasks are performed.

Radio resources in frequency, time and space is assigned to each system by setting a control policy,

Management is performed cognitively by considering both the wireless communication conditions and factory applications.

Wireless environment is monitored on the SRF wireless platform.

In addition, each system is allowed to have autonomous internal control based on the control policy to adapt to rapid local change in the wireless environment (local control).

Members

Glossary

Flexible Factory Partner Alliance (FFPA)

FFPA is a non-profit organization to promote the standardization for coordination control technology, to ensure stable communications in an environment where various wireless systems coexist in manufacturing facilities.

Members are OMRON Corporation, the Advanced Telecommunications Research Institute International (ATR), the National Institute of Information and Communications Technology (NICT), NEC Corporation, Fujitsu Limited, Sanritz Automation Co., Ltd., Murata Machinery, Ltd, and Siemens K.K., at the end of September 30, 2018.

https://www.ffp-a.org/jp-index.html


SRF (Smart Resource Flow)

A system engineering strategy of managing resources (e. g., human, facilities, equipment, materials, energy, and communications) using multilayer system analysis to achieve optimal performance.

Publications

White Paper "Wireless use cases and communication requirements in factories"

Security Guide for Factory

Examples of Wireless Communication Trouble and Countermeasures at Manufacturing Sites

Introducing manufacturing systems with wireless communications

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Go to Top MENU × TOP About Us About Us News & Information Research Projects Research Projects Challenges to Use RF Signals in Underwater Command Hopper & Drone Mapper Device-to-Device (D2D) Communications Flexible Factory Project (FFPJ) Impulse-Radio Ultra-WideBand (IR-UWB) Local 5G System Simultaneous Transmission Access Boosting Low-latEncy (STABLE) Wireless Grid Researchers Achievements Achievements Awards Press Releases Publications Videos FSPJ Documents Technology Transfer Closer to You Closer to You Collaborations Employment Events Exhibition Facilities Instagram Twitter Access Access Wireless Networks Research Center NICT Headquarters Kashima Space Technology Center Contact Links Wireless Networks Research Center Space Communication Systems Laboratory