Zero-defect manufacturing strategies towards on-line production management for European factories
Manufacturing represents approximately 21 % of the EU’s GDP and 20 % of its employment, providing more than 30 million jobs in 230 000 enterprises, mostly SMEs. Moreover, each job in industry is considered to be linked to two more in related services. European manufacturing is also a dominant element in international trade, leading the world in areas such as automotive, machinery and agricultural engineering. Already threatened by both the lower-wage economies and other high-tech rivals, the situation of EU companies was even made more difficult by the downturn. The Z-Fact0r consortium has conducted an extensive state-of-the-art research and realised that although a number of activities have been trying to address the need for zero-defect manufacturing, still there is a vast business opportunity for innovative, high-ROI solutions to ensure, better quality and higher productivity in the European manufacturing industries. The Z-Fact0r solution comprises the introduction of five multi-stage production-based strategies targeting i. the early detection of the defect, ii. the prediction of the defect generation, iii. the prevention of defect generation by recalibrating the production line, as well as defect propagation in later stages of the production, iv. the working/remanufacturing of the product, if this is possible, using additive and subtractive manufacturing techniques and v. the management of the aforementioned strategies through event modelling, KPI -key performance indicators- monitoring and real-time decision support. To do that we have brought together a total of thirteen EU-based partners, representing both industry and academia, having ample experience in cutting-edge technologies and active presence in the EU manufacturing.