Deployment in a Manufacturing Plant
BEMO-COFRA strives for the realization of a large-scale distributed monitoring and control framework that eases the supervision and the optimization of physical processes. The potential impact of the developed solution will be made visible by demonstrating the capabilities of a BEMO-COFRA-enabled production monitoring and control system deployed in an actual manufacturing plant provided by COMAU.
In fact, the BEMO-COFRA infrastructure represents a suitable solution for the management of large-scale complex systems in different application domains, e.g. transportation, power and manufacturing. Despite some peculiarities, all such application domains are characterized by a highly networked environment and by an increasing need for integration of different heterogeneous technologies. However, the manufacturing environment poses further unique challenges in terms of harsh radio propagation conditions, dependable operations, real-time or quasi real-time communication constraints and also mobility (e.g. smart objects installed on board moving parts of a production line) that make it particularly suitable for BEMO-COFRA validation purposes.
In a manufacturing plant, hundreds of machines operate at the same time. Monitoring and controlling relevant parameters of each of the considered machine is traditionally performed by means of PLCs, SCADA systems and other special purpose systems possibly connected to ERP and MES. In this scenario, the pervasive adoption of heterogeneous WSANs is being increasingly considered as a promising solution to support the monitoring and control task and would significantly help improving efficiency, dependability and safety of operations. It is worth stressing that this considered scenario is also characterized by changing conditions due to production customization, fluctuations in market demand, as well as plant maintenance and modernization.
Therefore there is a clear need for an overall framework enabling the desired level of flexibility and allowing an easy and dynamic integration of different heterogeneous technologies. The flexibility of the BEMO-COFRA framework is demonstrated in the manufacturing scenario by deploying a comprehensive distributed system architecture capable of easily integrating and interconnecting innovative large-scale WSANs, as well as legacy components such as PLCs, SCADA systems, and not least computers and powerful devices being deployed in manufacturing plants.