Simulation of Obstacle Avoidance for Multiple Autonomous Vehicles in a Dynamic Environment Using Q-Learning

The availability of inexpensive, yet competent hardware allows for increased level of automation and self-optimization in the context of Industry 4.0. However, such agents require high quality information about their surroundings along with a robust strategy for collision avoidance, as they may cause expensive damage to equipment or other agents otherwise. Manually defining a strategy to cover all possibilities is both time-consuming and counter-productive given the capabilities of modern hardware. This paper explores the idea of a model-free self-optimizing obstacle avoidance strategy for multiple autonomous agents in a simulated dynamic environment using the Q-learning algorithm.

Systematic Mapping Study of Digitization and Analysis of Manufacturing Data

The manufacturing industry is currently undergoing a digital transformation as part of the mega-trend Industry 4.0. As part of this phase of the industrial revolution, traditional manufacturing processes are being combined with digital technologies to achieve smarter and more efficient production. To successfully digitally transform a manufacturing facility, the processes must first be digitized. This is the conversion of information from an analogue format to a digital format. The objective of this study was to explore the research area of digitizing manufacturing data as part of the worldwide paradigm, Industry 4.0. The formal methodology of a systematic mapping study was utilized to capture a representative sample of the research area and assess its current state. Specific research questions were defined to assess the key benefits and limitations associated with the digitization of manufacturing data. Research papers were classified according to the type of research and type of contribution to the research area. Upon analyzing 54 papers identified in this area, it was noted that 23 of the papers originated in Germany. This is an unsurprising finding as Industry 4.0 is originally a German strategy with supporting strong policy instruments being utilized in Germany to support its implementation. It was also found that the Fraunhofer Institute for Mechatronic Systems Design, in collaboration with the University of Paderborn in Germany, was the most frequent contributing Institution of the research papers with three papers published. The literature suggested future research directions and highlighted one specific gap in the area. There exists an unresolved gap between the data science experts and the manufacturing process experts in the industry. The data analytics expertise is not useful unless the manufacturing process information is utilized. A legitimate understanding of the data is crucial to perform accurate analytics and gain true, valuable insights into the manufacturing process. There lies a gap between the manufacturing operations and the information technology/data analytics departments within enterprises, which was borne out by the results of many of the case studies reviewed as part of this work. To test the concept of this gap existing, the researcher initiated an industrial case study in which they embedded themselves between the subject matter expert of the manufacturing process and the data scientist. Of the papers resulting from the systematic mapping study, 12 of the papers contributed a framework, another 12 of the papers were based on a case study, and 11 of the papers focused on theory. However, there were only three papers that contributed a methodology. This provides further evidence for the need for an industry-focused methodology for digitizing and analyzing manufacturing data, which will be developed in future research.

Using Axiomatic Design for Developing a Framework of Manufacturing Cloud Service Composition in the Equilibrium State

One important paradigm of industry 4.0 is Cloud Manufacturing (CM). In CM everything is considered as a service, therefore, the CM platform should consider all service provider's capabilities and tries to integrate services in an equilibrium state. This research develops a framework for implementing manufacturing cloud service composition in the equilibrium state. The developed framework using well-known tools called axiomatic design (AD) and game theory. The research has investigated the factors for forming equilibrium for measures of the manufacturing cloud service composition. Functional requirements (FRs) represent the measures of manufacturing cloud service composition in the equilibrium state. These FRs satisfied by related Design Parameters (DPs). The FRs and DPs are defined by considering the game theory, QoS, consumer needs, parallel and cooperative services. Ultimately, four FRs and DPs represent the framework. To insure the validity of the framework, the authors have used the first AD’s independent axiom.

Current Status of Industry 4.0 in Material Handling Automation and In-house Logistics

In the last decade, a new industrial revolution seems to be emerging, supported -once again- by the rapid advancements of Information Technology in the areas of Machine-to-Machine (M2M) communication permitting large numbers of intelligent devices, e.g. sensors to communicate with each other and take decisions without any or minimum indirect human intervention. The advent of these technologies have triggered the emergence of a new category of hybrid (cyber-physical) manufacturing systems, combining advanced manufacturing techniques with innovative M2M applications based on the Internet of Things (IoT), under the umbrella term Industry 4.0. Even though the topic of Industry 4.0 has attracted much attention during the last few years, the attempts of providing a systematic literature review of the subject are scarce. In this paper, we present the authors’ initial study of the field with a special focus on the use and applications of Industry 4.0 principles in material handling automations and in-house logistics. Research shows that despite the vivid discussion and attractiveness of the subject, there are still many challenges and issues that have to be addressed before Industry 4.0 becomes standardized and widely applicable.

Challenges for Interface Designers in Designing Sensor Dashboards in the Context of Industry 4.0

Industry 4.0 is the fourth industrial revolution that focuses on interconnectivity of machine to machine, human to machine and human to human via Internet of Things (IoT). Technologies of industry 4.0 facilitate communication between human and machine through IoT and forms Cyber-Physical Production System (CPPS). In CPPS, multiple shop floors sensor data are connected through IoT and displayed through sensor dashboard to the operator. These sensor dashboards have enormous amount of information to be presented which becomes complex for operators to perform monitoring, controlling and interpretation tasks. Designing handheld sensor dashboards for supervision task will become a challenge for the interface designers. This paper reports emerging technologies of industry 4.0, changing context of increasing information complexity in consecutive industrial revolutions and upcoming design challenges for interface designers in context of Industry 4.0. Authors conclude that information complexity of sensor dashboards design has increased with consecutive industrial revolutions and designs of sensor dashboard causes cognitive load on users. Designing such complex dashboards interfaces in Industry 4.0 context will become main challenges for the interface designers.

How Virtualization, Decentralization and Network Building Change the Manufacturing Landscape: An Industry 4.0 Perspective

The German manufacturing industry has to withstand an increasing global competition on product quality and production costs. As labor costs are high, several industries have suffered severely under the relocation of production facilities towards aspiring countries, which have managed to close the productivity and quality gap substantially. Established manufacturing companies have recognized that customers are not willing to pay large price premiums for incremental quality improvements. As a consequence, many companies from the German manufacturing industry adjust their production focusing on customized products and fast time to market. Leveraging the advantages of novel production strategies such as Agile Manufacturing and Mass Customization, manufacturing companies transform into integrated networks, in which companies unite their core competencies. Hereby, virtualization of the process- and supply-chain ensures smooth inter-company operations providing real-time access to relevant product and production information for all participating entities. Boundaries of companies deteriorate, as autonomous systems exchange data, gained by embedded systems throughout the entire value chain. By including Cyber-Physical-Systems, advanced communication between machines is tantamount to their dialogue with humans. The increasing utilization of information and communication technology allows digital engineering of products and production processes alike. Modular simulation and modeling techniques allow decentralized units to flexibly alter products and thereby enable rapid product innovation. The present article describes the developments of Industry 4.0 within the literature and reviews the associated research streams. Hereby, we analyze eight scientific journals with regards to the following research fields: Individualized production, end-to-end engineering in a virtual process chain and production networks. We employ cluster analysis to assign sub-topics into the respective research field. To assess the practical implications, we conducted face-to-face interviews with managers from the industry as well as from the consulting business using a structured interview guideline. The results reveal reasons for the adaption and refusal of Industry 4.0 practices from a managerial point of view. Our findings contribute to the upcoming research stream of Industry 4.0 and support decision-makers to assess their need for transformation towards Industry 4.0 practices.