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Industry 4.0 for SMEs - Smart Manufacturing and Logistics for SMEs

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Sustainable Management".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 March 2020) | Viewed by 131796

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Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Faculty of Science and Technology, Free University of Bolzano, Bolzano, Italy
Interests: industry 4.0; industry 4.0 for SMEs; smart manufacturing; manufacturing systems; cyber-physical production systems; sustainable production
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Guest Editor
Industrial Logistics, Montanuniversitaet Leoben, 8700 Leoben, Austria
Interests: industry 4.0; Industry 4.0 for SMEs; smart logistics; logistics system engineering; logistics management; material flow optimization; behavioral decision making

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

In recent years, the industrial environment has been changing radically due to the introduction of concepts and technologies based on the fourth industrial revolution (also known as Industry 4.0). The fourth industrial revolution should extend to the whole production and supply chain and not only, like in the past revolutions, to the mechanical manufacturing process of products and the associated process organization. A production based on the principles of industry 4.0 creates the conditions to replace traditional structures, which are based on centralized decision-making mechanisms and rigid organizational forms. These structures are replaced by flexible reconfigurable manufacturing and logistics systems, decentralized and collaborative decision-making mechanisms, as well as digitally supported processes.

In recent years, SMEs have moved into the focus of many economies. Due to their flexibility, entrepreneurial spirit, and innovation capabilities, SMEs have proved to be more robust than large and multi-national enterprises. Small organizations are increasingly proactive in improving their operational processes, which is a good starting point for introducing the new concepts of Industry 4.0. The successful implementation of an industrial revolution like Industry 4.0 has to take place not only in large enterprises, but shows a high potential especially in SMEs. The readiness of SME-adapted Industry 4.0 concepts and the organizational capability of SMEs to meet this challenge exist only in some areas. This opens the need for further research and action plans for preparing SMEs in a technical and organizational direction. Therefore, special research and investigations are needed for the implementation of Industry 4.0 technologies and concepts in SMEs. SMEs will only achieve Industry 4.0 by following SME-customized implementation strategies and approaches and realizing SME-adapted concepts and technological solutions.

This Special Issue represents a collection of theoretical models as well as practical case studies related to the introduction of Industry 4.0 concepts in small- and medium-sized enterprises.

Submissions to this Special Issue related to, but not limited to, to the following topics are welcome:

  • smart manufacturing
  • smart logistics
  • manufacturing organization
  • material flow organization and simulation
  • material tracking and identification in smaller industrial companies
  • modern and digital supply chain management
  • maintenance 4.0
  • sustainable production
  • social sustainability in industry 4.0
  • cyber-physical systems and cyber-physical production systems
  • automation and man–machine interaction for SMEs
  • internet of things in manufacturing and logistics
  • IT in production, logistics, and supply chain management
  • new technologies in production and logistics management  
  • new approaches for computational design and engineering in SMEs
  • digital transformation in SMEs
  • smart business models for SMEs
  • organization and network models for SMEs
  • implementation strategies and roadmaps for SMEs

Dr. Erwin Rauch
Dr. Manuel Woschank
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Industry 4.0 for SMEs
  • smart manufacturing for SMEs
  • smart logistics for SMEs
  • digital transformation of SMEs

Published Papers (17 papers)

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Research

13 pages, 3632 KiB  
Article
The Role of Smart Technology in Sustainable Agriculture: A Case Study of Wangree Plant Factory
by Salinee Santiteerakul, Apichat Sopadang, Korrakot Yaibuathet Tippayawong and Krisana Tamvimol
Sustainability 2020, 12(11), 4640; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12114640 - 5 Jun 2020
Cited by 50 | Viewed by 9754
Abstract
Sustainable development is of growing importance to the agriculture sector because the current lacking utilization of resources and energy usage, together with the pollution generated from toxic chemicals, cannot continue at present rates. Sustainability in agriculture can be achieved through using less (or [...] Read more.
Sustainable development is of growing importance to the agriculture sector because the current lacking utilization of resources and energy usage, together with the pollution generated from toxic chemicals, cannot continue at present rates. Sustainability in agriculture can be achieved through using less (or no) poisonous chemicals, saving natural resources, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Technology applications could help farmers to use proper data in decision-making, which leads to low-input agriculture. This work focuses on the role of smart technology implementation in sustainable agriculture. The effects of smart technology implementation are analyzed by using a case study approach. The results show that the plant factory using intelligence technology enhances sustainability performance by increasing production productivity, product quality, crop per year, resource use efficiency, and food safety, as well as improving employees’ quality of life. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Industry 4.0 for SMEs - Smart Manufacturing and Logistics for SMEs)
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23 pages, 1177 KiB  
Article
A Review of Further Directions for Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and Deep Learning in Smart Logistics
by Manuel Woschank, Erwin Rauch and Helmut Zsifkovits
Sustainability 2020, 12(9), 3760; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12093760 - 6 May 2020
Cited by 129 | Viewed by 23397
Abstract
Industry 4.0 concepts and technologies ensure the ongoing development of micro- and macro-economic entities by focusing on the principles of interconnectivity, digitalization, and automation. In this context, artificial intelligence is seen as one of the major enablers for Smart Logistics and Smart Production [...] Read more.
Industry 4.0 concepts and technologies ensure the ongoing development of micro- and macro-economic entities by focusing on the principles of interconnectivity, digitalization, and automation. In this context, artificial intelligence is seen as one of the major enablers for Smart Logistics and Smart Production initiatives. This paper systematically analyzes the scientific literature on artificial intelligence, machine learning, and deep learning in the context of Smart Logistics management in industrial enterprises. Furthermore, based on the results of the systematic literature review, the authors present a conceptual framework, which provides fruitful implications based on recent research findings and insights to be used for directing and starting future research initiatives in the field of artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), and deep learning (DL) in Smart Logistics. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Industry 4.0 for SMEs - Smart Manufacturing and Logistics for SMEs)
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16 pages, 10606 KiB  
Article
Digital Twin of Experimental Smart Manufacturing Assembly System for Industry 4.0 Concept
by Kamil Židek, Ján Piteľ, Milan Adámek, Peter Lazorík and Alexander Hošovský
Sustainability 2020, 12(9), 3658; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12093658 - 1 May 2020
Cited by 109 | Viewed by 9392
Abstract
This article deals with the creation of a digital twin for an experimental assembly system based on a belt conveyor system and an automatized line for quality production check. The point of interest is a Bowden holder assembly from a 3D printer, which [...] Read more.
This article deals with the creation of a digital twin for an experimental assembly system based on a belt conveyor system and an automatized line for quality production check. The point of interest is a Bowden holder assembly from a 3D printer, which consists of a stepper motor, plastic components, and some fastener parts. The assembly was positioned in a fixture with ultra high frequency (UHF) tags and internet of things (IoT) devices for identification of status and position. The main task was parts identification and inspection, with the synchronization of all data to a digital twin model. The inspection system consisted of an industrial vision system for dimension, part presence, and errors check before and after assembly operation. A digital twin is realized as a 3D model, created in CAD design software (CDS) and imported to a Tecnomatix platform to simulate all processes. Data from the assembly system were collected by a programmable logic controller (PLC) system and were synchronized by an open platform communications (OPC) server to a digital twin model and a cloud platform (CP). Digital twins can visualize the real status of a manufacturing system as 3D simulation with real time actualization. Cloud platforms are used for data mining and knowledge representation in timeline graphs, with some alarms and automatized protocol generation. Virtual digital twins can be used for online optimization of an assembly process without the necessity to stop that is involved in a production line. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Industry 4.0 for SMEs - Smart Manufacturing and Logistics for SMEs)
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19 pages, 836 KiB  
Article
The Advantages of Industry 4.0 Applications for Sustainability: Results from a Sample of Manufacturing Companies
by Riccardo Brozzi, David Forti, Erwin Rauch and Dominik T. Matt
Sustainability 2020, 12(9), 3647; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12093647 - 1 May 2020
Cited by 115 | Viewed by 9139
Abstract
Far from being exclusively related to economic considerations, the advantages of Industry 4.0 applications also include environmental and social concerns. An increasing amount of scientific publications relate the implementation of the fourth industrial revolution paradigm to sustainability. Several studies reported opportunities of Industry [...] Read more.
Far from being exclusively related to economic considerations, the advantages of Industry 4.0 applications also include environmental and social concerns. An increasing amount of scientific publications relate the implementation of the fourth industrial revolution paradigm to sustainability. Several studies reported opportunities of Industry 4.0 implementation particularly to the environmental dimension of sustainability, e.g., through improved logistics streams and lowered waste from production. The present research aims at providing evidence on whether manufacturing companies consider Industry 4.0 implementation as an advantage contributing to environmental and social sustainability in terms of lower environmental impact of production, as well as higher physical relief for workers and flexibility of work organisation. The results were an attempt to study such relations with company sizes, industry sectors, turnover and self-assessed levels of digitalization varying. The sample encompasses 65 companies located in the Marche region (Italy). The results show that overall the perception of economic opportunities prevail, while the association of a beneficial impact of Industry 4.0 on environmental sustainability is rather low across companies, regardless of their size, turnover and digital level. As for the statistically significant variables, the results suggest a strong association of the size and the digital level to specific Industry 4.0 related advantages, referring to the social and economic dimension of sustainability, respectively. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Industry 4.0 for SMEs - Smart Manufacturing and Logistics for SMEs)
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14 pages, 1728 KiB  
Article
Management of Product Configuration Conflicts to Increase the Sustainability of Mass Customization
by Vladimir Modrak and Zuzana Soltysova
Sustainability 2020, 12(9), 3610; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12093610 - 29 Apr 2020
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 2506
Abstract
An important role in product variety management is finding an accurate variety extent to which the product matches the consumer’s expectations. In principle, customers prefer to have more rather than less versions of a product from which to choose. This motivates producers to [...] Read more.
An important role in product variety management is finding an accurate variety extent to which the product matches the consumer’s expectations. In principle, customers prefer to have more rather than less versions of a product from which to choose. This motivates producers to offer a richer variety of goods. As a consequence, it brings a large amount of manufacturing complexity, and configuration conflicts may frequently occur. In order to avoid a situation in which a customer will select mutually incompatible components, product configurators usually recommend corrective actions for generating valid configurations. Nevertheless, the presence of infeasible configurations in customer options are negatively perceived by customers, and therefore it has an unfavorable impact on the sustainability of mass customization. One way to solve this problem is to eliminate, or at least reduce, mutually incompatible components. When considering the fact that eliminating all incompatible components may cause a rapid decrease in product variety, then the reduction of incompatible components can help to solve the product configuration problem. The proposed method aims to find a trade-off solution between minimizing configuration conflicts and maintaining a sufficient level of mass customization. Moreover, two supplementary methods for the determination of infeasible product configurations are proposed in this paper. The applicability and effectiveness of the proposed methods are demonstrated by two practical examples. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Industry 4.0 for SMEs - Smart Manufacturing and Logistics for SMEs)
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23 pages, 5543 KiB  
Article
Design of Human-Centered Collaborative Assembly Workstations for the Improvement of Operators’ Physical Ergonomics and Production Efficiency: A Case Study
by Luca Gualtieri, Ilaria Palomba, Fabio Antonio Merati, Erwin Rauch and Renato Vidoni
Sustainability 2020, 12(9), 3606; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12093606 - 29 Apr 2020
Cited by 90 | Viewed by 8799
Abstract
Industrial collaborative robotics is one of the main enabling technologies of Industry 4.0. Collaborative robots are innovative cyber-physical systems, which allow safe and efficient physical interactions with operators by combining typical machine strengths with inimitable human skills. One of the main uses of [...] Read more.
Industrial collaborative robotics is one of the main enabling technologies of Industry 4.0. Collaborative robots are innovative cyber-physical systems, which allow safe and efficient physical interactions with operators by combining typical machine strengths with inimitable human skills. One of the main uses of collaborative robots will be the support of humans in the most physically stressful activities through a reduction of work-related biomechanical overload, especially in manual assembly activities. The improvement of operators’ occupational work conditions and the development of human-centered and ergonomic production systems is one of the key points of the ongoing fourth industrial revolution. The factory of the future should focus on the implementation of adaptable, reconfigurable, and sustainable production systems, which consider the human as their core and valuable part. Strengthening actual assembly workstations by integrating smart automation solutions for the enhancement of operators’ occupational health and safety will be one of the main goals of the near future. In this paper, the transformation of a manual workstation for wire harness assembly into a collaborative and human-centered one is presented. The purpose of the work is to present a case study research for the design of a collaborative workstation to improve the operators’ physical ergonomics while keeping or increasing the level of productivity. Results demonstrate that the achieved solution provides valuable benefits for the operators’ working conditions as well as for the production performance of the companies. In particular, the biomechanical overload of the worker has been reduced by 12.0% for the right part and by 28% for the left part in terms of manual handling, and by 50% for the left part and by 57% for the right part in terms of working postures. In addition, a reduction of the cycle time of 12.3% has been achieved. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Industry 4.0 for SMEs - Smart Manufacturing and Logistics for SMEs)
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18 pages, 3836 KiB  
Article
A Maturity Level-Based Assessment Tool to Enhance the Implementation of Industry 4.0 in Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises
by Erwin Rauch, Marco Unterhofer, Rafael A. Rojas, Luca Gualtieri, Manuel Woschank and Dominik T. Matt
Sustainability 2020, 12(9), 3559; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12093559 - 27 Apr 2020
Cited by 55 | Viewed by 10572
Abstract
Industry 4.0 has attracted the attention of manufacturing companies over the past ten years. Despite efforts in research and knowledge transfer from research to practice, the introduction of Industry 4.0 concepts and technologies is still a major challenge for many companies, especially small [...] Read more.
Industry 4.0 has attracted the attention of manufacturing companies over the past ten years. Despite efforts in research and knowledge transfer from research to practice, the introduction of Industry 4.0 concepts and technologies is still a major challenge for many companies, especially small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Many of these SMEs have no overview of existing Industry 4.0 concepts and technologies, how they are implemented in their own companies, and which concepts and technologies should primarily be focused on future Industry 4.0 implementation measures. The aim of this research was to develop an assessment model for SMEs that is easy to apply, provides a clear overview of existing Industry 4.0 concepts, and supports SMEs in defining their individual strategy to introduce Industry 4.0 in their firm. The maturity level-based assessment tool presented in this work includes a catalog of 42 Industry 4.0 concepts and a norm strategy based on the results of the assessment to support SMEs in introducing the most promising concepts. For testing and validation purposes, the assessment model has been applied in a field study with 17 industrial companies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Industry 4.0 for SMEs - Smart Manufacturing and Logistics for SMEs)
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18 pages, 1988 KiB  
Article
Industry 4.0—Awareness in South India
by Leos Safar, Jakub Sopko, Darya Dancakova and Manuel Woschank
Sustainability 2020, 12(8), 3207; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12083207 - 15 Apr 2020
Cited by 20 | Viewed by 4898
Abstract
Industry 4.0 (I4.0) approaches, frameworks, and technologies have gained an increasing relevance in order to gain sustainable and competitive advantages for industrial enterprises and for small and medium enterprises (SMEs), as well. Contrary to previous studies, which are mainly focused on companies, we [...] Read more.
Industry 4.0 (I4.0) approaches, frameworks, and technologies have gained an increasing relevance in order to gain sustainable and competitive advantages for industrial enterprises and for small and medium enterprises (SMEs), as well. Contrary to previous studies, which are mainly focused on companies, we conducted a questionnaire-based survey on inhabitants, in an attempt to examine general awareness about I4.0 concepts, in the region of South India. Our findings revealed a rather poor informational level of I4.0 concept and its components, which consequently leads to inadequate future actions and expectations. Moreover, respondents with prior information about I4.0 framework tend to have rather positive opinions and expectations of possible future trends. We emphasize that insufficient knowledge of the potential workforce regarding I4.0 concepts, especially in a region with ascending demographic development, can be considered as one of the main barriers for a successful and sustainable future development towards the 4th industrial revolution. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Industry 4.0 for SMEs - Smart Manufacturing and Logistics for SMEs)
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17 pages, 1341 KiB  
Article
On LSP Lifecycle Model to Re-design Logistics Service: Case Studies of Thai LSPs
by Sunida Tiwong, Sakgasem Ramingwong and Korrakot Yaibuathet Tippayawong
Sustainability 2020, 12(6), 2394; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12062394 - 19 Mar 2020
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 3677
Abstract
Improving service logistics is crucial in order to reciprocate customer needs. The paper aims to validate the Logistics Service Provider (LSP) Lifecycle Model for re-designing logistics service in three LSP case studies in Thailand. The lifecycle-stage evaluation was adapted to identify the current [...] Read more.
Improving service logistics is crucial in order to reciprocate customer needs. The paper aims to validate the Logistics Service Provider (LSP) Lifecycle Model for re-designing logistics service in three LSP case studies in Thailand. The lifecycle-stage evaluation was adapted to identify the current status in its lifecycle. Afterward, logistics service strategies were implemented according to the voice of the customer by Quality Function Deployment (QFD). The study combined the Logistics Service Provider (LSP) Lifecycle Model with the application of Industry 4.0 (I4.0) to improve service logistics. Case studies showed the implementation of the service logistics strategies with the feasibility solution of Industry 4.0. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Industry 4.0 for SMEs - Smart Manufacturing and Logistics for SMEs)
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18 pages, 5913 KiB  
Article
Problems with the Implementation of Industry 4.0 in Enterprises from the SME Sector
by Manuela Ingaldi and Robert Ulewicz
Sustainability 2020, 12(1), 217; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12010217 - 26 Dec 2019
Cited by 125 | Viewed by 8947
Abstract
Industry is currently undergoing a revolution (called Revolution 4.0) related to the far-reaching integration of all production areas through the digitization and the creation of new communication channels. The Polish economy generated a GDP of USD 524.5 billion in 2017, of which small [...] Read more.
Industry is currently undergoing a revolution (called Revolution 4.0) related to the far-reaching integration of all production areas through the digitization and the creation of new communication channels. The Polish economy generated a GDP of USD 524.5 billion in 2017, of which small and medium enterprises generated about 50% of revenue and in which microenterprises accounted for the largest share in generating GDP; i.e., around 30.2%. The aim of the research is to determine the adaptation possibilities of the small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) sector to Industry 4.0 solutions. Pilot research was carried out in the Czestochowa Industrial District. Enterprises from the SME sector were asked to provide an information about the used technologies and to determine the level of their organization’s readiness for sustainable development through technological transformation. Financial resources as well as a lack of specialized support in obtaining new technologies were defined as problems as far as transformation is concerned. The solution of the diagnosed problem is the development of a platform aimed at integrating the potential of enterprises from the SME sector in order to undertake joint actions for sustainable development. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Industry 4.0 for SMEs - Smart Manufacturing and Logistics for SMEs)
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15 pages, 3801 KiB  
Article
Complexity Assessment of Assembly Supply Chains from the Sustainability Viewpoint
by Vladimir Modrak, Zuzana Soltysova and Daniela Onofrejova
Sustainability 2019, 11(24), 7156; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11247156 - 13 Dec 2019
Cited by 22 | Viewed by 2270
Abstract
Assembly supply chain systems are becoming increasingly complex and, as a result, there is more and more need to design and manage them in a way that benefits the producers and also satisfies the interests of community stakeholders. The structural (static) complexity of [...] Read more.
Assembly supply chain systems are becoming increasingly complex and, as a result, there is more and more need to design and manage them in a way that benefits the producers and also satisfies the interests of community stakeholders. The structural (static) complexity of assembly supply chain networks is one of the most important factors influencing overall system complexity. Structures of such networks can be modeled as a graph, with machines as nodes and material flow between the nodes as links. The purpose of this paper is to analyze existing assembly supply chain complexity assessment methods and propose such complexity metric(s) that will be able to accurately reflect not only specific criteria for static complexity measures, but also selected sustainability aspects. The obtained results of this research showed that selected complexity indicators reflect sustainability facets in different ways, but one of them met the mentioned requirements acceptably. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Industry 4.0 for SMEs - Smart Manufacturing and Logistics for SMEs)
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13 pages, 492 KiB  
Article
Challenges of Industry 4.0 Technology Adoption for SMEs: The Case of Japan
by Martin Prause
Sustainability 2019, 11(20), 5807; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11205807 - 19 Oct 2019
Cited by 109 | Viewed by 13713
Abstract
In the light of several national advanced manufacturing strategies such as Industry 4.0 in Germany or the Made in China 2025 initiative in China, this article examines the challenges of Industry 4.0 adoption of Japanese small and medium-sized manufacturing firms. A technology adoption [...] Read more.
In the light of several national advanced manufacturing strategies such as Industry 4.0 in Germany or the Made in China 2025 initiative in China, this article examines the challenges of Industry 4.0 adoption of Japanese small and medium-sized manufacturing firms. A technology adoption model for Industry 4.0 is developed and empirically tested with 38 manufacturing companies. The results yield that the market uncertainty of the firm’s business is a significant driver for adoption in the short, medium, and long-term. Relative competitive advantage matters in the short term and top management support in the long-term. No support has been identified concerning advanced manufacturing complexity and market transparency of Industry 4.0 solutions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Industry 4.0 for SMEs - Smart Manufacturing and Logistics for SMEs)
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17 pages, 1079 KiB  
Article
Event-Driven Online Machine State Decision for Energy-Efficient Manufacturing System Based on Digital Twin Using Max-Plus Algebra
by Junfeng Wang, Yaqin Huang, Qing Chang and Shiqi Li
Sustainability 2019, 11(18), 5036; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11185036 - 14 Sep 2019
Cited by 28 | Viewed by 3810
Abstract
Energy-efficient manufacturing is an important aspect of sustainable development in current society. The rapid development of sensing technologies can collect real-time production data from shop floors, which provides more opportunities for making energy saving decisions about manufacturing systems. In this paper, a digital [...] Read more.
Energy-efficient manufacturing is an important aspect of sustainable development in current society. The rapid development of sensing technologies can collect real-time production data from shop floors, which provides more opportunities for making energy saving decisions about manufacturing systems. In this paper, a digital twin-based bidirectional operation framework is proposed to realize energy-efficient manufacturing systems. The data view, model view, and service view of a digital twin manufacturing system are formulated to describe the physical systems in virtual space, to perform simulation analysis, to make decisions, and to control the physical systems for various energy-saving purposes. For online energy-saving decisions about machines in serial manufacturing systems, an event-driven estimation method of an energy-saving window based on Max-plus Algebra is presented to put the target machine to sleep, considering real-time production data of a system segment. A practical, simplified automotive production line is used to illustrate the effectiveness of the proposed method by simulation experiments. Our method has no restriction on machine failure mode and predefined parameters for energy-saving decision of machines. The proposed approach has potential use in synchronous and asynchronous manufacturing systems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Industry 4.0 for SMEs - Smart Manufacturing and Logistics for SMEs)
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33 pages, 3021 KiB  
Article
Concept and Evaluation of a Method for the Integration of Human Factors into Human-Oriented Work Design in Cyber-Physical Production Systems
by Hendrik Stern and Till Becker
Sustainability 2019, 11(16), 4508; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11164508 - 20 Aug 2019
Cited by 38 | Viewed by 5443
Abstract
Due to the shift from mainly manual labor to an increased portion of cognitive tasks in manufacturing caused by the introduction of cyber-physical systems, there is a need for an updated collection of adequate design principles for user interfaces between humans and machines. [...] Read more.
Due to the shift from mainly manual labor to an increased portion of cognitive tasks in manufacturing caused by the introduction of cyber-physical systems, there is a need for an updated collection of adequate design principles for user interfaces between humans and machines. Thus, we developed a method for the determination and evaluation of such design principles. It is based on human factors methods and facilitates the assessment of specific work design elements which are supposed to have a significant effect on work performance and the perception of work in cyber-physical production systems (CPPS). Within the application of the developed method, we derived an overview of key design elements in CPPS, developed an experimental platform, and conducted two empirical studies with a total of n = 68 participants. This way, three design elements were investigated, and the findings transferred into preliminary design principles. We can state that the method can be used both for a better understanding of the mechanisms between human factors and work in CPPS. Besides, it helps to provide a catalogue of design principles applicable to SMEs to promote more efficient and successful integration of workers into CPPS. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Industry 4.0 for SMEs - Smart Manufacturing and Logistics for SMEs)
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18 pages, 4619 KiB  
Article
A Similarity-Based Hierarchical Clustering Method for Manufacturing Process Models
by Hyun Ahn and Tai-Woo Chang
Sustainability 2019, 11(9), 2560; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11092560 - 3 May 2019
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 4529
Abstract
As the adoption of information technologies increases in the manufacturing industry, manufacturing companies should efficiently manage their data and manufacturing processes in order to enhance their manufacturing competency. Because smart factories acquire processing data from connected machines, the business process management (BPM) approach [...] Read more.
As the adoption of information technologies increases in the manufacturing industry, manufacturing companies should efficiently manage their data and manufacturing processes in order to enhance their manufacturing competency. Because smart factories acquire processing data from connected machines, the business process management (BPM) approach can enrich the capability of manufacturing operations management. Manufacturing companies could benefit from the well-defined methodologies and process-centric engineering practices of this BPM approach for optimizing their manufacturing processes. Based on the approach, this paper proposes a similarity-based hierarchical clustering method for manufacturing processes. To this end, first we describe process modeling based on the BPM-compliant standard so that the manufacturing processes can be controlled by BPM systems. Second, we present similarity measures for manufacturing process models that serve as a criterion for the hierarchical clustering. Then, we formulate the hierarchical clustering problem and describe an agglomerative clustering algorithm using the measured similarities. Our contribution is considered on the assumption that a manufacturing company adopts the BPM approach and it operates various manufacturing processes. We expect that our method enables manufacturing companies to design and manage a vast amount of manufacturing processes at a coarser level, and it also can be applied to various process (re)engineering problems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Industry 4.0 for SMEs - Smart Manufacturing and Logistics for SMEs)
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26 pages, 11074 KiB  
Article
A Hybrid Methodology for Validation of Optimization Solutions Effects on Manufacturing Sustainability with Time Study and Simulation Approach for SMEs
by Poorya Ghafoorpoor Yazdi, Aydin Azizi and Majid Hashemipour
Sustainability 2019, 11(5), 1454; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11051454 - 8 Mar 2019
Cited by 24 | Viewed by 4995
Abstract
The properties of small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) make them one of the most important categories of enterprises for the economics of challenging world. SMEs, in most countries, are still enterprises with marketing and financial challenges. In addition, most of these challenges are [...] Read more.
The properties of small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) make them one of the most important categories of enterprises for the economics of challenging world. SMEs, in most countries, are still enterprises with marketing and financial challenges. In addition, most of these challenges are related to their production and product characteristics. On the other hand, SMEs should fulfil the costumer’s demands. In order to reach these goals, SMEs must reach the highest level of production quality and quantity and successfully sustain them. Consequently, various manufacturing paradigms have been offered by an Industry 4.0 concept, which offers a variety of solutions to increase the productivity and enhance the performance of SMEs. It should be noted that implementation of these manufacturing paradigms for SMEs is quite difficult and sometimes risky for several reasons. Still, amidst all these difficulties and challenges, the benefits and idealism of the Industry 4.0 paradigms prevail. From productivity to market, it is difficult to deny that SMEs are frightened by the challenges they face and fleeing from the potential of overcoming them. This paper is an extended version of the research by Ghafoorpoor Yazdi et al. (2018) and conducts a hybrid methodology to satisfy the SMEs by validating and verifying any optimization idea before implementing the Industry 4.0 concept. To reach the study goals, an intelligent Material Handling System (MHS) with agent-based control architecture has been developed. The developed MHS has been utilized for auto parts distribution. The system performance has been evaluated, and some solutions have been provided to optimize the performance of system. To evaluate the target system’s performance, an analytical time study method has been utilized. The time study has an Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) standard approach to identifying the matters that need to be resolved and optimized to increase system performance. The other part of the methodology is generating a simulation model of the real system by use of ARENA® software to evaluate the system’s performance before implementing the optimization idea and modifying the real system. Furthermore, as the sustainability strategies create many synergistic effects for SMEs, after evaluating the effects of the optimization ideas on OEE percentage, the influence of the OEE changes on manufacturing sustainability has been investigated. The results show that optimizing the OEE in SMEs with sustainability approaches can create competitive advantages, rather than simply focusing on reducing unsustainability. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Industry 4.0 for SMEs - Smart Manufacturing and Logistics for SMEs)
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26 pages, 3865 KiB  
Article
Hit or Miss? Evaluating the Potential of a Research Niche: A Case Study in the Field of Virtual Quality Management
by Albert Weckenmann, Ştefan Bodi, Sorin Popescu, Mihai Dragomir, Dan Hurgoiu and Radu Comes
Sustainability 2019, 11(5), 1450; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11051450 - 8 Mar 2019
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 3551
Abstract
When knowledge is developed fast, as it is the case so often nowadays, one of the main difficulties in initiating new research in any field is to identify the domain’s specific state-of-the-art and trends. In this context, to evaluate the potential of a [...] Read more.
When knowledge is developed fast, as it is the case so often nowadays, one of the main difficulties in initiating new research in any field is to identify the domain’s specific state-of-the-art and trends. In this context, to evaluate the potential of a research niche by assisting the literature review process and to add a new and modern large-scale and automated dimension to it, the paper proposes a methodology that uses “Latent Semantic Analysis” (LSA) for identifying trends, focused within the knowledge space created at the intersection of three sustainability-related methodologies/concepts: “virtual Quality Management” (vQM), “Industry 4.0”, and “Product Life-Cycle” (PLC). The LSA was applied to a significant number of scientific papers published around these concepts to generate ontology charts that describe the knowledge structure of each by the frequency, position, and causal relation of associated notions. These notions are combined for defining the common high-density knowledge zone from where new technological solutions are expected to emerge throughout the PLC. The authors propose the concept of the knowledge space, which is characterized through specific descriptors with their own evaluation scales, obtained by processing the emerging information as identified by a combination of classic and innovative techniques. The results are validated through an investigation that surveys a relevant number of general managers, specialists, and consultants in the field of quality in the automotive sector from Romania. This practical demonstration follows each step of the theoretical approach and yields results that prove the capability of the method to contribute to the understanding and elucidation of the scientific area to which it is applied. Once validated, the method could be transferred to fields with similar characteristics. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Industry 4.0 for SMEs - Smart Manufacturing and Logistics for SMEs)
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