Internet of Things (IoT) is becoming more and more part of our daily life. By connecting physical reality and virtual world into new smart environments, IoT is continuously evolving in innovative contents, areas of application, visions and technologies, hence contributing to make our lives easier, safer, more efficient and more user-friendly. Implementation of IoT in Industrial context is also known under the names of Industry 4.0 (I4.0) and is expected to contribute to EU manufacturing renaissance. Hence the market of components and technologies for implementation of Industry 4.0 functionalities in industrial equipment and plants is expected to boom (Machine-to-Machine connections across Europe will grow from 52 million in 2014 up to 190 million in 2020).
Global technology providers already offer I4.0 integrated technology platforms, providing hw, sw and connectivity solutions, useful to implement I4.0 functions. However, there is a market niche of small-medium sized Original Equipment Manufacturers who find unsatisfactory the adoption of these I4.0 integrated technology platforms because
(i) they require a drastic change in the control architectures of their equipment and therefore high re-design efforts,
(ii) they provide calculation and processing powers (typically based on PLCs or PCs) over-dimensioned with respect to the application requirements,
(iii) they imply an increase in costs of the equipment.
SWING project aims to meet the unattained needs of this market niche by offering a revolutionary industrial automation architecture based on a family of intelligent and interconnected devices to support power supply and electrical continuity functions. These innovative family of devices, that makes unnecessary to use PLCs or PCs to implement I4.0 paradigm, will be enhanced by remote control and preventive maintenance services delivered via a Web Platform, constantly enriched by innovative applications.
The specific technological and market objectives of the project are summarized as follows:
To provide a smart cost-effective connected power continuity system suitable to implement Industry 4.0 functions in Light Processing Power (LPP) applications produced by small-medium size OEMs.
To contribute to EU Manufacture Renaissance supported by Industry 4.0 paradigm implementation, by developing an innovative cost-effective technological platform for LPP applications implemented by small-medium size OEMs.
To increase the international competitiveness of ADELSYSTEM in the market of Industrial Control and Factory Automation.
The feasibility study carried out under the project was aimed to assess the opportunities and risks, as well as to plan the activities necessary
- To industrialize the device and the correlated web platform and apps marketplace
- To plan the pre-commercial validation of the SWING system
- To test the potential target market to achieve a successful business exploitation
The Feasibility Study pointed out that the industrialization of the SWING Devices, which were further improved during the study, and of the SWING Web Platform architecture are compliant with the technical and economic targets.
For each risk come to light during the risk analysis, a contingency measure was identified.
The technical specification and functionalities of the SWING Devices and of the related Web platform were defined, as well as the key partners and technology suppliers involved in the project implementation. The freezing of the devices and web platform architectures as well as the identification of the strategic technology providers paved the way for the planning of the investments necessary to realize the industrialization and demonstration activities, together with direct costs associated with SWING Devices manufacturing and Web Platform implementation and maintenance.
The market analysis outlined five specific target market niches as the most attractive for the exploitation of the SWING technology.
According to the envisaged evolution of the market and of the collaboration perspectives identified with potential partners, four different business strategy Pillars were foreseen for the commercial exploitation of the SWING technology. Sales and revenues forecasts were analyzed, determining the break-even point of the initiative.
The main advances and impacts expected by the SWING project can be summarized as follows:
SWING will industrialize at a very competitive price (about -40% than similar solutions based on PLC) a ground-breaking technology, encompassing (i) a Device for power continuity endowed with internet connectivity and computing capacities (comparable to a small PLC), and (ii) a Web Platform to carry out remote configuration and control.
SWING will promote the introduction of remote control solutions, semi-autonomous adaptation and preventive maintenance in LPP applications of small OEMS, which will pave the way for the rapid establishment of the I4.0 paradigm in the European Industry. Indeed, the proposed SWING technology platform will guarantee i) high modularity and scalability, with an open hw-sw architecture allowing the use of components from other vendors and suitable to meet the automation and remote control needs of the most diverse industrial application cases; ii) connectivity and control functions in a plug & play mode, by providing a suite of web-based applications for advanced control and monitoring services.
SWING represents an unprecedent opportunity of growth for ADELSYSTEM, that foresees to more than double the turnover by the end of the project.