Nieke Roos
7 April 2020

High Tech Software Cluster members Cordis Automation, Eindhoven University of Technology (TUE), KE-works and TNO are looking into continuous machine optimization together with partner companies Additive Industries and Lely. Based on operational data and artificial intelligence, they want to perform verified and validated software updates on systems in the field while these remain running. This European Itea3 project has a total budget of 5 million euros and a duration of three years.

For smartphones and high-end cars like those of Tesla, it’s quite normal to refresh the software on a regular basis. For manufacturing systems, this is much less common because they often have custom configurations, which means that updates take a lot of time and are difficult to perform flawlessly. This, in turn, can lead to unpredictable downtime – and dissatisfied customers. In practice, instead of just updating the software, the entire machine is often replaced. This not only costs a lot of time, money and energy but also makes it more difficult for the user to keep up with technological advancements and changing global market requirements.

Credit: High Tech Software Cluster

The new Itea3 project wants to change this. Project coordinator Cordis is contributing its low-code platform for control software, KE-works its solution for product life cycle management, TUE its framework for formal verification and TNO AI and other smart algorithms. Additive and Lely will deliver the use cases and will apply the combination of technologies to update the software in their machines while they’re running. The intended benefits: application development will be faster and simpler, the time to deliver a machine will be shorter and software errors will be prevented. Ultimately, the project should lead to a Factory of the Future for durable hardware and continuously optimized software.