Investigating Zero-defect manufacturing
Manufacturing represents approximately 21 % of the EU’s GDP and 20 % of its employment, providing more than 30 million jobs in 230,000 enterprises, mostly SMEs. Moreover, each job in industry is considered to be linked to two more in related services. EU manufacturing is also a dominant element in international trade, leading the world in areas such as automotive, machinery and agricultural engineering. Already threatened by both the lower-wage economies and other high-tech rivals, the situation of EU companies was even made more difficult by the downturn. The Z-Fact0r consortium has conducted extensive state-of-the-art research and realised that although a number of activities have been trying to address the need for zero-defect manufacturing, still there is a vast business opportunity for innovative, high-ROI solutions to ensure, better quality and higher productivity in the EU manufacturing industries.
The Z-Fact0r solution, funded by Horizon 2020 until January 2020 and being investigated by Brunel scholars Dr Ali Mousavi (School of Engineering and Design) and Prof Afshin Mansouri (Brunel Business School), comprises the introduction of 5 multi-stage production-based strategies targeting:
- the early detection of the defect (Z-DETECT)
- the prediction of the defect generation (Z-PREDICT)
- the prevention of defect generation by recalibrating the production line (multi-stage), as well as defect propagation in later stages of the production (Z-PREVENT)
- the reworking/remanufacturing of the product, if this is possible, using additive and subtractive manufacturing techniques (Z-REPAIR)
- the management of the aforementioned strategies through event modelling, KPI monitoring and real-time decision support (Z-MANAGE).
The project consortium consists of 13 EU-based partners in 7 countries (UK, Switzerland, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Greece and Cyprus), representing both industry and academia, having ample experience in cutting-edge technologies and active presence in the EU manufacturing. Of the 4,206,253 euros of funding commissioned, Brunel was granted 717,757 euros.