Digitalised Testbeds – a Cross-KIC initiative
“End-to-end digitalised production testbeds”, a Cross-KIC project led by EIT Manufacturing and involving EIT RawMaterials and EIT Digital, uses testbeds to identify and investigate digitisation solutions to improve the supply chain of raw materials for use in manufacturing.
The raw materials sector consists of a huge variety of companies, from very small entities to worldwide players, with different approaches and maturity levels when it comes to digitalisation. The sector covers the whole value chain, from exploration to recycling and circular economy. Many factors influence the supply of raw materials, depending on the overall supply-demand balance. High demand can raise prices, making exploration, mining and refining projects, as well as the search for substitute materials and recycling, increasingly commercially attractive.
The implementation of digitalisation solutions poses multiple challenges for manufacturing and processing companies. As digitalisation mostly progresses in a top-down fashion, starting from the end product, greater focus is put into the supply chains down to the raw material production sites. Identifying processes worth digitising, enabling data acquisition, performing analyses and deriving measures all require expertise that is oftentimes not available to manufacturers and their equipment suppliers. This is where the cross-KIC initiative between EIT Manufacturing, EIT Raw Materials, and EIT Digital comes in with a call for “end-to-end digitalised testbeds.”
Testbeds are an approach that has been proven successful in supporting the development and evaluation of digitalised solutions. Testbed environments mirror real-life manufacturing sites, for example by depicting specific processes using life-size equipment, or by using scaled-down versions of entire production lines. This enables them to bring the challenges of process digitisation to life, by making processes tangible and accessible.
A collaboration between three innovation communities
The end-to-end digitalised production testbeds project seeks to make digital solutions more accessible. Specifically, it works to:
- Evaluate the current state of digitalisation in the raw material sector within the field of E-Drives.
- Identify high potential areas for digitalisation-driven improvements.
- Derive suitable use-cases.
The development and implementation of digitalisation testbeds shall therefore address the industry’s most pressing manufacturing and processing challenges in the following focus points:
- Improve part design for recycling, re-use & prolonged lifetime.
- Increase the recycling rate for critical materials from End-of-life (EOL) products.
- Improve the supply chain for EOL products.