Home CESE Projects Mobilising projects PRODUTECH PSI and PRODUTECH PTI (news article)
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Mobilising projects PRODUTECH PSI and PRODUTECH PTI (news article)

New Products and Services for the Manufacturing industry (PRODUTECH PSI) and Innovative processes and technologies for the manufacturing industry (PRODUTECH PTI)

INESC TEC helps implement innovative assembly line

INESC TEC is part of the Production Technologies Cluster (PRODUTECH), which demonstrated the new assembly line of the company ADIRA, the ADIRA Production System. The entire manufacturing system was designed and implemented with innovative technology, including software to optimise production and autonomous vehicles that supply each work station with the materials necessary to assemble customised orders. INESC TEC’s Centre for Enterprise Systems Engineering (CESE) and Centre for Robotics and Intelligent Systems (CROB) developed almost the entire manufacturing system.

New manufacturing line is more flexible and produces customised orders

The first public presentation of the results of PRODUTECH’s mobilising projects took place at the facilities of ADIRA Metal-Forming Solutions, SA on 6 May. The project – which focuses on the area of operations management and logistics for customised products – aimed at developing methodologies, tools and equipment that will allow Portuguese companies to produce customised products  (according to the needs of each client) in a more competitive way.


The result was the new ADIRA Production System, which is based on a highly flexible assembly line, fed by autonomous vehicles that supply each work station with the materials required to produce customised orders. The line is fully integrated with the company’s systems and management processes. These features will make the production faster and more flexible, while reducing in half the delivery times of fully automated machines.

ADIRA, which manufactures machines to work with metal sheets, is already implementing the new concept of assembly line that will make it possible to deliver highly customised machinery to clients in about 10 days. “Using this system, ADIRA will assemble high added value products and become more competitive in national and international markets. We hope to reinforce our position as a worldwide renowned manufacturer of machines used to work with metal sheets,” states the CEO of ADIRA, António Cardoso Pinto, who stressed the potential of this ‘pilot factory’, which can be replicated in other continents, in countries like India or Brazil.


CESE and CROB work together to design manufacturing system

The project involved a broad and multidisciplinary consortium, which addressed areas such as operation and layout optimisation, production scheduling and control, automated material and information flows, and material and component management. “The results show not only the potential of using this type of collaborative work involving developing companies and users of advanced manufacturing systems  and entities of the scientific and technological system, but also the impact that these technologies can have on the competitiveness of the manufacturing industry,” states José Carlos Caldeira, executive manager of PRODUTECH and director of INESC Porto (the coordinating entity of INESC TEC).

The entire production system of ADIRA’s new factory was designed by a team coordinated by INESC TEC and by the Kaizen Institute. INESC TEC, represented by CESE and CROB, was in charge of the activity “Flexile systems for internal logistics.” The researchers designed the “Guinadoras”, a term created to represent a set of two types of different machines that can be produced in the same production line, and is the result of the combination of “Guilhotinas” (guillotine) and “Quinadoras” (press brake). “This is one of the greatest challenges that the team found because the machines, though structurally similar, have considerably different assembly times,” explains António Correia Alves, the researcher that coordinated the CESE team.


As far as flexible systems for internal logistics are concerned, the challenge was developing logistics solutions to manufacture customised products and small series. The solutions developed include autonomous vehicles that make sure that the materials and the product move around the shop floor (AGV – Internal Logistics) and that trucks are automatically loaded in warehouses (AGV – Loading Trucks).

A management platform, also the result of this activity, integrates the ERPs (Enterprise Resource Planning) of the companies with logistic modules, allowing for the bidirectional flow of information, and propagating, in real time, the scheduling results throughout the shop floor. At ADIRA’s production line, it was possible to demonstrate the high flexibility of internal logistics solutions when it comes to producing customised products and small series. “The synergies created by CESE and CROB were fundamental to develop autonomous systems at the level of navigation, localisation and control systems. The activity was coordinated by INESC TEC,” Rui Rebelo, researcher, highlights.


The implementation of the project also included developing an engine to optimise production operations, led by researchers Luís Guardão and Luís Lima, and the Autonomous Vehicle, led by the researchers Rui Rebelo and Pedro Ribeiro (CESE) and António Moreira, Héber Sobreira and Filipe Santos (CROB). The vast team working on project PRODUTECH.PSI (New Products and Services for the Manufacturing Industry) also includes Alexandra Marques, Luís Guardão, Paulo Sá Marques, Paula Gomes and Daniel Oliveira (CESE), as well as André Araújo and Fernando Guedes (CROB).


Mobilising projects PRODUTECH PSI and PRODUTECH PTI (New Processes and Innovative Technologies for the Production Technologies Industry), which combined a budget of 12 million Euros, are coordinated by the technological centre for the metal industry – CATIM, involving over 30 partners, including companies, teaching and scientific research institutions.


PRODUTECH aims at promoting an increase in competitiveness and sustainability of the Portuguese and international manufacturing industry. The cluster promoted innovative, flexible, integrated and competitive solutions, in close collaboration with the main sectors of industry, and with entities of the scientific and technological system.

The projects are supported by the Compete programme, as part of the Sistema de Incentivos à Investigação e Desenvolvimento Tecnológico (incentive system for research and technological development) of the Programa Operacional Fatores de Competitividade (operational programme for competitiveness).



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