The system, in order to respect market and environmental
constraints, must fulfil the following main requirements:
- JIT (just-in-time) packing
- Easy integration into JIT enterprises
- High productivity
- High flexibility
- Easy configurability of the plant.
The project aims to develop a demonstration version of the
proposed packing system which will be applied to one or
both of the following production areas:
* electrical domestic appliances.
The proposed system, thanks to its modularity and
flexibility, would also be applied to many other production
areas, such as paper reams, building panels, palleted
The first aim is to produce a demonstrator for the
furniture sector, taking into consideration JIT production
requirements and the very high variability in product
dimensions. This will allow the proposed system to be
tested under the most critical conditions.
The eco-efficiency requirement will be achieved by reducing
the number and volume of materials in order to allow easy
recovery, re-use and recyclability of the packing and
develop processes with low environmental impact. Research
on new materials will be carried out to manage JIT/eco-
In order to respect the high flexibility requirement, the
system will be equipped with an advanced vision system
which will detect the item to be packed and this will
provide a feedback signal to the packing machine
controllers for dynamic adaptation of the product's shape.
The quality of product/process will be ensured by the
integration of automated quality inspection systems which
will provide continuous feedback to the new, Real-Time
packing management system.
The high productivity requirement, combined with the need
for high flexibility, calls for high processing and
dataflow transmission speed. For this reason, the proposed
project aims to develop and integrate solutions based on
advanced, high speed technology in the industrial world.
The computing/communication system (hardware and software)
that will be applied to the advanced manufacturing/packing
process control and supervision, will combine high
dataflow, high performance computing (video analysis for
quality inspection), Real-Time control managing an agile
JIT production/packing system.
The project will carry out the following detailed work:
a. Definition study
Market analysis, study of the current packing technology
and identification of target industries and their
characteristics (packing materials needs, dataflow,
volumes, Real-Time constraints, accuracy constraints,
examination of existing technological environment for
automatic systems, new requirements related to video
analysis). There will be an investigation into image
processing techniques and the technology to be used in a
Definition of the packing application requirements in terms
of supervision and control, speed and agility, performance,
quality standards and Real-Time constraints.
Definition of packing,eco-compatibility, materials/process
b.1. Design of the Generic Technology
This includes the design of computing/communication
technology and informative architecture, design of the
image processing modules (hardware components, software
libraries), design of adapted middleware to the environment
and design of a Real-Time packing management system.
b.1.1. Integration and Development of System Components
This includes development and integration of an advanced,
high speed computing/communication system, safety system,
machine vision, PLCs, CNCs, middleware and the Real-Time
production/packing management system.
b.2 Research into new eco-compatible materials to be used
for JIT packing
This includes the study and choice of the packing materials
best meeting all requirements of a pack with special regard
to the eco-compatibility of the whole process.
b.3. Design of a High Speed, Agile and Flexible Packaging
Chain for furniture and/or domestic appliances.
b.3.1. Design of a Flexible Manufacturing open architecture
Chain for packing.
This includes the study of the architecture of the packing
system, coherent with new packing materials and with
special regard to the eco-compatibility of the process.
b.3.2. Design of the new packing machines
This includes the design of all the packing machines, the
definition of the interfaces to the system, design of the
interfaces with vision and quality-check system.
c. Implementation of the System with the Generic Technology
including construction of the machines, their integration
into the system demonstrator, mechanical/electronic
connection with the factory/enterprise JIT network.
Definition of test cases and testing of the machines both
in stand-alone and integrated mode, testing of the whole
system connected with the factory/enterprise JIT network.
e. Dissemination and Full Exploitation of Results and
e.1. Organisation of workshops, seminars, publications.
e.2. Input for the development of new, eco-compatible
e.3. Input for the development of new, eco-compatible
The project is planned to last three years, of which 6
months will be spent on its definition and 30 months on its
Keywords: eco-compatible, flexible, Just-In-Time.