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Innovative stone process ecological cutting

The aim is to study, develop and produce new tools and
systems for quarrying and manufacturing of quality stones
in order to achieve an ecological advantage and manage
flexible integration in jit (just-in-time) enterprises.

ISPEC, aims to study, develop and produce an innovative system for quarrying, cutting, manufacturing and packing of stones capable of fulfilling ecological conditions and integration in a JIT (Just-in-Time) enterprise. There project has three main research areas: Area 1) Customizable cutting tools: The project aims to develop new cutting materials and informative tools to design and produce new customized wire cutting tools in order to reduce waste materials provide ecological benefits, increase productivity and reduce the cost of extraction, blocks squaring and cutting (slab production) processes. Its flexibility will be strongly based on new software tools developed to design and customize the wire cutting tools depending, e.g. on materials properties, cutting conditions and plant configuration. These new tools will make customization of all the cutting processes easy depending firstly on cutting conditions and materials properties. Area 2) New flexible open architecture machinery for quality stone extraction, squaring and slab production: The project aims to develop and produce new machinery utilizing the wire cutting tools and a demo version of the manufacturing system proposed that will be applied in quarries and/or marble/granite cutting laboratories. These new flexible machines will be easy to integrate into a complex manufacturing chain and implementable thanks to the modularity of the mechanical components (functional modules) and the open architecture information systems. This system, thanks to the modularity of its mechanical/ electronic behaviour would also be implemented in other areas, e.g. building and prefabricated construction manufacturing. Moreover, high productivity, strictly linked to the eco-efficiency of the system will be achieved. In fact the new cutting technology that will let to reduce (up to 1/10) the average lead time of the stone products in quarries and first cutting phases with considerable benefits to the process organization and material flows control. Area 3) Integration of cutting technology in fully automated manufacturing/packing chain supported by advanced vision systems for machine control and quality checking. To satisfy the market and environment constraints, the system must also meet the following main requirements: * High flexibility, * High productivity, * Easy configuration and development capability, * Easy integrability in the manufacturing/packing processes of a JIT enterprises. To respect high flexibility requirements, it will be equipped with advanced automation components and vision systems, which will detect the whole manufacturing and packing process (morphology and cutting parameters) and provide a feed-back signal to machine controllers for dynamic adaptation of the product morphology. The quality of product/process will be warranted by the integration of automated quality inspection systems that will provide continuous feedback to the new, real-time cutting management system for dynamic adaptation of the machine paths. The vision system will also provide the inspection and selection of the product duing the whole process. The integration of the customized packing machinery that will be developed in the project will make it possible to achieve a synergic increase in the whole manufacturing/ packing chain productivity. Moreover, the modularity of its components will ensure JIT can be operated and it will be possible to customize the production rate to effective market needs. The high productivity requirement combined with the high flexibility need, calls for high processing and data flow 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 open architecture computing and communication systems (hardware/ software) that will be applied to the cutting process control and supervision, will combine high data flows, high performance computing (video analysis for quality inspection), real-time control managing an agile JIT production/packing system. The new system will make it possible to achieve JIT production and in particular thanks to the new modular mechanical/electronic components and the flexibility of the wire cutting tools the system will ensure very high productivity, (the average lead time of stone products in quarries and initial cutting phases will be reduced by up to 1/10). The new systems will mead to an improvement to the quality and general economy of the manufacturing process with benefits in terms of competitiviness in this manufacturing area. Moreover, by achieving the target (in particular, areas 1) and 2)) it will lead to the development of new cutting tools and machinery and fulfil the eco-efficiency requirement. The results of the project will ensure in particular: * a strong reduction (up to 90%) of explosives used during the extraction and squaring of blocks phases; * a strong reduction in waste (now up to 80% of raw materials); * a strong reduction (up to 99%) of abrasive slag emanating from the cutting tools during the slab production phase; ° an increased recovery and recycle rate of waste materials thanks to the low environmental impact of the new cutting technology/tools and the considerably reduced use of abrasives; ° a reduction in energy consumption during the stone manufacturing process (up to 30%). The project will carry out the following detailed work: a. Definition Study Market analysis, study of the current cutting technology and identification of target industries and their characteristics (materials characteristics, information data flow, production rate, real-time constraints, accuracy constraints, examination of existing technological environment for automatic systems, new requirements related to video analysis). Investigation of image processing techniques and technology to be used in a manufacturing/ cutting/packing process. Definition of eco-compatible cutting requirements. Definition of the cutting application requirements in terms of supervision and control, speed and agility, performance, quality standards and real-time constraints. b. Design/Implementation b.1 Design of customizable cutting tools and research into new eco-compatible compound materials to produce tools for quarry and laboratory cutting. This includes the design of software tools for definition of cutting configuration CTDS 'Cutting Tool's Design Software' and the study and choice of customizable materials fulfilling the requirements of cutting tools with special regard to the eco-compatibility of the whole process and the recycle rate of the waste materials. b.2 Design of the new flexible open architecture machinery for quality stone extraction, squaring and slab production. b.2.1. Design of new extracting, squaring and cutting machines and the design of all the extracting, squaring and cutting machines, definition of the interfaces to the system, design of the interfaces with vision-based machine control system. b.2.2 Design of a High Speed, Agile and Flexible Open Architecture Cutting Chain for quality stone manufacturing: This includes the study of the architecture of the extraction, squaring and cutting system supported by advanced vision systems for machine control, with special regard to the eco-compatibility of the whole process and its integration into the complex manufacturing chain. b.3 Design of the generic technology for integration of the cutting technology in a fully automated manufacturing/ packing chain. b.3.1. Design of the customized flexible, vision-based packing/transfer machinery and eco-compatible packing materials. This includes the design of the packing machine and components with a vision-based control system and open informative architecture and the design/implementation of vision technology for product's quality check and product selection and for machine control systems. b.3.2. Integration and Development of System Components This includes development and integration of advanced, high speed, computing/communication system, safety system, machine vision, PLCs, CNCs, middlewares, system for materials and the real-time production management system. This includes design of computing/communication technology and informative architecture, design of image processing modules (hardware components, software libraries), design of adapted Middleware to the environment, design of a real-time cutting management system and the design of vision systems for machine control, product selection and quality checking. c. Implementation of the System with the Generic Technology This includes construction of the machines (manufacturing and packing), their integration in the system demonstrator chain, the mechanical/electronic connection with the factory/enterprise JIT network, the implementation of the CTDS "Cutting Tool Design Software" on the demo system and construction of the customized tools. d. Experimentation Definition of test cases and experimentation of the machines both in stand-alone and integrated mode, experimentation of the whole ISPEC system connected with the factory/enterprise JIT network. e. Dissemination and Full Exploitation of Results, Standardization Efforts, Organization of workshops, seminars, publications. e.1. Input for the development of new cutting, eco- compatible materials and tools. e.2. Input for the evolution of new eco-compatible processes/machines and integration/vision technology. e.3. Input for the extension to other manufacturing areas of the new tools and technology developed. A first check point is planned after three months, at the end of the general feasibility analysis. The project is planned for 3 years. We expect to spend 6 months on the definition and 30 months on full implementation. Keywords: eco-efficiency, cutting tools, process integration.
Acronym: 
ISPEC
Project ID: 
2 280
Start date: 
01-01-2000
Project Duration: 
50months
Project costs: 
6 100 000.00€
Technological Area: 
Market Area: 

Raising the productivity and competitiveness of European businesses through technology. Boosting national economies on the international market, and strengthening the basis for sustainable prosperity and employment.