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Taking the LEAP

Information technology is critical to the future of manufacturing. The EU LinkedDesign project aims to help manufacturers harness and use information.
By Dimistris Kiritsis

What's clearly missing in the current ICT landscape for manufacturing is an integrated, holistic view of data, persons and processes across the full product lifecycle. As experiences of the past show, a tight integration of all tools used throughout a product's lifetime is not feasible. For this reason, the European Union LinkedDesign project (EU FP7 FoF project 284613) has developed a Linked Engineering and Manufacturing Platform (LEAP) for manufacturing to address the current shortcomings.

The aims of LinkedDesign, in a nutshell, can be described as follows:

Data federation: LEAP federates all relevant information across trusted sources throughout a product's lifecycle, independent of its format, location and origination time.

Context-driven access and analysis of federated information: Besides unified access to the integrated information, LEAP provides specific means to analyze this data.

User collaboration: LEAP is user-centric rather than information-centric. To foster collaboration between users across different disciplines, LEAP will use and extend lean-engineering principles and implement a collaboration workbench enabling effective internal and external collaboration.

Feedback into existing systems: In addition to pulling data from existing data sources and systems, including sensors and RFID, LEAP provides tight connections to the federated systems (CAx, for example), in order to push back enriched information to them.

The book Taking the LEAP, which I edited, provides a complete and detailed view of the main results of the LinkedDesign project, which have been integrated in the Linked Engineering and Manufacturing Platform. The book's aim is to present to the Industry 4-0 community the results of the LinkedDesign project. The content is based on the project's main technical deliverables (see a description of each chapter on the following page). If you are interested in learning about the Linked Engineering and Manufacturing Platform, you can buy the book on Amazon.

Dimitris Kiritsis is a professor of ICT in sustainable manufacturing at the Institute of Mechanical Engineering at EPFL, in Switzerland. He is the Chair of IFIP Working Group 5.7 Advances in Production Management Systems and a board member of Manufacture-CH, and was a member of the recently concluded EU-funded LinkedDesign project. His research interests include closed-loop lifecycle management, lifecycle performance evaluation and product-process modeling.

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