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TCD engineers developing Industry 4.0 smart machines of the future


Currently the manufacturing world is on the verge of a potential 4th industrial revolution known as Industry 4.0. This revolution is made possible due to the advancement in computer computation, industrial communication, and cloud technology. Industry 4.0 has the potential to create smart machines, storage, and production systems, which are capable of seamless data distribution, autonomous collaboration, and potentially artificial intelligence.

The Manufacturing Engineering Research group at Trinity College Dublin, led by Associate Processor Garret O’Donnell and Dr Jeff Morgan, are currently exploring Industry 4.0; in the areas of process monitoring, advanced signal analysis, and decentralised control. Through this research and an Enterprise Ireland industrial collaboration with Ceramicx Ireland, the concept of open production technology has been developed, and for the first time realised. More specifically the Smart Reconfigurable-Test EXecution" (SR-TEX) platform has been created. This platform enables the dynamic forming of an automated production test equipment.

Automated production equipment enables a manufacturer to validate the function of their products, while providing insight into production quality. The SR-TEX platform enables the decentralised collaboration of independent plug-and-play test stations for universal serial product testing. A production process can now be represented by functional building blocks, and orchestrated through network communication. This enables a production process to be remotely configured and re-configured for different operations on-the-fly. The production process is now open to change and flexible to meet the requirements of a progress manufacturing enterprise.

Future development will see the SR-TEX platform utilised to create multiple types of production machines for use in manufacturing production and product test validation.

For enquiries please email Dr Jeff Morgan (morganje@tcd.ie)