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Optimised machining processes leveraging cyber-physical systems

Executive Summary

Machining industry in Europe is a large market that accounted for 16.6 billion € in turnover in 2013. Computer Aided Process Planning systems providing simulation for machining process optimisation have been increasingly adopted by European SMEs, still they do not leverage cyber-physical systems information to a large extend.

The goal of this Application Experiment is to cloudify a Process Planning System as a CloudFlow-enabled service, hence offering cost-effective and flexible Process Planning to machining companies, especially SMEs. Technically, the dynamics of machining processes challenge the CloudFlow infrastructure with respect to reliability and integration of streamed data. The experiment is expected to lead to improved product quality, productivity and sustainability, shorter and more accurate quotations. Economically, the experiment will enhance the productivity, quality and sustainability of Powerkut – the end user in this experiment. The estimated targets are: a) cost savings in production: 20 percent - 30 percent (it is expected to save about € 200,000 per year for Powerkut when the system has been fully implemented in the company) and b) time reduction for process planning: 3-4 times faster (e.g., from 2 hours to about 30 mins for a reference part) (Powerkut is mainly for customised production and its current capacity is to process 300 customised orders per year. Using the CUSTOMISE solution, the capacity will be increased to over 1,000 orders per year).

This experiment is rooted in the traditional ‘subtractive’ manufacturing field – in contrast to experiment 131. In the current process for a part to be produced by milling etc., key machining parameters such as spindle speed, depth of cut, depth of width, etc. have to be calculated for better production quality, shorter production time and lower waste. In this process experienced based decisions need to be taken to achieve best possible part quality in minimum time with optimized costs. This requires a lot of experience on the side of the manufacturing engineers. Depended on cloud-enabled High Performance Computing (HPC) services, the CUSTOMISE approach of this experiment automates this process in a more efficient means. The functional services of CUSTOMISE deployed in a cloud-based architecture to a CloudFlow workflow, i.e., automatic feature recognition, optimisation of machining feature sequencing and multi-objective optimization of machining parameters, optimization targets of energy saving (30 percent), productivity improvement (20 percent) and precision improvement (10 percent) are achieved.


Powerkut will reduce time, save costs and improve profit margin, and contribute to job creation. Coventry expects a technical impact related to new knowledge generation on sustainable machining processes by using real-world industrial case studies. Arctur (HPC provider) expects more machining SME end users and wider adoption of Cloud-HPC services.


Powerkut is expecting cost savings in the production in the range of 20 - 30 percent (e.g., energy saving, less scrap material, etc.). It is anticipated that € 200,000 will be saved per year for Powerkut when the system has been fully implemented in the company. The time for process planning is expected to be shrunk by more than 70 percent (3-4 times faster than today). Powerkut is mainly for customised production and its current capacity is to process 300 customised orders per year. The process plan for each order will be 2 hours in the current practices. With the CUSOTMISE solution, the efficiency will be increased 3-4 times higher to be within 30 mins for planning each order. As thus, the capacity will be increased to over 1,000 orders per year. Meanwhile, the quality of the produced orders will be improved from minimum 20 micro level to 5 micro level, and 20 percent-30percent of production cost will be reduced for each order, it should to motivate higher numbers of items sold/produced in markets. For the services developed by University of Coventry a commercial solution shall be brought to the market offering these CloudFlow services especially to machining companies in aerospace and automotive sectors. 5 years after the experiment more than 100 new customers (>400 licenses) shall be acquired resulting in a revenue stream of more than 1 Mio. €.

Arctur being an infrastructure provider expects to have mostly an economic impact from this experiment. This is reflected through the increased sale of Cloud and HPC resources. The increase of the sales follows the increase of new users using the services at offer. The secondary beneficial impact for Arctur is the widening of the service portfolio and references. With the addition of new services is able to offer more services to a wider audience of engineering customers. The service is of course always on offer in collaboration with the specialist knowledge of the field specialist or the individual ISV that contributed to the developments of this experiment.