Title: Interoperability of the future factory: an overview of concepts and research challenges

Authors: Lai Xu; Paul De Vrieze; Hongnian Yu; Keith Phalp; Yuewei Bai

Addresses: Faculty of Science and Technology, Bournemouth University, Poole House, Fern Barrow, BH12 5BB, Poole, UK ' Faculty of Science and Technology, Bournemouth University, Poole House, Fern Barrow, BH12 5BB, Poole, UK ' School of Engineering and The Built Environment, Edinburgh Napier University, 10, Colinton Road, EH10 5DT, Edinburgh, UK ' Faculty of Science and Technology, Bournemouth University, Poole House, Fern Barrow, BH12 5BB, Poole, UK ' College of Engineering, Shanghai Polytechnic University, Jinhai Road, 2360, Pudong, Shanghai, China

Abstract: Interoperability is a key factor in implementing a future factory. In European Union context interoperability is the ability of organisations to interact towards mutually beneficial goals, involving the sharing of information and knowledge between these organisations, through the business processes they support, by means of the exchange of data between their Information and Communications Technology (ICT) systems. Interoperability of future factory synthesizes software components, application solutions, business processes and business context throughout the diversified, heterogeneous, autonomous procedure, assembled from multiple independent factories or smart/digital factory networks. As a part of research results of EU H2020 "vF Interoperation suppoRting buSiness innovaTion" (FIRST) project, we present a comprehensive review on basic concepts of factories of the future. The relationships among smart factory, digital factory and virtual factory are studied. In this paper, we define future factory interoperability and outline the research challenges related to interoperability.

Keywords: interoperability; virtual factory; digital factory; factories of the future; industry 4.0.

DOI: 10.1504/IJMMS.2020.108333

International Journal of Mechatronics and Manufacturing Systems, 2020 Vol.13 No.1, pp.3 - 27

Received: 27 May 2019
Accepted: 10 Mar 2020

Published online: 04 Jul 2020 *

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