Projects / Programmes source: ARIS

Innovative production systems and processes

Research activity

Code Science Field Subfield
2.10.00  Engineering sciences and technologies  Manufacturing technologies and systems   
1.07.00  Natural sciences and mathematics  Computer intensive methods and applications   

Code Science Field
2.03  Engineering and Technology  Mechanical engineering 
1.01  Natural Sciences  Mathematics 
Smart Factories, Intelligent production systems and processes, real-time control, digitalization, digital factories, Internet of Things (IoT), smart tools, 5G technologies, Edge computing, data analytics, intelligent optimization algorithms, microtechnologies, additive technologies.
Evaluation (rules)
source: COBISS
Data for the last 5 years (citations for the last 10 years) on December 6, 2023; A3 for period 2017-2021
Data for ARIS tenders ( 04.04.2019 – Programme tender , archive )
Database Linked records Citations Pure citations Average pure citations
WoS  284  2,617  2,139  7.53 
Scopus  349  3,563  2,915  8.35 
Researchers (20)
no. Code Name and surname Research area Role Period No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  21232  PhD Mihael Debevec  Manufacturing technologies and systems  Researcher  2022 - 2023  632 
2.  38468  Pavel Drešar    Technical associate  2023  26 
3.  10499  PhD Niko Herakovič  Mechanical design  Head  2022 - 2023  698 
4.  53512  Denis Jankovič  Manufacturing technologies and systems  Junior researcher  2022 - 2023  16 
5.  33239  PhD Marko Jerman  Manufacturing technologies and systems  Researcher  2022 - 2023  85 
6.  09006  PhD Mihael Junkar  Manufacturing technologies and systems  Retired researcher  2022 - 2023  552 
7.  12260  PhD Andrej Lebar  Manufacturing technologies and systems  Researcher  2022 - 2023  304 
8.  23469  PhD Henri Orbanić  Manufacturing technologies and systems  Researcher  2022 - 2023  166 
9.  12957  PhD Tomaž Pepelnjak  Manufacturing technologies and systems  Researcher  2022 - 2023  428 
10.  33801  PhD Miha Pipan  Manufacturing technologies and systems  Researcher  2022 - 2023  181 
11.  39494  PhD Matevž Resman  Manufacturing technologies and systems  Researcher  2022 - 2023  45 
12.  21774  PhD Darja Rupnik Poklukar  Mathematics  Researcher  2022 - 2023  57 
13.  30912  PhD Izidor Sabotin  Manufacturing technologies and systems  Researcher  2022 - 2023  116 
14.  54780  Ema Stefanovska  Manufacturing technologies and systems  Junior researcher  2022 - 2023 
15.  31322  PhD Marko Šimic  Manufacturing technologies and systems  Researcher  2022 - 2023  272 
16.  39194  PhD Maja Turk  Manufacturing technologies and systems  Researcher  2022  29 
17.  24274  PhD Marko Uplaznik  Physics  Researcher  2022 - 2023  40 
18.  18553  PhD Joško Valentinčič  Manufacturing technologies and systems  Researcher  2022 - 2023  437 
19.  51943  Suzana Vinetič  Manufacturing technologies and systems  Junior researcher  2022 - 2023 
20.  03430  PhD Janez Žerovnik  Mathematics  Researcher  2022 - 2023  802 
Organisations (2)
no. Code Research organisation City Registration number No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  0782  University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Mechanical Engineering  Ljubljana  1627031  29,266 
2.  2803  BSH Hišni aparati d.o.o. Nazarje (Slovene)  Nazarje  5684943  93 
The main topic of the proposed research programme addresses the enabling technologies for digitalization of the production industry in the context of Smart Factories. Innovative manufacturing systems and processes (IMSP) which include manufacturing machines, manufacturing devices, manufacturing tools, process of material and information flow through the whole manufacturing process are one of key elements in the value added chain. Real time manufacturing systems and processes (IMSP) are different from the traditional MSP, since they are controlled by intelligent systems and intelligent software united in smart industrial networks. Simultaneously we are addressing new innovative manufacturing technologies and mechatronic subsystems which are in-line with the strategies of European Green Deal, sustainable technologies in the vrame of circular economy and miniaturization. The main focus of research activities is on concepts of Smart factories. The aims are to increase efficiency and flexibility of IMSP, based on principles of the Digital Factory, Expert systems (AI), LEAN, AGILE and TQM and are consistent with the guidelines of the industry 4.0. At the same time we want to enable individual product manufacturing within a large-scale production by implementing modula design of IMSP and products and with intelligent algorithm for self-adjusting IMSP. For communication and information processing we will focus on Edge computing, wireless communication technology based on 5G, technology of internet of things (IoT) and algorithms based on artificial intelligence and stochastic models. In pursuit of digitization, we will develop virtual models that enable simulation of physical processes, services, and systems. The above mentioned technologies, related to the concepts of Smart Factories, will be applied in the following fields: smart forming tools; on-line determination of optimal stressstrain rate of products; IceJet cutting; additive technologies/3D printing; micromanufacturing technologies related to development of microfluidic systems; intelligent hydraulic and pneumatic components and systems; tools and handling devices ready for integration in SF; intelligent IMSP in the domain of assembly and packaging of the consumer products; increasing the level of automation of small kitchen appliances, which enable the user to express individual needs and taste during the food processing. In this way we follow the evolution and prospects of manufacturing systems and processes, which extends from current state of so called LEAN manufacturing, through paradigm of Manufuture to Smart Factories and further on towards the concept of Remote factory. In collaboration with the concessionary and other companies we will introduce digitalization concepts to Slovenian industry and master the innovation cycle. We will continue to develop and update the IMSP with the aim of reducing energy consumption, which coincides with the Horizon Europe program and the EU Green Deal.
Significance for science
Consortium members have already gained positive feedback from the global scientific Community for their work in the past. In the following years, as the project goals aim towards Smart factories, being one of the core development strategies of the EU, we expect new major research achievements in the area of basic and applied research activities. The achievable results of updated consortium are: - new flexible manufacturing concepts and flexible manufacturing technologies, - real-time control and management of manufacturing processes to reduce manufacturing tolerances, - optical control of manufacturing processes and implementation of feedback loops to stabilize and increase the quality of processes, - integration of 5G technologies to improve manufacturing processes, - new concepts of distributed systems involving Edge Computing, - concepts, technologies and optimizations to minimize the environmental burdening and energy consumption of manufacturing processes, - technologies and concepts of digitalization and comprehensive production integration, - lean production, - shortening of production cycles, - design of products for rapid disassembly and sorting of raw materials during disassembly, - new numerical models of the ice water-jet treatment process, - new insights into the mechanical properties of ice abrasives, - new innovative incremental forming technologies for rapid small batch production, - methods for determining optimal assembly and service sequences, - methods for predicting the operation and adaptation of production systems in small batch production, - methods for increasing flexibility, reliability and availability of complex manufacturing systems and processes, - methodologies for introducing robotic support into manufacturing systems, - development of decision-making and decision-selection systems, - generalized model of stabilization of sheet metal forming processes with simultaneous positioning into stable technological windows, - process identification and control of smart forming tools, - application of the method of inductive machine learning in manufacturing systems, - criteria for selection of optimal combinations of manufacturing technologies, - new microfabrication chains, - development of new microfluidic systems, - production of microfluidic systems using the concept of soft tools - technologies and tools for micro-forming - detection and identification of micro-components, - micro-assembly and logistics, - increasing the dynamic capacity of actuators and reducing energy consumption, - identification of the specifics of polymer recycling in technologically demanding products - implementation of recycled polymers in injection mold inserts.
Significance for the country
In the past programme consortium collaborated with the following well known industry partners: Domel, FDS Research and Gorenje Toolmaking. Additionally, and recently with the company BSH, which is an industrial partner of the proposed research programme. Together we successfully finished numerous R&D tasks and transferred gained knowledge to the industrial environment. The results of cooperation with various Slovenian companies led to several patent applications to protect the technical solutions worldwide. Nowadays, the research that leads to partial technological solutions is not sufficient for a global competitiveness of Slovenian industry, but the integration into modern European industrial initiatives exposed in Smart factories or Factories of the future paradigm is required. That's why we've been talking a lot about the digitalization of industry, especially manufacturing systems and processes, also in Slovenia as well. Smart factories have even become one of the pillars of the Smart Specialization Strategy (SMS) adopted by the Slovenian government in 2015. Our program group has been intensively involved in these events and various initiatives and partnerships such as SRIP Factories of the Future, which aim to develop the missing technologies and knowledge that will enable the digitisation of manufacturing systems and processes. The current global crisis related to the COVID-19 pandemic has severely crippled economic activity, especially the manufacturing sector. Through necessity of workers being physically involved in the production process, they are exposed to the possibility of infections. One of the goals of the digitalization of the production process is also to reduce the need for the physical presence of the worker. The digitalisation of production processes in the context of smart factories of the future thus addresses the aforementioned issue, which was fully revealed at the time of the pandemic. In the future, it is expected that a similar situation will arise, which would be easier for the manufacturing sector to overcome if employees performed most of their tasks remotely or by working from home. The reduced physical presence of the worker in the production process is therefore crucially related to the digitization and automation of production processes. The national identity will only be strengthened if the export-oriented industry is also intensively strengthened. Despite the turbulent situation on the industrial markets in the last decade, a significant part of Slovenian production is still oriented towards the European automotive industry. Unfortunately, this has developed faster than the industry of Slovenian suppliers in recent years. We will only be able to reduce the emerging gaps by introducing flexible and smart production and focusing on industries with high added value. Smart factories and their introduction in Slovenian companies are therefore crucial for their future competitiveness in the world. This is especially true for small and medium-sized enterprises, which often do not even incorporate the basic concepts of smart manufacturing into their operations. For this purpose, we have established a digital innovation hub (DIH DiTMaPS - DIH for digital twins of logistics systems and manufacturing processes and systems, https://dih-ditmaps.si/) in the 2020 program group, where the acquired knowledge is transferred to real industrial environments through workshop organizations. Thus, the implementation of the acquired knowledge in the program group can significantly promote the increase of value creation in Slovenian companies. Through targeted problem solving in industry and support in transitions to the concept of smart factories, the members of the program group can contribute to increasing the competitiveness of Slovenian companies. This is already reflected in the active participation of program group members in smart specialization initiatives, as well as in many industrial projects in this field with Yaskawa Europe Robotics, Yaskawa Ristro, Skaza smart plastic, Gorenje, BSH, Telekom Slovenija, Polycom, Knauf Insulation, Numip, Elaphe, Krka, Kolektor, Riko, Ecolab, Adria dom, Intersocks, Kreativni Aluminij, Yaskawa Europe, Yaskawa Electric Corporation, Danfoss, Perndorfer Maschinenbau, Best Fluid Technology, Dafra d.o.o., Hidria, Iskra Mehanizmi etc. The members of the project consortium are also aware that development in Slovenia is based on young, professionally trained employees. Therefore, they actively participate in the education of students and graduates. Thus, the members of the consortium are currently mentors of four PhD students and many Master students and all their topics are scientifically oriented. Some of the topics covered are the digital and virtual factory and intelligent decision algorithms, as well as lean manufacturing, flexible processes and new innovative technologies to reduce energy consumption in production, narrow manufacturing tolerances, "Remove and Replace" methods, etc.
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