The CEA is launching a new technological platform aimed at structuring a "Factory of the Future" sector of excellence in the Greater East Region to help industries and SMEs to improve their production cycles and competitiveness. The platform, led by CEA's technological research department, CEA Tech, was inaugurated on Monday 30 January 2017. It brings together eleven industrial partners working together on the themes of virtual reality, collaborative robotics and intelligent logistics.
Ahe challenges facing factories today are complex: flexibility in control, agility in reconfiguring workstations, productivity, controlled progressive investment, system connectivity and, above all, the place of man. They require a significant technological leap, a reorganization of workstations and flows.
The "Factory of the Future" platform, called Future Factory @ Lorraine (FFLOR), offers manufacturers, whatever their sector of activity and whatever their size, the possibility of improving and facilitating their production processes by testing and then validating the new concepts of tomorrow's factory. At the service of the competitiveness of French industry, it is in line with the mission of the CEA and in particular with its regional action carried out by CEA Tech, which, by being part of an overall local system, with a precise and complementary role for other scientific and economic players, provides a new impetus with the aim of increasing the dissemination of technology and skills in the industrial fabric.
New keys to approach the Factory of the Future
By bringing together several categories of players at the heart of an industrial site, FFLOR's ambition is to structure a "Factory of the Future" sector of excellence in the Far East: end manufacturers who indicate their needs and specify the road map sector, equipment manufacturers that bring emerging technologies implemented by integrators, CEA Tech and its academic partners providing complementary R&D. This virtuous circle, led by thematic working groups, allows some to have simple access to relevant and customised solutions, while others to develop their skills, acquire know-how or open up new markets, while integrating new technologies into and with the economic fabric of the Greater East Region.
Didier Besnard, Director of CEA Tech in the regions, notes that : "The introduction of new technologies and the massive use of digital tools are profoundly transforming the industry worldwide. CEA Tech, at the heart of this movement, is pursuing its mission of competitiveness and completing its network of technological offers to companies throughout the country. With FFLOR, a unique facility located on the PSA industrial site, the CEA can now amplify and accelerate the transfer of technologies to the economic fabric of the Greater East Region, whatever the size and sector of activity of our partners".
Four key themes for multiple technology combinations
Over an area of 1000 m2, the equipment of the FFLOR platform covers several work themes mastered by the teams of the CEA Tech List Institute: collaborative robotics for sharing a task or a space with an operator, intelligent manipulators and "cobots". for moving loads or applying efforts in complete safety, virtual reality for designing new workstations, training operators or ergonomic analysis of workstations by minimizing risks related to musculoskeletal disorders (MSD), intelligent logistics for automatic line-side supply as well as connectivity and interoperability of systems via open source solutions.
Focused on the development of innovative solutions for manufacturers, collaboration with CEA Tech teams takes the form of simple feasibility tests of a concept or process, to a 6 to 12 month project combining several technologies; this project must result in a system with a high level of technological maturity.  (TRL 6 or 7), with high added value, almost ready to be integrated into the production site.
20 industrial partners by the end of 2017
The first eleven partners  of CEA Tech on FFLOR have signed a collaboration charter allowing them to work via two options. Join to attend demonstrations or carry out tests using the equipment available on FFLOR, or join as part of an R&D project with CEA Tech. In the latter case, FFLOR is the support of a partnership that aims to develop or specifically adapt a technology that meets the manufacturer's project. The project is carried out up to validation under conditions representative of the production site. In addition to specific projects, industrialists may also have common issues discussed in working groups. Starting from their specific project, each member can therefore exchange ideas and experiences with other industrialists, possibly trigger R&D actions to respond to the issues raised, and implement the results in their application project.
The FFLOR platform is part of an overall CEA strategy on the theme of the Factory of the Future, designed to cover the innovation needs of its industrial partners. A founding member of the Industry of the Future Alliance, the CEA deploys this strategy at the national level for the development of new innovations, and is based in Trémery as close as possible to the industrial partners for their field tests and validations.
Philippe Richert, President of the Grand Est Region, former Minister stated that The Region has set itself the objective of making the Greater East Region one of the European leaders in the factory of the future in order to support the industrial competitiveness of SMEs in the Greater East and to develop the attractiveness of our region. This is why I am proud today to reaffirm here, within the CEA Tech Factory of the Future platform in Trémery at PSA, the plan in favour of industry launched by the Region in January 2016.
The first step is to support our companies in their transformation by carrying out an industrial performance diagnosis to integrate new technologies and processes, while optimising energy resources and rethinking the place of man in the company.
In 2016, we have already supported 81 SMEs in engineering and financing operations. Today, we are targeting an additional 100 to 150 businesses each year throughout the Eastern Townships.
In this dynamic and because the Factory of the Future is the challenge of a fourth industrial revolution, I launched the 2nd Community of Factory of the Future Leaders of the Great East, last December in Florange at Thyssenkrupp Presta France. This community, supported by the Region, brings together the SMEs involved in the process. Its aim is to create networks and synergies between our companies in order to win the battle for competitiveness and employment. »
Key technologies and equipment available for the Usine du Futur en Grand Est (Factory of the Future in the Far East) :
-Virtual reality and augmented reality
Equipment available: FFLOR's virtual and augmented reality technologies are the result of research carried out within CEA Tech.
-Collaborative Robotics and Cobotics
Available equipment: 15 collaborative robots planned for 2018, including 7 collaborative robots on mobile bases (Kuka iiwa, ABB YuMi, Universal Robot), 2 10 m conveyors with step-by-step stations and shredders, the Cobomanip manipulator from Sarrazin Technologies, for handling heavy loads; the "cobot" robot from the start-up Isybot (a spin-off from the CEA), to assist the operator in finishing tasks (sanding/polishing).
Equipment available: a fleet of 3 automated AGVs from Asti circulating on the platform. 8 AGVs are planned for 2018.
-Connectivity and interoperability
Equipment available: a 1 Gbit network architecture allowing the connection of all equipment on 300 connection points. To achieve seamless communication between the different systems, FFLOR projects rely on Tango Controls, an open source software toolkit that facilitates the development of a communication interface for each piece of equipment.
(Source: CEA Tech)
 Collaborative robots
2] The TRL (Technology readiness level) scale evaluates the level of maturity of a technology up to its integration into a complete system and its industrialization.
3] ABB, Asti, ER Ingénierie, Fives, Grundfos, Opteamum, PSA, WM 88, Schneider Electric, SEW usocome, Thyssenkrupp