Whirlpool’s current automation architecture is based on typical ISA-95 pyramid which is providing single-point of thruth for what is regarding data storage and decision making. On the other hand this architecture is quite rigid and cannot be modified so easily.
Whirlpool use case is focused on demonstrating how FAR-EDGE architecture can give to a physical plant, such as a logistic system, the capacity to be easily and quickly adapted to changes, either programmed or unforeseen. This flexibility allows the implementation of agile manufacturing concept, thus achieving modular, scalable, reconfigurable systems, which are key to make high cost manufacturing countries competitive again versus low cost countries, and enable the re-shoring of production.
Whirlpool’s use case will be based on one of its Italian factories, which has been already involved in re-shoring operations.
- Each physical item (bays, conveyor) is managed by an independent edge node modelled as agent.
- Each agent provides its status to all others.
- Edge nodes could be physically realized with low cost computing means (e.g. Arduino, Raspberry, etc.).
- Sorter is a smart contract running on the blockchain and implements the sorting algorithm.
Thanks to the edge computing approach, each physical item is able to communicate its status to all the others.
The availability of real-time information allows to implement a real-time simulation of the activities, which in turn leads to the optimization of sorting decisions.