Fraunhofer Heinrich Hertz Institute (HHI) is developing solutions to enable the green transition by advancing climate-neutral and digitized production. The new project Zero-SWARM that launched in June is emblematic of this venture. Zero-SWARM is funded by the European Commission with eight million Euros. An additional two million Euros are brought to the 30-month initiative through private funding. The project identifies the uptake of advanced 5G technologies by the European manufacturing sector as a guiding principle.
Zero-SWARM’s core aim is to improve the agility of the European manufacturing industry by increasing resiliency to external shocks. Secure and easy-to-implement non-public 5G systems are vital in such a process. The ambition is thus to provide a technological framework that is modular, open and reusable to facilitate resilient production processes. Fraunhofer HHI contributes innovative software solutions to the initiative: their distributed learning framework (DLFi) offers communication efficiency and guarantees the privacy of data owners. In essence, Zero-SWARM establishes a unique forum where separately maturing technologies of 5G and cloud-edge continuum, data technologies as well as analysis and operational technology break their siloes to co-design and co-create through 10 trials.
Zero-SWARM will display crucial achievements in a multidisciplinary array of technologies. The project focuses on plug & connect 5G for industry, mobile intelligent agents for zero plastic waste, and remote quality control for zero-defect resilient manufacturing – to only highlight a few. Accordingly, the initiative includes three testbed groups across Europe with industrial test facilities that were co-created and co-financed by reputable industry players.
Fraunhofer HHI will contribute to requirement analysis, system design, and the architecture of Zero-SWARM. In particular, Fraunhofer HHI offers its expertise on privacy-preserving distributed AI and edge-cloud continuum. Another decisive aspect is the advancement of DLFi towards realizing distributed intelligence paradigms in production. Additionally, it will host trials and proof-of-concepts over its large-scale test infrastructure that was just announced, including 5G Berlin and Fraunhofer Edge Cloud, validating the future-proof approaches of Zero-SWARM. Fraunhofer HHI cooperates closely with its Berlin-based partner institute Fraunhofer IPK regarding the trial implementation.
Dr. Behnam Shariati, Deputy Head of the Digital Signal Processing Group, serves as the project lead on behalf of Fraunhofer HHI: “The envisioned innovations of Zero-SWARM will pave the way for the realization of a climate-neutral and digitized production ecosystem based on non-public 5G networks, edge-cloud continuum, and data ecosystems that will enhance the technology sovereignty of Europe while implementing the expectations of the Green Deal. We are very happy to be a part of this unique consortium and to contribute to the distributed intelligence and edge-cloud continuum of this joint undertaking.”
Zero-SWARM is significant in the European sphere because of its contribution to future work conceptions. The project intends to make human-centered jobs in the manufacturing sector more attractive and safer while creating opportunities for upskilling. Another relevant vector plays out in accelerating the publicly demanded green transition. By means of establishing newly sustainable, flexible and digital ways to build and produce goods in an environmentally friendly manner, the initiative applies objective-oriented innovative approaches.
Consequently, Zero-SWARM operates in line with the priorities of the European Union, such as prominently the New Green Deal. To achieve so, the project brings together 27 organizations from 10 European countries with complementary expertise and skills. Ultimately, the consortium aims to contribute to the consolidation of Europe’s leading role in sustainable, data-driven manufacturing arenas. The initiative thus lays the foundation for boosting the European innovation capacity and creating new market opportunities.
The project is coordinated by Ethniko Kento Erevnas Kai Technologies Anaptyxis (CERTH), a non-profit research and innovation center located in Thessaloniki, Greece. It also comprises the following project partners: Huawei Technologies Sweden, Lulea University (Sweden), ABB Visual Components, AALTO University (Finland), nxtControl (Austria), Reepack Technology Transfer System, Research Wings, Nextworks (Italy), SICK, Opticoms, EICe Aachen, Fraunhofer HHI, Fraunhofer IPK, RWTH Aachen University, SMS Digital, International Data Spaces Association( Germany), Accelleran (Belgium), Ubiwhere (Portugal), FundingBox (Poland), AIMEN, Innovalia, S21Sec, i2CAT, Universidad Miguel Hernández, Neutroon (Spain).
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