Recently, Dr. Lai Xu, the joint coordinator Dr. Paul de Vrieze of the EU H2020 FIRST (Virtual Factories: Interoperation supporting Business Innovation) project, was featured in an interview by Horizon, the EU Research & Innovation Magazine. The interview-related article and a concise video have been published.
The FIRST project, which concluded in December 2022 after a six-year duration, was a substantial undertaking with a budget of 1.2 million Euros and involved eight international partners. It aimed to address the challenges associated with constructing a virtual factory using existing Industry 4.0 frameworks and standards. The project not only explored potential business innovations for manufacturing products, such as integrating business and manufacturing processes for customized products, but also for manufacturing services, like virtual maintenance services.
The scope of the project extended beyond enhancing manufacturing efficiency and empowering SMEs. It also focused on safeguarding the future of European manufacturing by preventing the theft of advanced technologies. The consortium driving the FIRST project is comprised of partners with robust expertise in computer science and information systems, some of whom possess mechanical engineering proficiency. Additionally, the consortium includes two software vendors from Germany and China, along with a traditional manufacturing facility.