Made4U project begins demonstrator phase

The EU 7th Framework Made4U project reached an important milestone during w/c 13 February when the demonstrator phase of the project was formally launched.  In the ambitious demonstrator a distributed manufacturing environment will be used to manufacture spectacles with highly customised lenses and frames using innovative manufacturing techniques.

Opticians in France and Portugal will use equipment designed by the Biomechanics Institute of Valencia (IBV) to capture user morphological, optical and aesthetic requirements. Information will be passed to lens and frame calculation services hosted by Indo, in Catalonia, the lead partner in the project. Once suitable lenses and frames have been selected by the client, manufacturing orders will be submitted.  Optica Alcom of Slovenia will manufacture the lenses using specialist coatings and lens treatment supplied by Satisloh Photonics in Switzerland. EOS, in Bavaria, will manufacture the frames and send them on to Xennia in Letchworth for decoration.  The components will then be assembled in Slovenia before sending to the opticians responsible for the order.

At the heart of the demonstrator is the Integrated Manufacturing Platform developed by k-int.  The platform acts as the central broker between the manufacturing systems, ensuring that messaging is handled in a consistent way.  The platform is complemented by a web control system developed by Plasta in Catalonia, which enables participants to view the progress of each order.

In the development of the Integrated Manufacturing Platform, k-int has built on its expertise in service oriented architectures to implement interfaces, using both SOAP and RESTful techniques, with partner systems.  The platform is designed to be flexible and to allow other systems to be included, should the project result in the development of a commercialised system for supply chain management.

During the Demonstrator phase, which runs until the end of June, k-int will be monitoring the performance of the platform and adding enhancements based on feedback from participants.