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Zero-defect strategies at system level for multi-stage manufacturing in production lines
Deadline: Jan 21, 2016  

 Audits and Controls
 Waste Management
 Sustainable Development
 Industrial Manufacturing
 Horizon Europe
 Industrial Engineering

Topic Description
Specific Challenge:

The current trend in multi-stage manufacturing is towards more complex, distributed and faster evolving manufacturing facilities. To develop a zero-defect strategy to cope with increasing competition and sustainability related issues, plants should be designed and managed using best practices from emerging key enabling technologies. Manufacturing processes have to be environmental friendly and safe and deliver high quality products adapted to customer requirements, whilst minimising costs.

Within a context of market globalisation, the quality of products has become a key factor for success in manufacturing industry. The growing unpredictability of demand necessitates continuous adjustments in production targets. The increasing interest in sustainable production places a premium on reducing material waste, re-works, rejects and stocks and has led to a demand for the development of zero-defect strategies at system level.


Proposals should develop tools and methods for multi-stage manufacturing production with the aim of preventing defect generation and propagation as part of a system-level zero-defect strategy. In this context, integrated production and quality control strategies able to achieve the desired production rate for high quality products need to be developed. They should include both tools to prevent the generation of defects at single stage level and tools to prevent the propagation of defects to downstream stages.

Quality control tools should be supported by distributed on-line data gathering systems, on-line inspection tools, on-line defect management policies (i.e. on-line re-work or workpiece repair), inter-stage information and part flow control strategies and selective inspection policies to achieve higher control of the most critical stages in the system. The final aim is to achieve production system configurations that profitably exploit the quality/productivity trade-off at system level whilst reducing complexity.

Research activities should cover several of the following fields in a multidisciplinary approach:

  • Methodologies and strategies for integrating production and quality systems into the multi-stage manufacturing process.
  • Knowledge management tools to facilitate problem resolution, alarm triggering, transferring knowledge from one process or product variant to another and early detection based on lessons learnt, previous alarm activations, trends, etc.
  • On-line inspection Tools for understanding, monitoring, analysis and real-time fault diagnosis of industrial process operation and product quality.
  • Development of system-level zero-defect strategies to prevent the generation of defects at single stage level and propagation of defects to downstream stages.
  • Distributed on-line data gathering systems and on-line defect management policies.
  • Inter-stage information and part flow control strategies and selective inspection policies.

Activities are expected to focus on Technology Readiness Levels 5 to 7 and to be centred around TRL6.This topic addresses cross-KET activities.

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU between EUR 4 and 6 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

Expected Impact:

The developed zero-defect strategies at system level should lead to a significant impact in the following terms:

  • Achievement of zero defects in a multi-stage production line
  • Reduction of production costs by 15%
  • Increased production flexibility. Higher production rates by 15%
  • Reduction of waste and scrap by 10%
  • Wide adoption of the new strategies in the existing manufacturing systems.

Proposals should include a business case and exploitation strategy, as outlined in the Introduction to the LEIT part of this Work Programme.

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