Issue #4 - published by the ebbits project - June, 2014

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A platform supporting many-to-many relations


The ebbits project has applied for a 6-month project extension to further develop the end-to-end business applications in both the manufacturing and food traceability domains.

- One of the main new features that we want to implement is the support of the many-to-many relationship on one platform which can handle both the one-to-many relation in food traceability and the many-to-one relation in car manufacturing, explains Project Coordinator Markus Eisenhauer from Fraunhofer Institute, FIT.

Whereas the food traceability chain follows an one-to-many relationship as shown in figure 1 below, the manufacturing environment addresses the many-to-one traceability as shown in figure 2.

The ebbits project aims to overcome the limitations inherent in the contrasting scenarios by introducing a many-to-many relationship between items along the chain.

- Generalising the architecture in this way will allow it to address the many-to-many relationships between actors and sources of information which compose a generic traceability chain, Markus Eisenhauer explains.

The concept of many-to-many networks

In figure 3, the concept of many-to-many relations is outlined, describing a complex traceability scenario that includes items at various levels of the chain such as generic raw materials, intermediate products and final products. The different processes are considered, including production, transportation, distribution and purchase/usage of the goods. And the actors are portrayed according to their different position in the chain and their interest in receiving specific traceability information.

- The ebbits platform will support these complex interactions by managing a wide range of heterogeneous tags, devices, sensors, transponders, gateways and smart phones as well as sub-systems adopted in the various processes of the chain, says Markus Eisenhauer and continues:

- All tags and devices will be digitally represented as entities thus virtualizing all items in the chain. All the processes and the other sources of information will be abstracted as entities. In the resulting virtualized traceability chain, specific ebbits components will collect and harmonize data, perform data mining and knowledge extraction and finally correlate items, processes and other sources of information. In such a framework, novel context-aware value-added services may be easily created.

Demonstrating recall procedures and ratings

The traceability demonstrator will be extended with integration and implementation of traceability information regarding two food products consisting of ingredients from several sources.

- It will pose a real illustration of how to handle complex recall procedures for mixed products and it will illustrate how individual suppliers of ingredients can be rated, based on Big Data techniques applied to feedback from consumers, Markus Eisenhauer explains.

The aim is also to exchange some of the data simulators with real data sources. The demonstrator will be able to interact with a farm management system and with the National Cattle Database in Denmark in real time. Efforts will also be made to collect real time sensor data from transportation of animals and cut meat. Finally, the demonstrator will interact in real time with sensors at farm level.

Integration of new automation devices

New automation devices will be added to the automotive manufacturing demonstrator, extending the COMAU product line compliancy. The C4G robot controller interface will be extended with the integration of C5G and C5G-Open robot controllers. The integration of COMAU standard products will continue with further investigation and implementation starting from the area of transport systems, analysing the extension of the ebbits platform to COMAU Versa-Rolls and Accumulating Pallet Conveyors (APC).

- As for the food traceability application, activities related to life cycle management will also be extended to the automotive domain. In particular, we will demonstrate the energy footprint of a car across the full production chain, from the single element to the final product, Markus Eisenhauer concludes.

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A busy June for ebbits

Results from ebbits were presented both at the Smart AgriMatics conference in Paris and at the IoT Week in London.

The Smart AgriMatics conference, which took place from 18-19th June 2014, focused on ICT and robotics applied to the food chain, including both the early stages of production as well as the later stages of processing, transportation and distribution to the end user.

ebbits partners Istituto Superiore Mario Boella were invited to present the current results from the food traceability scenario, demonstrating how ebbits works towards full transparency for the whole meat supply chain.

See the slides presented by Paolo Brizzi for The ebbits project: from the Internet of Things to Food Traceability, in the session 5.2 Meat Provenance Information.

Smart AgriMatics 2014 has been jointly organised by the EU funded projects eFoodChain, FIspace and ICT-AGRI with the mission to establish a point of contact between users, developers, researchers and stakeholders in the agri-food ecosystem.

The conference was visited by experts and operators, hardware and software vendors, government organisations and research institutes. There where numerous sessions and discussion topics covering: Smart farming, future internet service infrastructures, supply chain event management, smart food awareness and apps for the agri-food business.

Slides are available on the conference website: Smart AgriMatics.

IoT Week once again

The IoT Week is the pre-eminent event on IoT, originated from the European IoT Research Cluster and featuring the latest developments from industry and research.

ebbits was presented by Claudio Pastrone and Maria Teresa Delgado from partners ISMB in the workshop on IoT Innovation: From application scenarios and pilots to deployments.

The session was organised and managed by ISMB as part of the activities of the IERC Activity Chain 03 (Application scenarios, Pilots and Innovation), which aims to give visibility to and disseminate similar type of results from a wider set of EU collaborative projects. The session focused on project results that can be considered mature and on the importance of international research collaborations.

It is the third IoT Week that ebbits has attended. Visit the IoT Website


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