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Interoperability of the future factory: an overview of concepts and research challenges

Xu, Lai; Vrieze, Paul De; Yu, Hongnian; Phalp, Keith; Bai, Yuewei


Lai Xu

Paul De Vrieze

Keith Phalp

Yuewei Bai


Interoperability is a key factor in implementing a virtual factory. In European Union context interoperability is the ability of organisations to interact towards mutually beneficial goals, involving the sharing of information and knowledge between these organisations, through the business processes they support, by means of the exchange of data between their ICT systems. Interoperability of virtual factory synthesizes software components, application solutions, business processes and business context throughout the diversified, heterogeneous, autonomous procedure, assembled from multiple independent factories or smart/digital factory networks. EU H2020 “vF Interoperation suppoRting buSiness innovaTion”(FIRST) aims to provide new technology and methodologies to describe manufacturing assets; to compose and integrate existing services into collaborative virtual manufacturing processes; and to deal with evolution of changes. As a part of research results of the FIRST project, we present a comprehensive review on basic concepts of factories of the future, ie smart factory, digital factory, and virtual factory. The relationships among smart factory, digital factory and virtual factory are studied. In this paper, we define virtual factory interoperability and outline the research challenges related to interoperability of virtual factory.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Mar 10, 2020
Online Publication Date Jul 4, 2022
Publication Date 2020
Deposit Date Jun 17, 2022
Journal International Journal of Mechatronics and Manufacturing Systems
Print ISSN 1753-1039
Electronic ISSN 1753-1047
Publisher Inderscience
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 13
Issue 1
Pages 3-27
Keywords interoperability, virtual factory, digital factory, factories of the future, industry 4.0
Public URL