Special Issue "Process Industry 4.0: Application Research to Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs)"

A special issue of Processes (ISSN 2227-9717). This special issue belongs to the section "Other Topics".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 March 2019)

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Dr. Ilaria Zambon

Department of Agricultural and Forestry scieNcEs (DAFNE), University of Tuscia, Via S. Camillo de Lellis, SNC, 01100 Viterbo, Italy
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Interests: territorial planning; renewable energy, GIS technologies
Guest Editor
Dr. Gianluca Egidi

SEA, Via S. Camillo de Lellis, SNC, 01100 Viterbo, Italy
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Interests: renewable energy; Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises
Guest Editor
Dr. Fabiano Rinaldi

Centro Ricerche e Studi dei Laghi, Corso di Porta Vittoria, 31, 20122 Milano, Italy
Website | E-Mail
Interests: agricultural mechanics and mechanization; renewable energy, safety and health
Guest Editor
Dr. Sirio Cividino

Department of Agricultural, Food, Environmental and Animal Sciences, University of Udine, via delle Scienze 206, 33100 Udine, Italy
Website | E-Mail
Interests: agricultural mechanics and mechanization; renewable energy, safety and health

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Industry 4.0 defines the digital revolution in industrial production, developing from the wide-ranging networking and computerization of all areas of production. Equipment, materials, machinery and products can detect processing status and environmental settings through sensors, connect with each other via fixed software and, therefore, improve production processes in a unique way. Furthermore, digital revolution in the production and value creation process reveal new challenges to enterprises. Firms should develop strategies (i) to exploit the innovative opportunities of digitalization; (ii) to expand processes; and (iii) to develop new business models. Given this framework, a good political, legal and infrastructural framework is also necessary to allow businesses to rise to the challenge of Industry 4.0. Although large companies can anticipate the risks of digitalization for their own business models, and have introduced innovation processes, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) may be in difficulty. The reasons are multiple; therefore, the purpose is to improve the framework settings, to support structures to facilitate SMEs to meet the challenges of Industry 4.0, and to use the benefits and chances of the fourth industrial revolution.

In parallel with such backgrounds, the outlines of sustainable development must also be followed. For instance, consideration of environmental and energy issues is crucial. Inside the sector of Industry 4.0, “Smart Energy” can be defined as a level of new energy supply systems, focusing on monitoring consumption. These measures make infrastructure more efficient, cheaper and greener. In addition, in the agricultural sector, Industry 4.0 merges with Agriculture 4.0, facilitating technological evolution and refining the activities of Precision Agriculture, as a strategy that is experiencing a second life thanks to the full development of technologies, creating value for all actors in the supply chain thanks to the intelligent use of data. Integrating Agriculture 4.0 with energy efficiency, the increasing demand for energy and related environmental concerns are key drivers for the interest in biomass residues in the agro-forestry sector and in suitable small-scale energy adaptation. Biomass residues (such as prunings, thinnings and forest residues) constitute a promising feed stock with the potential to be converted into convenient end products. In addition to Industry 4.0, there is also the issue of safety in the workplace, which very often remains a borderline theme. Industry 4.0 must also be innovative for these matters, which are essential for operators, guaranteeing their safety during the work process.

The present Special Issue proposal has the overall aim of developing a network around application research to facilitate SMEs to meet the challenge of Industry 4.0. Several targets will be addressed: (i) to define a system of growth based on sustainable development; (ii) to apply the fourth industrial revolution in all economic sectors, primarily in SMEs from industry to agriculture, always guaranteeing the best level of safety for work. In the latter sector, specific attention is paid even promoting energy efficiency and production improvement processes. Furthermore, with this Special Issue, another purpose is to identify best practice and strategies that all stakeholders must adopt. The role of policymakers is crucial for improving a suitable framework setting to support SMEs in Industry 4.0. The final purpose of the present Special Issue is to publish high-quality research contributions, addressing recent advances on systems, technologies, processes, and materials for SMEs. Original and high-quality research papers and review articles, which have not yet been published, or that are not currently under review by other journals or peer-reviewed conferences, are welcome.

Dr. Ilaria Zambon
Dr. Gianluca Egidi
Dr. Fabiano Rinaldi
Dr. Sirio Cividino
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Processes is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1100 CHF (Swiss Francs). Please note that for papers submitted after 30 June 2019 an APC of 1200 CHF applies. Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Industry 4.0
  • Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs)
  • renewable energy
  • job safety
  • sustainable development
  • technologies, industrial processes
  • agro-forestry system

Published Papers (22 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle
Standardizing Innovation Management: An Opportunity for SMEs in the Aerospace Industry
Processes 2019, 7(5), 282; https://doi.org/10.3390/pr7050282
Received: 29 March 2019 / Revised: 6 May 2019 / Accepted: 6 May 2019 / Published: 13 May 2019
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Abstract
In a globalized marketplace, the competition in the aerospace industry has increased significantly. Producers can choose between many suppliers. These suppliers have to comply with more requirements and technical specifications, as well as take on greater responsibilities that originally fell on producers. In [...] Read more.
In a globalized marketplace, the competition in the aerospace industry has increased significantly. Producers can choose between many suppliers. These suppliers have to comply with more requirements and technical specifications, as well as take on greater responsibilities that originally fell on producers. In this context, business opportunities for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are limited, but still suppliers must try to leverage the maximum strategic advantage of the few that present. Adopting research, development and innovation (R+D+i) practices has proven to bring great benefits to companies and allows them to gain significant competitive advantages. However, the process of designing, implementing and testing R+D+i-related processes is not straightforward, nor it has been addressed in the recent research on SMEs. In this paper, a case study of a Spanish innovative small company providing industrial metrology and quality services is analyzed. Thanks to an internal decision-making process, an R+D+i management system based on the UNE 166.002:2014 standard is eventually adopted. A pilot project is closely followed up to test the robustness of the system implementation. The R+D+i management system has allowed the company to streamline its innovation activities, establish objectives to better allocate essential resources, organize high performing innovation units within the organization structure, increase the clients’ confidence, improve the company’s competitiveness, carry out technological surveillance, and get more patented technology, among many others. Adoption steps taken by this SME are generalizable to other SMEs from other industries and show how an R+D+i management system can be chosen, designed, implemented and tested in the context of Industry 4.0 (I4.0). Full article
Open AccessArticle
Resource and Information Access for SME Sustainability in the Era of IR 4.0: The Mediating and Moderating Roles of Innovation Capability and Management Commitment
Processes 2019, 7(4), 211; https://doi.org/10.3390/pr7040211
Received: 12 March 2019 / Revised: 6 April 2019 / Accepted: 8 April 2019 / Published: 12 April 2019
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Abstract
In the era of industrial revolution 4.0 (IR 4.0), sustainability has been a serious challenge of contemporary small and medium enterprises (SMEs). Using Natural Resource-Based-View (NRBV), the current paper examines the moderated mediation model of the role of information access in the sustainability [...] Read more.
In the era of industrial revolution 4.0 (IR 4.0), sustainability has been a serious challenge of contemporary small and medium enterprises (SMEs). Using Natural Resource-Based-View (NRBV), the current paper examines the moderated mediation model of the role of information access in the sustainability of SMEs, through the mediating role of access to resource and innovation capability in the relationship between information access and sustainability, and the moderating role of management commitment in the relationship between innovation capability and SME sustainability. This paper gathered data from 222 SMEs in Pakistan. The study used a purposive sampling technique to distribute the survey questionnaire. Smart-PLS software was used to analyze the data. The study finding indicates that access to information affects both sustainability and innovation capability. Moreover, access to resources affects innovation capability, though it did not affect SME sustainability. Furthermore, innovation capability mediates the relationship between access to resources, access to information, and SME sustainability. Additionally, management commitment moderates the relationship between access to information and innovation capability; however, it does not moderate the relationship between access to resources and innovation capability. Practical, theoretical, and methodological implications are discussed in the study. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Effective Dynamic Control Strategy of a Key Supplier with Multiple Downstream Manufacturers Using Industrial Internet of Things and Cloud System
Processes 2019, 7(3), 172; https://doi.org/10.3390/pr7030172
Received: 10 February 2019 / Revised: 20 March 2019 / Accepted: 20 March 2019 / Published: 24 March 2019
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Abstract
Intelligent data analytics-based cloud computing is a leading trend for managing a large-scale network in contemporary manufacturing environments. The data and information are shared using the cloud environments and valuable knowledge is driven using the embedded intelligence analytics. This research applied this trend [...] Read more.
Intelligent data analytics-based cloud computing is a leading trend for managing a large-scale network in contemporary manufacturing environments. The data and information are shared using the cloud environments and valuable knowledge is driven using the embedded intelligence analytics. This research applied this trend to the control of a key supplier’s real-time production planning for solving joint production goals with downstream producers. As a key supplier has several downstream producers in general, several uncertainties are embedded on the supply chain network such as the quality issue in the supplier and the occurrence of unexpected orders from the downstream industries. While the control of a supply plan is difficult considering these dynamics in traditional frameworks, the proposed framework detects the dynamic changes accurately using the constructed cloud system. Moreover, the real-time control considering uncertain scenarios as well as the extracted knowledge is achieved using the provided Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and simulation-based control model using stochastic network. To show the effective of the suggested framework, real manufacturing cases and their numerical analyses are provided. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Evaluation of the Difficulties in the Internet of Things (IoT) with Multi-Criteria Decision-Making
Processes 2019, 7(3), 164; https://doi.org/10.3390/pr7030164
Received: 17 February 2019 / Revised: 8 March 2019 / Accepted: 11 March 2019 / Published: 20 March 2019
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Abstract
The rapid development of technology has increased the desire of all to be on the Internet. The discovery that objects born of the Internet communicate with each other without external factors revealed, with the fourth industrial revolution, the concept of the Internet of [...] Read more.
The rapid development of technology has increased the desire of all to be on the Internet. The discovery that objects born of the Internet communicate with each other without external factors revealed, with the fourth industrial revolution, the concept of the Internet of Things (IoT). The communication of objects with each other means minimum labor and minimum cost for enterprises. Enterprises that want to transition to the Internet of Things face many difficulties. Identifying and correcting these difficulties can lead to both lost time and high cost. In this study, we investigated the difficulties encountered in the Internet of Things. As a result of the study, the degree of importance of the factors causing these difficulties was determined by multi-criteria decision-making methods and was presented to the enterprises. The main criteria, and the sub-criteria related to these main criteria, were determined. The main purpose of the enterprises transitioning to Industry 4.0 is the communication of things with each other. In this study, we aimed to determine which criteria caused difficulties in the transition to Industry 4.0. Then, the degree of importance of the criteria was determined using the analytic hierarchy process (AHP) and analytic network process (ANP) methods, in the multi-criteria decision-making. Through the study, we determined which criteria should be taken into consideration by the enterprises that want to transition to the Internet of Things. In this way, enterprises will be able to accelerate that transition by minimizing time and monetary loss. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Evaluating the Factors that are Affecting the Implementation of Industry 4.0 Technologies in Manufacturing MSMEs, the Case of Peru
Processes 2019, 7(3), 161; https://doi.org/10.3390/pr7030161
Received: 19 February 2019 / Revised: 6 March 2019 / Accepted: 11 March 2019 / Published: 15 March 2019
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Abstract
The micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) sector plays a very crucial role in the economic and social development of Peru. Unfortunately, the tough access to the use of technologies is one of the weaknesses of this type of enterprises, which implies a [...] Read more.
The micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) sector plays a very crucial role in the economic and social development of Peru. Unfortunately, the tough access to the use of technologies is one of the weaknesses of this type of enterprises, which implies a low technological intensity production, according to the new technological trends. This study analyzes the factors that are affecting the implementation of Industry 4.0 technologies in Peruvian micro, small, and medium enterprises. According to the findings from the semi-structured interviews, it has identified four factors that respond to the main question of this research—lack of advanced technology, lack of financial investment, poor management vision, and lack of skilled workers. Data from 49 enterprises from the manufacturing sector were used for the assessment. The surveys conducted on business managers were evaluated using a multi-criterion decision-making method by the analytic hierarchy process. The findings of the study generate some recommendations that could be beneficial for the sectors involved with micro, small, and medium enterprises in Peru. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Drivers and Barriers in Using Industry 4.0: A Perspective of SMEs in Romania
Processes 2019, 7(3), 153; https://doi.org/10.3390/pr7030153
Received: 22 February 2019 / Revised: 2 March 2019 / Accepted: 6 March 2019 / Published: 12 March 2019
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Abstract
Considering the worldwide evolutionary stage of Industry 4.0, this study wants to fill in a lack of information and decision-making, trying to answer a question about the level of preparation of Romanian Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) regarding the implementation of the new [...] Read more.
Considering the worldwide evolutionary stage of Industry 4.0, this study wants to fill in a lack of information and decision-making, trying to answer a question about the level of preparation of Romanian Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) regarding the implementation of the new technology. The main purpose of this article is to identify the opinions and perceptions of SME managers in Romania on the drivers and barriers of implementing Industry 4.0 technology for business development. The research method used in the study was analyzed by sampling using the questionnaire as a data collection tool. It includes closed questions, measured with a nominal and orderly scale. 176 managers provided complete and useful answers to this research. The collected data were analyzed with the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) package using frequency tables, contingency tables, and main component analysis. Major contributions from research have highlighted the fact that Romania is in a full transition process from industry 2.0 to industry 4.0. There was also a high level of knowledge of the new Industry 4.0 technology, and a desire to implement it in the Romanian SMEs, as well as the low level of resources needed to implement it. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Improvement of Temperature Control Performance of Thermoelectric Dehumidifier Used Industry 4.0 by the SF-PI Controller
Processes 2019, 7(2), 98; https://doi.org/10.3390/pr7020098
Received: 22 January 2019 / Revised: 8 February 2019 / Accepted: 11 February 2019 / Published: 15 February 2019
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Abstract
This paper proposes the series connected fuzzy-proportional integral (SF-PI) controller, which is composed of the fuzzy control and the PI controller to improve temperature control performance of dehumidifier using a thermoelectric element. The control of conventional PI controller usually uses fixed gain. For [...] Read more.
This paper proposes the series connected fuzzy-proportional integral (SF-PI) controller, which is composed of the fuzzy control and the PI controller to improve temperature control performance of dehumidifier using a thermoelectric element. The control of conventional PI controller usually uses fixed gain. For that reason, it is limited in achieving satisfactory control performance in both transient-state and steady-state. The fuzzy control within SF-PI controller adjusts the input value of PI controller according to operating condition. The PI controller within the SF-PI controller controls the temperature of the thermoelectric element using that value. The SF-PI controller can achieve more accurate temperature control than a conventional PI controller for that reason. The SF-PI controller has been tested for various indoor environmental conditions such as temperature and relative humidity conditions. The average temperature error of the SF-PI controller between the reference temperature and the thermoelectric element temperature is 22% of traditional PI’s value and consumption power is reduced by about 10%. Therefore, the SF-PI controller proposed in this paper can improved the performance of temperature control of dehumidifier using thermoelectric element. The power consumed by buildings accounts for a significant portion of the total power consumption, of which the air conditioner represents the largest energy consumer. In this paper, it is possible to reduce the energy consumption by improving the performance of the dehumidifier, one of the air conditioners, and it can be applied to various control fields in the future. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Agent-Based Simulation of Value Flow in an Industrial Production Process
Processes 2019, 7(2), 82; https://doi.org/10.3390/pr7020082
Received: 15 December 2018 / Revised: 2 February 2019 / Accepted: 3 February 2019 / Published: 7 February 2019
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Abstract
The current competitive environment demands companies to be more and more efficient. In order to increase manufacturing efficiency, two apparently independent approaches have emerged: lean strategies, focusing on identifying and minimizing non-added value activities, identifying wastes in the system and their elimination, and [...] Read more.
The current competitive environment demands companies to be more and more efficient. In order to increase manufacturing efficiency, two apparently independent approaches have emerged: lean strategies, focusing on identifying and minimizing non-added value activities, identifying wastes in the system and their elimination, and information tools for planning and controlling activities. In this paper, a manufacturing system was considered for which it was necessary to increase the production capacity in order to respond to the customer’s increased demand. A practical case study in the automotive industry for a medium-sized enterprise was considered. In order to investigate the production process parameters and to implement lean principles, Value Stream Mapping (current analysis and optimized solution) and Anylogic agent-based simulations were carried out. Based on this, the lean performances, specific for the target VSM, were evaluated in terms of key performance indicators. The benefits of integrating agent-based simulation in the design and analysis of the value flow in the production chain are the capitalization of the information offered by Value Stream Mapping and the possibility to choose the best one from the possible scenarios. It generates important time and cost reductions without further resource waste. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Optimal Operating Schedule for Energy Storage System: Focusing on Efficient Energy Management for Microgrid
Processes 2019, 7(2), 80; https://doi.org/10.3390/pr7020080
Received: 24 September 2018 / Revised: 26 December 2018 / Accepted: 28 December 2018 / Published: 6 February 2019
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Abstract
A microgrid is a group of many small-scale distributed energy resources, such as solar/wind energy sources, diesel generators, energy storage units, and electric loads. As a small-scale power grid, it can be operated independently or within an existing power grid(s). The microgrid energy [...] Read more.
A microgrid is a group of many small-scale distributed energy resources, such as solar/wind energy sources, diesel generators, energy storage units, and electric loads. As a small-scale power grid, it can be operated independently or within an existing power grid(s). The microgrid energy management system is a system that controls these components to achieve optimized operation in terms of price by reducing costs and maximizing efficiency in energy consumption. A post-Industry-4.0 consumer requires an optimal design and control of energy storage based on a demand forecast, using big data to stably supply clean, new, and renewable energy when necessary while maintaining a consistent level of quality. Thus, this study focused on software technology through which an optimized operation schedule for energy storage in a microgrid is derived. This energy storage operation schedule minimizes the costs involved in electricity use. For this, an optimization technique is used that sets an objective function representing the information and costs pertaining to electricity use, while minimizing its value by using Mixed Integer Linear Programming or a Genetic Algorithm. The main feature of the software is that an optimal operation schedule derivation function has been implemented with MATLAB for the following circumstances: when the basic operation rules are applied, when operating with another grid, when the external operating conditions are applied, and when the internal operating conditions are applied. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Analysis of the Difficulties of SMEs in Industry 4.0 Applications by Analytical Hierarchy Process and Analytical Network Process
Processes 2018, 6(12), 264; https://doi.org/10.3390/pr6120264
Received: 6 November 2018 / Revised: 8 December 2018 / Accepted: 10 December 2018 / Published: 12 December 2018
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (726 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The concept of Industry 4.0 is seen as a recent paradigm in the manufacturing sector. The use of new production and management technologies required by the concept of Industry 4.0 is very important for small enterprises in order to keep up with the [...] Read more.
The concept of Industry 4.0 is seen as a recent paradigm in the manufacturing sector. The use of new production and management technologies required by the concept of Industry 4.0 is very important for small enterprises in order to keep up with the competition. However, most enterprises look at these requirements in a negative way. This study analyzes the propulsion forces of Industry 4.0 adopted in small and medium enterprises. By analyzing the difficulties in the transition process of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to Industry 4.0, the company contributes to the determination of strategic steps taking these results into consideration. This will facilitate the transition of enterprises to Industry 4.0 and progress can be made towards efficient use of resources. A hierarchical structure was established under the four main criteria of innovation, organization, environmental, and financial aspects, and the relative weight of these criteria and sub-criteria were calculated. The surveys conducted on business managers were evaluated using multi-criteria decision-making methods by the analytic hierarchy process method and the analytic network process. At the same time, the interaction between these criteria was taken into consideration and the criteria were re-evaluated by the analytical network process method. The results of the two methods seem to support each other. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Business Model Innovation of Industry 4.0 Solution Providers Towards Customer Process Innovation
Processes 2018, 6(12), 260; https://doi.org/10.3390/pr6120260
Received: 27 November 2018 / Accepted: 6 December 2018 / Published: 10 December 2018
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (284 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The article investigates the role of business model innovation by Industry 4.0 solution providers and their impact on process innovation of their customers. Industry 4.0 solution providers are hereby seen as the enablers and providers of Industry 4.0 technologies, which provide access to [...] Read more.
The article investigates the role of business model innovation by Industry 4.0 solution providers and their impact on process innovation of their customers. Industry 4.0 solution providers are hereby seen as the enablers and providers of Industry 4.0 technologies, which provide access to several potentials of Industry 4.0 technologies to their customers. In particular, the role of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that provide solutions that are based on Industry 4.0 technologies for their customers are investigated, which in turn can improve and innovate their own processes. Frist, the article presents an overview of the current state of research and a brief theoretical background. Second, the article bases its findings on an empirical study of 111 Industry 4.0 providers from Germany that are SMEs. Analyzing the results of questionnaires, correlations between Industry 4.0 solutions and two perspectives are examined: benefits for the solution providers and benefits for process improvements and innovations of the customers. Subsequently, the article discusses these findings, closing the article with both managerial and research implications. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Time-Based Trend of Carbon Emissions in the Composting Process of Swine Manure in the Context of Agriculture 4.0
Processes 2018, 6(9), 168; https://doi.org/10.3390/pr6090168
Received: 17 August 2018 / Revised: 8 September 2018 / Accepted: 11 September 2018 / Published: 15 September 2018
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (2003 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The widespread raising of swine in farms becomes a serious problem in terms of the emission of carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4). This study aims to measure concentrations of carbon dioxide and methane, which account for the largest [...] Read more.
The widespread raising of swine in farms becomes a serious problem in terms of the emission of carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4). This study aims to measure concentrations of carbon dioxide and methane, which account for the largest percentage of carbon emissions, to temporally estimate the carbon emitted during the pig-manure composting process. The research subject was a farmhouse raising 3000 growing pigs and 100 mother pigs. The capacity of the composting facility for pig manure treatment was 330 m2, and the daily treatment was about 6 tons. After the pig manure discharged from the pig farm was delivered to the composting facility, for the 8 days including 6 before mixing and 2 after mixing, the concentrations of CO2 and CH4 were measured. The result shows that the CO2 and CH4 concentrations in the composting facility were 1208 ± 385 ppm and 95 ± 10 ppm, respectively. In the comparison of concentrations before and after mixing at the composting facility, the values of both CO2 and CH4 increased, and the temperature increased as well. The concentration of CO2 and CH4 increased to 499 ± 103 ppm and 3 ± 11 ppm, respectively, and the temperature rose by 3.7 ± 1.0 °C and 1.6 ± 2.4 °C, respectively. In the correlation analysis (r = 0, p < 0.05), the carbon dioxide emission in the composting process was 15.564 ± 3.671 tons C/year, whereas carbon emission was 1.379 ± 0.147 tons C/year. The concentrations of CO2 and methane, which are the current major atmospheric pollution sources, were respectively analyzed during the pig-manure composting process in this study to understand their effects. Thus, this paper attempts to elucidate the carbon cycle by measuring and analyzing the carbon data obtained from livestock excretions to secure a supply chain based on the intelligent use of the data. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Simulation and Test Bed of a Low-Power Digital Excitation System for Industry 4.0
Processes 2018, 6(9), 145; https://doi.org/10.3390/pr6090145
Received: 18 July 2018 / Revised: 24 August 2018 / Accepted: 25 August 2018 / Published: 1 September 2018
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (13561 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Since modeling and simulation are the two most effective tools that can be used in the design or analysis process, they play a vital role in developing such system. In many cases, they are the only possible means of making a safe engineering [...] Read more.
Since modeling and simulation are the two most effective tools that can be used in the design or analysis process, they play a vital role in developing such system. In many cases, they are the only possible means of making a safe engineering decision for a new concept of process for a large-scale system. Elsewhere, they are used as a critical element in the analysis of energy systems or to suggest a method of developing a novel and effective energy system model. Thus, in this study, simulations and test bed experiment were carried out to assess a low-power digital excitation system in order to validate its effectiveness. The excitation systems currently used by most of the power stations in the Republic of Korea were installed during the 1970s or 1980s. Unfortunately, it is difficult to seek technical assistance for them as they depend on foreign technologies, requiring a large sum to be paid when requesting one or more engineers to be dispatched. As such, technical updates have always been made by foreign companies, since it is not easy to make modifications to the system without the help of the original system developer. The technology developed in this study was designed to address such problem. The inability to conduct a test for an actual system can be solved by using a power system analysis program to analyze the characteristics of the controller. The study confirmed the system’s effectiveness, and the Test Bed was proven to be flexible and adequate for the experiment. The proposed excitation system is expected to increase the stability and economic effect of the system by optimizing existing systems. In the future, the authors plan to focus on student education by establishing an education system that allows students to learn about the digital excitation system and its simulation. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Design and Implementation of an Optimal Travel Route Recommender System on Big Data for Tourists in Jeju
Processes 2018, 6(8), 133; https://doi.org/10.3390/pr6080133
Received: 24 July 2018 / Revised: 7 August 2018 / Accepted: 8 August 2018 / Published: 17 August 2018
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (5526 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
A recommender system is currently applied in many different domains, seeking to provide users with recommendation services according to their personalized preferences to relieve rising online information congestion. As the number of mobile phone users is large and growing, mobile tourist guides have [...] Read more.
A recommender system is currently applied in many different domains, seeking to provide users with recommendation services according to their personalized preferences to relieve rising online information congestion. As the number of mobile phone users is large and growing, mobile tourist guides have attracted considerable research interest in recent years. In this paper, we propose an optimal travel route recommender system by analyzing the data history of previous users. The open dataset used covers the travel data from thousands of mobile tourists who visited Jeju in a full year. Our approach is not only personalized to users’ preferences but also able to recommend a travel route rather than individual POIs (Points of Interest). An association rule mining-based approach, which takes into account contextual information (date, season and places already visited by previous users), is used to produce travel routes from the large dataset. Furthermore, to ensure the reasonability of the recommendation, a genetic algorithm optimization approach is proposed to find the optimal route among them. Finally, a mobile tourist case study is implemented in order to verify the feasibility and applicability of the proposed system. This application embeds a graphic map for plotting the travel route and provides detailed information of each travel spot as well. The results of this work indicate that the proposed system has great potential for travel planning preparation for mobile users. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Underground Risk Index Assessment and Prediction Using a Simplified Hierarchical Fuzzy Logic Model and Kalman Filter
Processes 2018, 6(8), 103; https://doi.org/10.3390/pr6080103
Received: 12 June 2018 / Revised: 19 July 2018 / Accepted: 20 July 2018 / Published: 29 July 2018
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (7041 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Normally, most of the accidents that occur in underground facilities are not instantaneous; rather, hazards build up gradually behind the scenes and are invisible due to the inherent structure of these facilities. An efficient inference system is highly desirable to monitor these facilities [...] Read more.
Normally, most of the accidents that occur in underground facilities are not instantaneous; rather, hazards build up gradually behind the scenes and are invisible due to the inherent structure of these facilities. An efficient inference system is highly desirable to monitor these facilities to avoid such accidents beforehand. A fuzzy inference system is a significant risk assessment method, but there are three critical challenges associated with fuzzy inference-based systems, i.e., rules determination, membership functions (MFs) distribution determination, and rules reduction to deal with the problem of dimensionality. In this paper, a simplified hierarchical fuzzy logic (SHFL) model has been suggested to assess underground risk while addressing the associated challenges. For rule determination, two new rule-designing and determination methods are introduced, namely average rules-based (ARB) and max rules-based (MRB). To determine efficient membership functions (MFs), a module named the heuristic-based membership functions allocation (HBMFA) module has been added to the conventional Mamdani fuzzy logic method. For rule reduction, a hierarchical fuzzy logic model with a distinct configuration has been proposed. In the simplified hierarchical fuzzy logic (SHFL) model, we have also tried to minimize rules as well as the number of levels of the hierarchical structure fuzzy logic model. After risk index assessment, the risk index prediction is carried out using a Kalman filter. The prediction of the risk index is significant because it could help caretakers to take preventive measures in time and prevent underground accidents. The results indicate that the suggested technique is an excellent choice for risk index assessment and prediction. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
An Adaptive Approach Based on Resource-Awareness Towards Power-Efficient Real-Time Periodic Task Modeling on Embedded IoT Devices
Processes 2018, 6(7), 90; https://doi.org/10.3390/pr6070090
Received: 10 June 2018 / Revised: 12 July 2018 / Accepted: 13 July 2018 / Published: 17 July 2018
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Abstract
Embedded devices are gaining popularity day by day due to the expanded use of Internet of Things applications. However, these embedded devices have limited capabilities concerning power and memory. Thus, the applications need to be tailored in such a way to perform the [...] Read more.
Embedded devices are gaining popularity day by day due to the expanded use of Internet of Things applications. However, these embedded devices have limited capabilities concerning power and memory. Thus, the applications need to be tailored in such a way to perform the specified tasks within the constrained resources with the same accuracy. In Real-Time task scheduling, one of the challenging factors is the intelligent modelling of input tasks in such a way that it produces not only logically correct output within the deadline but also consumes minimum CPU power. Algorithms like Rate Monotonic and Earliest Deadline First compute hyper-period of input tasks for periodic repetition of the same set of tasks on CPU. However, at times when the tasks are not adequately modelled, they lead to an enormously high value of hyper-period which result in more CPU cycles and power consumption. Many state-of-the-art solutions are presented in this regard, but the main problem is that they limit tasks from having all possible period values; however, with the vision of Industry 4.0, where most of the tasks will be doing some critical manufacturing activities, it is highly discouraged to prevent them of a certain period. In this paper, we present a resource-aware approach to minimise the hyper-period of input tasks based on device profiles and allows tasks of every possible period value to admit. The proposed work is compared with similar existing techniques, and results indicate significant improvements regarding power consumptions. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Effect of Cooperation on Manufacturing IT Project Development and Test Bed for Successful Industry 4.0 Project: Safety Management for Security
Processes 2018, 6(7), 88; https://doi.org/10.3390/pr6070088
Received: 28 June 2018 / Revised: 7 July 2018 / Accepted: 8 July 2018 / Published: 11 July 2018
Cited by 7 | PDF Full-text (5845 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
A new direction of the 4th industrial revolution in manufacturing and IT industries is presented in this study, wherein the manufacturing sector will be able to survive in this period by achieving rapid and flexible change through effective convergence between both industries. Under [...] Read more.
A new direction of the 4th industrial revolution in manufacturing and IT industries is presented in this study, wherein the manufacturing sector will be able to survive in this period by achieving rapid and flexible change through effective convergence between both industries. Under such an environment, manufacturing IT requires speedy development and a new distribution form, as well as a new method of IT project development which is adequate for that form. Thus, this study compares and analyzes the waterfall method which is being used in general manufacturing System Integration (SI) projects and the proposed DevOps method, which requires faster distribution and improvement. This study confirms that the required human resources are less than the existing SI projects when system improvement is made using the DevOps method. At the same time, this method provides much-improved quality for the same price. Therefore, future manufacturing IT projects would achieve a faster and more efficient development and operation form by adopting the DevOps method to perform continuous and repetitive improvement and operation through the convergence of manufacturing and IT. Also, some of the current smart factory models can be found in several ICT (Information & Communication Technology) advanced countries, and they have actually increased the efficiency in their factories and generated much value-added business. As with the production facilities, materials, and methods, human resource management occupies an important role in the smart factory system to increase efficiency. This study aims to validate such logic by proving the effectiveness of a Bluetooth beacon-based worker positioning system by which workers’ safety can be secured along with the security of the factory itself. This system can be foundational to establishing a safer working environment by controlling accesses to the critical production facilities and determining their whereabouts in case of an accident. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Applied Research for a Safer Future: Exploring Recent Job Accidents in Agriculture, Italy (2012–2017)
Processes 2018, 6(7), 87; https://doi.org/10.3390/pr6070087
Received: 6 June 2018 / Revised: 2 July 2018 / Accepted: 6 July 2018 / Published: 9 July 2018
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (2040 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The issue of “safe working” has received increasing concern in recent years worldwide, especially in Europe. Several European countries developed specific strategies to ensure the safety of operators and the awareness on the potential risks that can emerge from a vast set of [...] Read more.
The issue of “safe working” has received increasing concern in recent years worldwide, especially in Europe. Several European countries developed specific strategies to ensure the safety of operators and the awareness on the potential risks that can emerge from a vast set of activities, including field activity in agriculture. Earlier investigations have lately investigated this topic, proposing quali-quantitative analysis applied to specific economic sectors. The present study focused on the working accidents occurred in agriculture over the last 6 years (2012–2017) in Italy. By exploring where and when injuries occurred, the socio-demographic profile of involved persons (including age, gender, nationality) and correlating these episodes to agricultural practices, the present paper reveals intrinsic patterns of safe (or unsafe) working conditions at a quite detailed spatial scale (administrative provinces) in Italy. Based on these results, training/educational programs should be planned to increase awareness of risks involving workers in agriculture. Future scenarios can be explored based on specific information dealing with risk factors and operating conditions at various working sites with the final objective to establish suitable technical, legislative and operational measures to reduce job accidents. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
A Cost-Effective Redundant Digital Excitation Control System and Test Bed Experiment for Safe Power Supply for Process Industry 4.0
Processes 2018, 6(7), 85; https://doi.org/10.3390/pr6070085
Received: 13 June 2018 / Revised: 22 June 2018 / Accepted: 27 June 2018 / Published: 3 July 2018
Cited by 7 | PDF Full-text (10100 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Recently, the energy demand and supply situation in the Republic of Korea (ROK) has been largely affected by the fluctuations in the energy markets around the world. Such a situation has provided a basis for requiring improvements to power plant facilities. The automatic [...] Read more.
Recently, the energy demand and supply situation in the Republic of Korea (ROK) has been largely affected by the fluctuations in the energy markets around the world. Such a situation has provided a basis for requiring improvements to power plant facilities. The automatic generator voltage control systems in large-scale power plants are adopting a rapid-response static excitation method to improve the transient stability. A domestic commercially developed large-scale triple-redundant excitation system is currently operated by the 1000 MW-class nuclear power plant and its efficiency has been verified at the same site. However, such a system is too costly for smaller power plants so that a reliable and low-cost redundant digital excitation control system was developed and introduced in this study to resolve the cost problem. The system has improved its stability and reliability at the same time through double (redundant) configuration. Additionally, the system’s performance was put to the test by conducting a series of control function tests after applying it to the gas turbine used in a thermal power station. This study includes the development of system hardware, simulations as well as on-site experiments and each element was validated as a result. Also, the study discusses and validates the method used for replacing the protective relays at the Kanudi power plant operating in Papua New Guinea. The replacement of 27 and 81 protective relays at the existing power plant was carried out as they did not function properly. New relays were installed after removing the power supply in the existing panel. The individual power output sections of new relays were connected in parallel with the existing properly functioning relays, as previous protective relays had only allowed monitoring without outputting the contents. Thus, the new protective system was designed to enable both existing and new relays to carry out the detection function. It was validated that the replacement was successful. The new system with the new relays is performing properly by protecting its power generator and preventing further accidents. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Design of a Shipboard Outside Communication Network and Its Testbed Using PLC: For Safety Management during the Ship Building Process
Processes 2018, 6(6), 67; https://doi.org/10.3390/pr6060067
Received: 30 April 2018 / Revised: 22 May 2018 / Accepted: 23 May 2018 / Published: 1 June 2018
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (9351 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
For the shipbuilding industry worldwide, work-related accidents at the construction site have been a major concern. Workers at the shipyards are consistently exposed to dangerous environments and their intensity of work is quite high. Considering the complexity of the shipbuilding process, efficient communications [...] Read more.
For the shipbuilding industry worldwide, work-related accidents at the construction site have been a major concern. Workers at the shipyards are consistently exposed to dangerous environments and their intensity of work is quite high. Considering the complexity of the shipbuilding process, efficient communications between workers are essential in the workplace, but current communication methods, which mostly use wireless technologies, are sometimes limited by the structural blocks, creating shadow areas where the radio bands cannot reach. As a countermeasure, SUNCOM Co., Ltd in the Republic of Korea has developed the PLC-based communication system followed by establishing a test-bed facility in cooperation with SK Telecom Co., Ltd and the Hyundai Heavy Industries Co., Ltd. This system and applied technologies are expected to reduce accidents in the field and be applied for other industries having the same problem, providing an uninterrupted communication environment and safer working conditions. The solution adopted this time can provide mobile communication services inside the ship during shipbuilding, thereby enabling rapid processing of work reports and instructions and fast responses to disaster occurrence, contributing to improvements in work efficiency in shipbuilding yards and ensuring workers’ safety. Full article
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Review

Jump to: Research

Open AccessFeature PaperReview
Multiscale and Multi-Granularity Process Analytics: A Review
Processes 2019, 7(2), 61; https://doi.org/10.3390/pr7020061
Received: 28 November 2018 / Revised: 18 January 2019 / Accepted: 18 January 2019 / Published: 24 January 2019
PDF Full-text (1972 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
As Industry 4.0 makes its course into the Chemical Processing Industry (CPI), new challenges emerge that require an adaptation of the Process Analytics toolkit. In particular, two recurring classes of problems arise, motivated by the growing complexity of systems on one hand, and [...] Read more.
As Industry 4.0 makes its course into the Chemical Processing Industry (CPI), new challenges emerge that require an adaptation of the Process Analytics toolkit. In particular, two recurring classes of problems arise, motivated by the growing complexity of systems on one hand, and increasing data throughput (i.e., the product of two well-known “V’s” from Big Data: Volume × Velocity) on the other. More specifically, as enabling IT technologies (IoT, smart sensors, etc.) enlarge the focus of analysis from the unit level to the entire plant or even to the supply chain level, the existence of relevant dynamics at multiple scales becomes a common pattern; therefore, multiscale methods are called for and must be applied in order to avoid biased analysis towards a certain scale, compromising the benefits from the balanced exploitation of the information content at all scales. Also, these same enabling technologies currently collect large volumes of data at high-sampling rates, creating a flood of digital information that needs to be properly handled; optimal data aggregation provides an efficient solution to this challenge, leading to the emergence of multi-granularity frameworks. In this article, an overview is presented on multiscale and multi-granularity methods that are likely to play an important role in the future of Process Analytics with respect to several common activities, such as data integration/fusion, de-noising, process monitoring and predictive modelling, among others. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperReview
Revolution 4.0: Industry vs. Agriculture in a Future Development for SMEs
Processes 2019, 7(1), 36; https://doi.org/10.3390/pr7010036
Received: 21 November 2018 / Revised: 4 January 2019 / Accepted: 8 January 2019 / Published: 11 January 2019
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (1905 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The present review retraces the steps of the industrial and agriculture revolution that have taken place up to the present day, giving ideas and considerations for the future. This paper analyses the specific challenges facing agriculture along the farming supply chain to permit [...] Read more.
The present review retraces the steps of the industrial and agriculture revolution that have taken place up to the present day, giving ideas and considerations for the future. This paper analyses the specific challenges facing agriculture along the farming supply chain to permit the operative implementation of Industry 4.0 guidelines. The subsequent scientific value is an investigation of how Industry 4.0 approaches can be improved and be pertinent to the agricultural sector. However, industry is progressing at a much faster rate than agriculture. In fact, already today experts talk about Industry 5.0. On the other hand, the 4.0 revolution in agriculture is still limited to a few innovative firms. For this reason, this work deals with how technological development affects different sectors (industry and agriculture) in different ways. In this innovative background, despite the advantages of industry or agriculture 4.0 for large enterprises, small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) often face complications in such innovative processes due to the continuous development in innovations and technologies. Policy makers should propose strategies, calls for proposals with aim of supporting SMEs to invest on these technologies and making them more competitive in the marketplace. Full article
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