Welcome to our interview series with the partners running Better Factory. Today we are lucky to be joined by one of our all-star team, César Toscano, to learn more about INESC TEC (Institute for Systems and Computer Engineering, Technology and Science), and their role in the project!

César Toscano is a Senior Researcher at INESC TEC, coordinating and participating in R&D projects in the Centre for Enterprise Systems Engineering. His main areas of work are Operations Management, Decision Support, Enterprise Collaborative Networks and Vertical Integration of Advanced Robotics.

Thank you for joining us today! Please could you give us a short introduction to INESC TEC, in your own words, and what your role is there? 

INESC TEC is a private non-profit research institution, dedicated to scientific research and technological development, technology transfer, advanced consulting and training, and pre-incubation of new technology-based companies. We are located in the North region of Portugal and we operate at the interface of the academic and business worlds. We typically apply the knowledge and results generated as part of our research in technology transfer projects, seeking value creation and immediate social relevance. 

At INESC TEC, I work at the Centre for Enterprise Systems Engineering group, where I am responsible for managing RTD activities in the realm of national and European research projects. My main areas of activity are the development of information systems to support the formation and operation of collaborative networks between companies, supply chain management, operations planning and scheduling, and information management. In recent years, my work has focused on the fields of cyber-physical production systems, Internet of things and services, and vertical integration of industrial robotic manipulators. 

Thank you! To someone reading this who has never heard of Better Factory before, how would you describe it in simple terms, and why do you feel it is significant? 

Better Factory aims to aggregate several ICT tools and services under the umbrella of a marketplace, named the RAMP marketplace. Small and medium enterprises are the main target and several technologies are provided in the platform to allow these type of companies to start to digitalize their operations in the shop floor. 

Advanced Plant Model provides integration artifacts with a separate framework (Logistics Library) that will let you introduce robots in the shop floor.  

INESC TEC is playing a leading role in the work package that deals with removing obstacles for SMEs as they adopt cyber-physical technologies. In particular, you’re developing an Advanced Plant Model (APM), or ‘3D Digital Twin’. Could you explain what this will provide SMEs, and what are its benefits, which until now have only been available for large manufacturers?  

The Advanced Plant Model allows you to create a three dimensional model of your factory, comprising the geometrical models and location of physical objects such as logistic racks/palletes, workstations, conveyors, equipment and production lines. The tool provides a 3D visualization of the model letting you navigate in the virtual area and use it to discuss the current layout and possible improvements with your technology and equipment suppliers. In addition, the Tool provides integration artifacts with a separate framework (Logistics Library) that will let you introduce robots in the shop floor.  

The Advanced Plant Model is one of the services provided by the RAMP Market Place, thus offering a solution that you don’t need to install and configure. 

Could you give us your perspective on the longer-term sustainability and impact of the project, particularly in relation to Digital Innovation Hubs and on a network level?  

Communication about the RAMP Platform should be enforced so that DIHs know of its existence, as well as the services that are provided and most importantly, the successful use cases that were tested in the Better Factory project. 

If you’d like to learn more about our partners or KTEs, just head back to the Insights section to read more interviews!