New international research project - HALFBACK

HALFBACK is a new international research project which was launched in April 2017. The main aim of the project is to design and develop an intelligent production infrastructure to enable secure production processes, regardless of location or country. HALFBACK will make it possible for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to realize their enormous value creation potential. It will strengthen the digitalization capabilities of companies and support the creation of company networks in the Oberrhein region. The three-year project will be financed with almost €1 million through the European Regional Development Fund, as well as with regional funding.

Professor Dr. Christoph Reich of the Faculty of Computer Science at HFU will head up and coordinate the project. The Institute for Cloud Computing and IT security at HFU has many years of intensive research experience in the area of cloud computing. Also involved in the project is another HFU research institute, the Institute for Precision Machining headed by Prof. Dr. Bahman Azarhoushang. Further partners are the University of Straßburg and the National Institute of Applied Sciences in Straßburg, as well as seven affiliated partner companies, four of which are in Germany and three in France.

An unexpected stoppage of machines or tools can have an extremely detrimental effect on production processes, product quality and the competitiveness of a company. In order to improve quality and production processes, preventative maintenance must be planned for. By means of sensor data gained from the production line and analysis of this data, as well as additional information such as data from the machine manufacturer, all stored in the cloud, errors can be identified early and an optimized maintenance schedule can be implemented making it possible to ensure continuous production without expensive reserve machines or other means of minimizing stoppages. This will be realized through an intelligent "machine broker" which makes the coordination of the various companies and machines possible.

The HALFBACK Broker Cloud Service is a secure cloud infrastructure which is connected with cyber-physical systems. Cyber-physical systems (CPS) are physical and engineered systems whose operations are monitored, coordinated, controlled and integrated by a computing and communication core. Just as the internet transformed how humans interact with one another, cyber-physical systems will transform how we interact with the physical world around us.