A Reusable Framework for Rolling Mills

Esprit Project 22897
Software Technologies
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Project Overview

The goal of this project is to develop a reusable software architecture (framework) for the process automation of hot rolling mills. Currently process automation is rewritten from scratch for every new rolling mill in spite of the fact that up to 70% of such systems could be reused. Using our framwork, new process automation systems can be developed by customizing this framework to the special needs of a particular rolling mill. This will cut down the software development costs by 40-60% and will give European manufacturers a clear advantage over their competitors on both time to market and quality.

Frameworks are a promising application of object-oriented technology that promote the reuse, extensibility and maintainability of software. Frameworks are well established in the area of system software (graphical user interfaces, editors, operating systems) but hardly used for industrial projects so far. The application of framework technology to an industrial domain is one of the novel aspects of this project.

The proposers have been selected in order to maximize the outcome of the project by contributing the following complimentary skills: Project will follow the guidelines of the ISO 9000 standard. The main deliverables are a framework for process automation of a hot rolling mill, a sample process automation system derived from the framework, as well as enhanced and new concepts, technical guidelines, and tools that support the process of framework development and adaptation.

The industrial partners (Mandator AB, Siemens AG, UNI SOFTWARE PLUS, Voest Alpine Stahl GmbH) are not only developmers but also users in this project. This guarantees that the framework will be developed according to user needs. It will also leed to an immediate exploitation of the results by the industrial partners. Exploitation will already begin in the last phase of the project when the framework will be used to derive a process automation system according to a client specification. This will verify the usability and soundness of the framework.

The project consists of four work packages. The first package is the kernel of the project. The other packages implement supporting measures which are necessary to achieve and exploit the results of Work Package 1.

WP1: Framework Development
WP2: Guidelines
WP3: Tools Development
WP4: Technology Assimilation, Exploitation