Fagor Automation, Reborn project’s official partner

Fagor Automation is involved in the ReBorn European project, as end user to demonstrate the project developments. This consortium consists of 17 partners from around Europe and is working to demonstrate strategies and technologies that support a new paradigm for the re-use of production equipment in factories.

The ReBorn, is one of the projects within Industry 4.0 in German research institutes and it was mentioned by the VDMA as a project with knowledge-based re-use of modular machines and plants.


VDMA (Verband Deutscher Maschinen- und Anlagenbau, German Engineering Federation) represents over 3,100 mostly medium-sized companies in the capital goods industry, making it the largest industry association in Europe.

This time, our Fagor Automation’s Industrial Manager José Pérez Berdud, have been interviewed to talk about the experience in this project:

Within ReBorn, Fagor Automation is involved in many different fields of activity. Now the demonstration oriented phase, is running since a few months where Fagor is strongly involved in.

Can you just briefly explain to me which is your role within the project and what are your tasks and responsibilities?

Fagor Automation is involved in the project as end-user to demonstrate the project developments. In the RTD(1) WPs(2) our role is to include the end-user view and requirements in the different working groups where we are involved. Whereas in the DEMO work packages is to demonstrate, validate and benchmark the different project developments. Fagor Automation’s main activities are around our demonstrator “Design and implementation of a flexible assembly cell” and very strongly connected with use cases “Layout Planning / Optimization for new/existing lines and new/re-used equipment” (by ISG(3)), “Development of optimization algorithms in the space-time field for modular and flexible production” (by UPM(4)) and “Flexible scheduling using MES(5)” (by CMF(6)). Finally we are supporting SEZ(7) in the elaboration of business model cases from the end-user perspective.

What’s your view on how the project evolved within the last two years?

Even being such a big consortium (we are 17 partners) I think the project is going quite smoothly thanks to a good coordination promoted by the project coordinator HWH(8) and supported by SEZ(7), thanks to both! We could take the pulse of the evolution during the last 18th month meeting in Brussels and I was quite impressed to see all the demonstrators together.

What do you think is necessary in order to achieve a smooth integration of the R&D results in the demonstrators?

ReBorn has a really unique structure of work packages because we have 3 pairs of RTD(1)+DEMO work packages grouped together (WP2/5, WP3/6 and WP4/7), in order to facilitate the transition from R&D results to demonstrators. I think it’s important to continue with this work process. Further our regular telephone conferences on a management or planning level and on dedicated work package level are important to share and exchange information about the integration.

Specifically, you representing Fagor Automation as an end-user, what do you think is now important to consider within the demonstration phase?

I think it is important to establish a concrete action plan with a concrete timeline. Further periodical follow up meetings are necessary to achieve our goals on time. On the other hand, we have to assure that the end-user requirements and expectations are met.

Which developments of ReBorn are of most relevance for Fagor Automation?

We plan to modify one of our plant layout due to the need for more production flexibility.

Within ReBorn we have created a lot of use-cases whereas the most relevant ones to us are for instance Layout Planning / Optimization for new/existing lines and new/re-used equipment (by ISR(9)), Development of optimization algorithms in the space-time field for modular and flexible production (by UPM(4)), Flexible scheduling using MES(5) (by CMF(6)), Line planning methods (by FHG(10)) and Self-organizing methods (by LU(11)), linked to 2 scientific and technological objectives of ReBorn which are Models for innovative factory lay-out design techniques and adaptive reconfiguration and Design methodology for de-manufacturing, dismantling, recycling and value-chain extension incorporating prior expert knowledge and experience.

With regard to the ReBorn technology could you already give a brief estimation on the impact the technology would have on your business? And the impact on the industry sector?

Yes sure! According to my opinion the impact on Fagor Automation’s business would be new, more efficient layout and organization, increased flexibility, productivity and reduction of lead times.

For Fagor we estimate to start using the technology in mid-term:

  • Time reduction of setup and ramp-up time by 30-40%
  • Reduction of down times through predictive and proactive maintenance by machine condition assessment by 15-20%

And for the industry sector we have to add the importance of the vertical integration from the devices to the high level software that facilitates the planners’ decision making process.

Finally, you’re also supporting the elaboration of business model cases from the end-user perspective. From your experience, where do you see the largest potential for business model innovation based on ICT(12) enabled, smart technologies like those under development in ReBorn?

The smart technologies under development in ReBorn impact in the four perspectives devices, manufacturing process, engineering and software. Furthermore, in the overall project picture we are integrating them vertically and this fact matches perfectly the so called Industry 4.0 architecture (see picture below).


The ReBorn project is acting over the four vectors, technology, factory, product and order. We have demonstrators in all of these areas. From my point of view, for business model innovation, there are two main fields we can analyze: Vertical integration from the devices to the high level software for the decision making process and flexibility-reusability impacted by 3D printing process.

And as I mentioned earlier, we have to consider all of this under the Industry 4.0 umbrella.

(1) RTD: Research and Technology Development
(2) WPs: Work Packages
(3) ISG: Industrielle Steuerungstechnik Gmbh
(4) UPM: Universidad Politécnica de Madrid
(5) MES: Manufacturing Execution System
(6) CMF: Critical Manufacturing SA
(7) SEZ: Steinbeis Innovation Gmbh
(8) HWH: Harms & Wende Gmbh & Co Kg
(9) ISR: Instituto de Sistemas e Robótica Associaciao
(10) FHG: Fraunhofer Gesellschaft zur Foerderung der Angewandten Forschung E.V
(11) LU: Loughborough University
(12) TIC: Information and Communications Technology