The CTC applies AI to industrial processes to define factories of the future

The CTC Technology Centre leads an ambitious project aimed at revolutionising industrial manufacturing in Cantabria. This initiative focuses on technological specialisation and training, paving the way for ‘factories of the future’ through the adoption of advanced solutions and innovative methodologies. It represents a commitment to integrating artificial intelligence to advance the Industry 4.0 model towards a more efficient, flexible and consequently, more competitive framework.

The ‘Strategic Positioning of Smart and Sustainable Specialisation for the Factories of the Future in Cantabria’, abbreviated as FUTCAN, stands as a trailblazing initiative in research. This project, boasting a budget of nearly one million euros (€896,000) and a three-year timeline for implementation, will assemble a multidisciplinary team of 19 researchers. They will tackle the principal challenges of Industry 4.0 using a comprehensive approach.

As a foundational step, the CTC aims to enhance the current model, which primarily focuses on digitalisation solutions, by integrating various innovations rooted in artificial intelligence and new materials. This initiative will significantly contribute to the evolution towards ‘smart factories’.

CTC’s vast experience in managing such projects, coupled with its accumulated knowledge across various technological developments in the industrial sector, positions it as a key player in driving the Cantabrian industry forward. It is no surprise, then, that FUTCAN is quickly becoming a paradigm of cooperation and synergy. This initiative promises to revolutionise the concept of industrial production in the region, achieving higher efficiency and progressively reducing the carbon footprint.

In this context, FUTCAN has established three lines of work. The first, as previously mentioned, involves taking further steps in the evolution of artificial intelligence usage, focusing on creating digital twins to virtualise industrial prototyping processes, particularly within the automotive sector for electric and connected vehicles.

Likewise, the second work package focuses on developing methods to make artificial intelligence more accessible in factory settings. Here, the emphasis will be on automating model management using machine learning to enhance quality control efficiency, optimise processes and advance preventive maintenance.

The third and final strand of this project involves the development of new coatings using nanomaterials. This innovation is expected to enable early detection and monitoring of degradation in industrial components and structures.

Supported by a network of collaborators, including universities, companies, and other research centres, the ongoing development of this project promises strategic growth for CTC across these three key areas. These three solutions are perfectly in line with the challenges of Industry 4.0 and other sectors, such as the blue economy and health, and are integral to Cantabria’s Smart Specialisation Strategy (RIS3 Cantabria) for 2021-2027.

FUTCAN is backed by the Directorate General of Industry, Energy and Mines of the Ministry of Industry, Employment, Innovation and Trade of the Cantabrian Government. It is co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund through the ERDF Operational Programme 2021-2027 for Cantabria, under the subsidy line titled ‘Aid for research projects with high industrial potential of technological agents of excellence for industrial competitiveness TCNIC’.

The entire call encompasses €6.6 million to support the development of 20 research projects, all aimed at bolstering the consolidation of key economic activities crucial for the future of the region’s productive framework.