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Start-up Swhard entrusted with the development of an innovative quality control App

Connectivity is one of the cardinal prerequisites of the production model of the smart factory and of all modern information transmission chains in the manufacturing world, but it can happen that technicians find themselves operating at times and situations when the internet is not available. For this reason, tools capable of working off-line and to synchronise with the central servers as soon as possible are needed. This is the challenge to which Opificio Digitale, the new technology incubator of which Wärtsilä Italia is the leader, wanted to respond by launching a "challenge" in collaboration with Cluster Fabbrica Intelligente and aimed at start-ups active in "open innovation".


The selection involved ten Italian technology companies, and the winner was Swhard S.r.l., an innovative start-up from Genoa, which will create a multi-platform app capable of assisting operators off-line in quality control processes and synchronising with the Wärtsilä servers once the connection has been re-established.


Initially, the app will be used in the large engines sector for the marine market, one of Wärtsilä's core businesses. "We started by defining the challenge we had to face," explains Samuel Di Carlo, Quality Engineer Operational Development of Wärtsilä Italia, "that is, to have a way to guarantee data collection in all conditions during the entire life cycle of a product, from the production phases to operation on board ships or in the powerplants where our engines can be installed. If the ship is offshore, or if a bridge crane in the factory screens the signal, the connection to our servers and our cloud is not available. Therefore, in order to avoid harmful losses of time, we will provide the operators with a tool that can work unconnected and then send the data as soon as possible".


A solution that will be developed within the Opificio Digitale business and that can therefore be made available to the entire production chain in the future. "After the design and testing phases, the app can be used by thousands of Wärtsilä employees worldwide in the medium term. The next step, which underpins Opificio Digitale's philosophy of knowledge sharing, will be to make this technology available to all the realities that share our digital ecosystem".


"The main objective of Opificio Digitale - explains Giuseppe Saragò, Director Manufacturing Excellence of Wärtsilä Italia - is in fact to create an advanced industrial ecosystem (Smart Manufacturing ecosystem) based on an open source software platform available to the entire production chain. Through this sharing we will accelerate the digitisation of small and medium-sized enterprises, often held back in this process by a lack of resources, by integrating systems and improving production processes. The Opificio Digitale platform, into which this app will fit, must be scalable and compatible with the legacy systems of the companies involved, and will include powerful algorithms for manufacturing, capable of accelerating the extended enterprise. We want to build simple and open solutions, to enable enterprises to become resilient and the supply chain in general to structure itself in a flexible and integrated way."


The final choice fell on the proposal put forward by Swhard S.r.l.: "We are thrilled to be able to work on this project with Wärtsilä Italia and Opificio Digitale," explains Igor Ingegnosi, software manager at Swhard, "with whom we will develop this application so that it is perfectly suited to the needs of operators. Great attention will be given to the user interface and user experience so that it is easy and immediate to use in any context. The app will be immediately distributable on the two main platforms (Android and iOS), using a single codebase. This will guarantee excellent maintainability as well as low costs and a high life expectancy. There will be work schedules, synchronised via cloud with the Wärtsilä servers using an 'offline-first' approach so that the operator can carry out their tasks even when there is no signal and synchronise the data on the tasks carried out later, fully automatically".


"The proposals put forward by the start-ups were very interesting," said Giulio De Biasio, Mechatronic Development Engineer at Wärtsilä Italia, "with ingenious and innovative solutions. In particular, that of Molo 17, a start-up from Pordenone, which demonstrated an approach fully in line not only with Wärtsilä Italia's requirements but also with the spirit behind Opificio Digitale. In their proposal, they have used cutting-edge proposals - such as 'Couchbase', a non-relational database system - and this is exactly what we are looking for, ideas and solutions that already look towards the technologies of tomorrow. It is realities like these that allow the Italian manufacturing world, and not only it, to look to the future and take those steps necessary for the entire supply chain, from the small supplier to the large multinational, to be modern, effective and resilient".








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