As the needs of the customers continue to increase, Biohaviour is expanding on the capabilities of cloud-based manufacturing to meet the customer requirements with the development of a new Smart Manufacturing-as-a-Service (SmartMaaS) framework.

SmartMaaS Framework

What SmartMaaS can offer to the general customers?

Quality product: SmartMaaS can deliver a quality product as a result of responsive product design and manufacturing, and co-operative decision making through actors. 

Rapid turnaround time: SmartMaaS uses distributed computing, and negotiates with manufactures with respect to turnaround time – they may bring down the overall turnaournd time.

Low cost: SmartMaaS can negotiate with manufactures with respect to cost as well in order to offer a low cost product to the customer.

Innovative design: SmartMaaS uses Blind Watchmaker’s gene-inspired design algorithms, which can bring innovation in the design.

SmartMaaS V1: the first prototype of SmartMaaS

SmartMaaS V1

The first prototype of SmartMaaS (SmartMaaS V1) has been set up in a private cloud environment, where the cloud orchestrator (SmarMaaS orchestrator) runs inside a laptop machine, modelling tool is hosted in remote desktop machine, and the 3D printers are communicated remotely through a Raspberry Pis. This version of prototype offers of the following basic funcationalities of SmartMaaS:

Active design and manufacturing: the prototype uses actor model provided by Microsoft Azure Service Fabric (SF), which allows actor-based storage and communication during both the design and the manufacturing phase. This demonstrates the ability of SmartMaaS to keep the design and manufacturing process alive.

Gene-inspired design growth: to design the product, the prototype implements Blind Watchmaker’s design growth algorithm. The algorithm
uses a set of “design genes” to trigger and control the design growth through mechanisms such as branching and stretching. The algorithm can produce unpredicted-but-valuable designs. This demonstrates that SmartMaaS can run gene-inspired algorithms for innovative design.

Remote CAD modelling: remote CAD modelling has been performed by integrating the SmartMaaS orchestrator with CADfix, a CAD modelling tool that is running on a remote desktop machine. CADfix provides an API for Python code that helps to perform the integration. This demonstrates the ability of SmartMaaS to access any modelling tool that is made available online.

Remote 3D printing: remote 3D printing has been performed by integrating the SmartMaaS orchestrator with an Ultimaker 3D printer. The integration is achieved through a Raspbery Pi which hosts a web service provided by OctoPrint (3D print controller application) to make the 3D printer accessible via internet. This demonstrates the ability of SmartMaaS accessing manufacturing facilities that are made available as a service via internet.

More details can be found on our paper: S. Barbhuiya, D.S. Nikolopoulos, M. Price, T. Robinson, D. Nolan, W. Zhang, and S. Kyle (2019), “SmartMaaS: A Framework for Smart Manufacturing-as-a-Service”, Proceedings of the 17th International Conference on Manufacturing Research (ICMR 2019) (Advances in Manufacturing Technology XXXIII; Vol. 9). 10-12 Sep, Belfast, UK, pp. 16-21. [Best Paper Gold Award]

News covering awards for SmartMaaS: Awards for Biohaviour Researchers at ICMR Conference Hosted by School of Mech. & Aero. Eng at Queens