Enterprise Engineering and Virtual Applications

Research goals


The Human Oriented Future Factory

The main activities of the group are tackling the development and the deployment into European manufacturing companies of new and advanced human-oriented supporting tools, in order to foster the innovation in products / processes / factories for enhancing the competiveness and sustainability of manufacturing sector.

The factories are changing very fast according to the needs of the global market. Designers and engineers are using digital tools for copying with this evolution. The modern view on manufacturing engineering supports the incorporation of the life cycle paradigm into the factory as a whole, including its products, manufacturing processes and technologies. The main idea behind is to reduce resource use and improve the technical and social performances. The main goal is then the realisation of the "Virtual Factory". The various digital tools and representation of the factory have to become virtual making its representation and the processes dynamic and up-to-date. Interoperability among tools and between the Real and the Virtual Factory is a key issue for the future. The group is working on such virtualisation, through the use of Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR), starting from the higher level (models and framework) to the implementation of specific tools (virtual environment, interfaces and simulation). The possibility to properly collect and formalise the associated knowledge is also part of this process. A special attention is always given to the Human Factors that ensure the central position of human beings in the production/technology side.

Research activities

In order to support the realization of the Virtual Factory the research activities of the group address the following areas:
The Virtual factory Framework, Ontology and Semantic Web. The realization of the Virtual Factory asks for the development of a framework supporting the interoperability between the various digital tools. This framework must be based on the definition of a common language for all the digital tools, i.e. a shared Virtual Factory Data Model (VFDM) that can be used to formalize the factory projects. Such Data Model is developed as a set of ontologies according to the Semantic Web approach. The various factory projects can be saved, safely managed and retrieved thanks to the Virtual Factory Manager (VFM) that offers the access to the data by means of web service. A particular category of digital tools will deal with the collection of data from the shop-floor to properly update the Virtual Factory, thus keeping coherence with the Real Factory.

Human oriented digital factory. Human being as a center of a production system supported by new technologies.

Extended Enterprise Model. Implementation of organizational changes for the introduction of new ICT applications and network configuration through the modelling and definition of new business processes.
Virtual and Augmented Reality (VR/AR). They are technologies that allow the user to feel himself involved in a digital environment (VR) or in a mixed environment (AR) using cameras and tracking systems to acquire data related to both the users and the real environment.
In order to reduce development time and having a complete, modular, easily extensible framework, STIIMA has develop GIOVE (Graphics and Interaction for OpenGL-based Virtual Environments). It's a set of libraries and tools designed for the implementation of collaborative virtual environments able to follow the evolution of HW and SW.
GIOVE Virtual Factory (GIOVE VF). It is a VR collaborative environment aimed to provide support in factory layout design, tested against real industrial scenarios. In each scenario it's used both for supporting the layout design as well for other functionalities like ergonomics, monitoring, process simulation, etc. The environment can be used by collaborating with other users or even in single user mode. The users are allowed to visualize the scene from a large projected screen in stereoscopy or on the PC monitor. Thanks to its simple interaction way, the GIOVE VF allows managers, experts and workers to communicate in an intuitive way.
Virtual Hangar. It is an immersive environment where airplane and helicopter mechanics could be trained in a safety manner. The immersive VR environment allows the people to learn specific tasks using their own PC.
With the same set of library (GIOVE) it is also possible to implement virtual prototype, virtual showroom, virtual illumination system, virtual museum, etc.
User interfaces. The Magic Mirror (MM) is a tool that uses Augmented Reality to fill in the gap during the trying on process of customized shoes. The user wearing a brilliant colour pair of socks can walk around watching at the just customized shoes from different points of view as in a real trial. The FootGlove (FG) is a mechanical haptic device, able to reproduce the internal volume of the shoes. By wearing the FootGlove the customer can check if the selected size fits on the feet and answer to the expectation. The user can also adjust such volume for helping the manufacturer to provide most appropriate shoe size.
Human Factor. It is an ample field that study human interaction with technology and other humans. It focuses on the human psychological state (perception, attention, cognition, etc.) and emotional state (anxiety, boredom, etc.). Information from these analysis are precious for technology implementation both in the factory as well as in the ambient assisted living.

Main research projects

Presence in action, EU-FP6-ICT, (2006-2009)
Digital factory for human-oriented production system, EU-FP-ICT, (2006-2009)
Design of customer driven shoes and muti-site factory, EU-FP6-NMP, (2008-2011)
Framework of Integrated Technologies for User centred products, EU-FP7-NMP, (2009-2012)
Virtual Factory Framework, EU-FP7-NMP, (2009-2013)
VISION Advanced Infrastructure for Research, EU-FP7-SP4 Capacities-Infra 2010, (2011-2014)
Personalised Guidance Services for Optimising lifestyle management in teen-agers through awareness, motivation and engagement,EU-FP7-ICT (2013-2017)
Sw integration and advanced Human Machine Interfaces in design for AAL, Cluster TAV, CTN01_00128_297089 (2013-2015)
Sviluppo di Metodologie Aerospaziali Innovative di Osservazione della Terra a Supporto del Settore Agricolo in Lombardia, Convenzione CNR - Regione Lombardia
Sustainable Factory Semantic Framework, Progetto Bandiera, DFD-SP1-T4.1

Try-on your selected footwear before they produce it. A MAGIC experience to MIRROR your customized shoe.

key words

Augmented & Virtual Reality; Virtual Factory; Semantic Web and Ontology; Human Factors.

Marco Sacco


Dr. Marco Sacco - Milano
EVA Group responsible
marco.sacco [at]