Industries of the future foresee a holistic integration of computation, communication, and physical processes, including human-to-machine and machine-to-machine communication and interaction in working routines. Several application areas can be distinguished including factory automation, process automation, logistics, warehousing, monitoring, and maintenance. A major enabler of these advancements is the physical infrastructure that should provide a ubiquitous and powerful connection between all interworking nodes. Although each industrial application poses a different set of requirements on the physical infrastructure, there are some main requirements that should be fulfilled to enable the truly digital transformation of the industries like:
reliable and low latency communication with guaranteed service quality
reduced congestion in data communication
reduced power consumption and cost
SPRINTER comes as a pragmatic innovation action that will rely on well-proven PIC technologies to develop a complete solution tailored to the diverse needs of industrial networks. More specifically, SPRINTER will combine the best-of-breed optical components and methods from various powerful but complementary photonic integration platforms to develop a set of low-cost, energy-efficient, and ultra-dynamic optical transceivers and optical switching solutions to cope with the diverse needs of the industrial networks and expedite their truly digital transformation.
Within SPRINTER low-cost and energy-efficient 200 Gb/s optical transceivers in order to support the high-capacity connectivity will be developed. Additionally, SPRINTER will provide ultra-fast wavelength-tunable 10 Gb/s optical transceivers, enabling the development of an all-optical switching system, guaranteeing the reliability and time determinism required for time critical communication. In addition, leveraging well-proven integration techniques that allow for the fabrication of complex 3D photonic integrated circuits, the project will develop a disruptive low-loss and polarization-insensitive reconfigurable optical add-drop multiplexer, optimized for operation within space-division multiplexing network, assisting on the reduction of data congestion in communication systems, preventing the data loss and the delay in data delivery.
Considering the ultra-dynamic nature of the industrial networks due to the deployment of either temporarily fixed or moving remote nodes, SPRINTER will provide a set of groundbreaking photonics-enabled transceivers supporting wireless connectivity by means of a free-space optical or a mmWave channel. The transceivers will be able to operate reliably in indoor environments, as well as, outdoor environments thanks to the complementary characteristics of the two channels.
Moreover, the project will develop a unified network platform, providing the required methods and tools to support time-deterministic operation, and enable real-time communication with guaranteed service quality. Finally, in order to showcase SPRINTER’s full potential, the developed technology will be evaluated within application scenarios that will be deployed in a relevant industrial environment incorporating a fully operational closed-loop control system.