The Factory 4.0 Project final event emphasises the importance of cyber security in manufacturing industry

Interreg Factory 4.0


The closing event of the Interreg-project Factory 4.0 took place on 10 June 2020. This included holding a Business Club on the theme of cyber security, which is a highly relevant topic these days.

Given the current circumstances, this event took the form of a webinar, with 140 people following online.

Lionel Buissieres, projectleider van Factory 4.0, gave a brief overview of the nature of the project and what had been achieved over the previous four years. The project's three main objectives were to raise awareness among companies, to guide them in their transition to Factory 4.0 and to build a few demonstrators for inspiration. The result so far is that 531 companies were contacted, 124 of which were helped to make the transition. Three demonstrators had already been built - one at Sirris, one at CITC and one at CETIM.

Mathieu Kilmczak used the CITC demonstrator to show how facial recognition software could be tricked by relatively simple means. He could, for example, manipulate people’s photos so they were identified as other people.

V&V Engineering gave a testimonial on how the advice had helped the company move from daytime production to day-and-night production with minimum investment. V&V Engineering is an injection mould manufacturer that also offers services such as mould design and maintenance.

The keynote speaker of this Business Club was Geert Ostyn, Vice President for Technology & Operations of Picanol. He told the participants about what Picanol went through during the week in which all its activities were shut down by a ransomware attack earlier this year. One important lesson to be learned from this was that the IT infrastructure must always be updated to the latest available versions. With this advice, much suffering can be avoided in the future..

Kurt Callewaert from Howest gave an overview of the various cyber security standards used in both office IT (Information Technology) networks (ISO 27000, 1.2) and workfloor OT (Operational Technology) networks (IEC 62443). Traditionally, if there are IT and OT networks in the same company, these will be managed by separate departments, despite the trend to connect production equipment and sensors to the IT infrastructure. But things are improving thanks to the IEC 62443-3-3 standard, which the IT and OT departments can use together to tackle the challenges as a single security team. This standard provides certain tools that can be used in great detail at various levels to reduce cybersecurity risks.

In this context, Tijl Deneut, also from Howest, studies how company networks can be made more secure. One of the most important pieces of advice this investigator had for companies was to split networks as far as possible into VLANs (Virtual Local Area Networks). This is a relatively simple measure that not only increases security, but also increases overall speed by reducing the amount of general network traffic.

A poll was taken for each session. This showed that although quite a few companies were already working on cyber security, there was still much room for further awareness and calls-to-action. Prevention is always better than a cure!

A complete overview of all the other speakers and testimonials can be found via this link.

All the individual videos of this event can be found via this link.

Sirris is a partner in the Interreg Factory 4.0 project, which promotes a cross-border approach for introducing companies in the border regions to Industry 4.0 technologies that would benefit them.