IfM ECS helps identify priorities for manufacturing research in Europe

IfM Education and Consultancy Services (IfM ECS), the Institute for Manufacturing’s dissemination arm, is taking part in a project to advise the European Commission on priorities for research to help boost manufacturing productivity and competitiveness across Europe.

Road4FAME is an EU-funded project whose objective is to develop a ‘Strategic Research and Innovation Roadmap for Future Architectures and Services for Manufacturing in Europe’. It is run by a consortium of leading companies, manufacturing research centres and tech transfer organisations working together to examine industry needs. These are: THHINK Wireless Technologies Ltd (UK); Atos SA (Spain); Critical Manufacturing SA (Portugal); Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Engineering and Automation IPA (Germany); Steinbeis-Europa-Zentrum (Germany); and IfM ECS.

The consortium publishes recommendations on key topics in manufacturing information and communications technology (ICT) for inclusion in the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme.


Dr Nicky Athanassopoulou, who leads the roadmapping workshops to help the consortium identify topics and priorities, comments: “ICT is a key driver for innovation and competitiveness. ICT solutions are needed to support manufacturing companies – especially SMEs – to maintain and boost their competitiveness locally and in the increasingly globalized markets in which they operate”.

The first orientation paper, which can be downloaded here, identified four priority research areas for manufacturing in Europe:

  • Real-time data acquisition and analysis;
  • Network-centric communication and collaboration between organisations, humans and systems across the entire value chain;
  • Scalable cyber-physical system architectures for adaptive and smart manufacturing systems;
  • Cross-cutting and non-functional challenges such as interoperability standards, semantic mechanisms, data visualization, sociotechnical issues, training and education, as well as cybersecurity.

Dr Meike Reimann, Steinbeis-Europa-Zentrum’s Road4FAME co-ordinator, said: “As the report shows, manufacturing companies are faced with increasing demands from customers for flexibility, customisation and track-and-trace capability. Manufacturing information and communications technology (ICT) has great potential to provide solutions, but affordability and complexity are key issues.”

Dr Rolf Riemenschneider, Research Programme Officer, DG Communications Networks, Content & Technology at the European Commission adds: “The use of digital technologies throughout the manufacturing value chain plays a key role in driving the productivity growth essential to a competitive Europe. In creating a research and innovation roadmap to support the future manufacturing landscape, Road4FAME is a timely and important project. Its to-date findings are feeding into our Horizon 2020 planning and we look forward to its final report and road map later this year.

Date published

12 June 2015

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