The traditional ways of developing and producing goods are driven by market needs and by profitability considerations in highly competitive environments. The growing global industrialisation, an increasing world population and higher standards of living are the cause of an ever-growing consumption of resources and energy as well as higher CO2 emissions. These developments create an enormous sustainability pressure both on governments and on the industry. Industrial enterprises have a key role to play in increasing the environmental compatibility of products, processes and services. One of the major challenges for the industry will be to be competitive on the market, while also achieving ecological targets. IMS is meant to be a collaborative research scheme that helps address the challenges involved.
In this newsletter we provide you with news from a European viewpoint. All issues, more or less, address sustainability as a new key global parameter that just cannot be ignored anymore. In its 2020 strategy, Europe tries to address it with all possible means. "Reverse" manufacturing, as recycling and reuse is called, is one of the issues addressed by European research. Lifecycle management and zero waste in production are others. The production, as well as the intelligent combination, of green energy may in the end prove essential for wealth creation.
Wishing you happy reading.
Erastos Filos, European IMS Secretariat
PROMISE follow-on activities to focus on standardisation under the Open Group
Standards are necessary to support the natural progression and extension of Product Lifecycle Management (PLM). The outcomes of IMS project PROMISE support and even exceed conventional PLM, i.e. by exploiting common information exchange technologies in industrial lifecycles such as healthcare, supply chain and logistics, food, beverage, pharmaceutical pedigree and traceability. A "quantum leap" is therefore needed to harness the various technology offers towards an “Internet of Things” scenario, by embracing trillions of entities likely to be introduced into product lifecycle management in the future.
The recently formed Quantum Lifecycle Management (QLM) Consortium aims at developing and consolidating PLM standards. In addition to developing those standards and best practices through the Open Group’s proven methodology, the Consortium will also work towards promoting these in order to ensure broad cross-industry market adoption. By providing a vendor- and technology-neutral environment to build on the achievements of the PROMISE project and similar initiatives, motivated members who share the vision of consolidating and creating open standards will come together to resolve the exponentially growing challenges in PLM. Three of the five thematic areas of IMS concern Sustainable Manufacturing, Key Technologies and Standards. QLM proposes a standardisation framework that supports sustainable manufacturing in which lifecycle aspects are important elements. On the other hand QLM implementations will strongly be based on the use of key technologies such information devices embedded in products. Last but not least, QLM will succeed only if it can build up critical mass at a global level. Therefore, international collaboration under the IMS programme is of high relevance to the QLM Consortium. Large and small enterprises, suppliers and customers, academic institutions, research groups and government agencies who share the vision of Making Standards Work™ for holistic lifecycle management are welcome to join. The Consortium's activities will be launched at the Open Group’s Conference in Rome, 26-30 April 2010.
ENIAC call for proposals open until 30 July 2010
A call for proposals under the ENIAC Joint Undertaking's Annual Work Programme for 2010 has been launched. The closing date is 30 July 2010. Among other things, projects are expected to have a strong industrial focus and present a realistic context for industrially relevant, short to medium-term research and technology development. All projects should demonstrate their expected industrial, social or economic impact. Proposals should address at least one ENIAC sub-programmes, e.g. automotive and transport; wireless communications; energy efficiency; design methods and tools; silicon process and integration; equipment, materials and manufacturing; healthcare and the aging society. Within each integrated project, a realistic representation should be found for the underlying nanoelectronics research and development ecosystem in Europe, including large corporations, small and medium-sized enterprises, institutes, and universities.
European Commission proposes "Europe 2020" strategy
On 3 March 2010, the European Commission launched the Europe 2020 Strategy to overcome the crisis and prepare the EU economy for the next decade. Its Communication identifies three key drivers for growth, to be implemented through concrete actions at EU and national levels: smart growth (fostering knowledge, innovation, education and digital society), sustainable growth (making our production more resource efficient while boosting our competitiveness) and inclusive growth (raising participation in the labour market, the acquisition of skills and the fight against poverty). The battle for growth and jobs requires ownership at top political level and mobilisation from all actors across Europe. Five targets are set which define where the EU should be by 2020 and against which progress can be tracked: 75 % of the population aged 20-64 should be employed; 3% of the EU's GDP should be invested in R&D; The "20/20/20" climate/energy targets should be met; The share of early school leavers should be under 10% and at least 40% of the younger generation should have a degree or diploma; 20 million less people should be at risk of poverty. Progress towards these objectives will be measured against five representative headline EU-level targets, which Member States will be asked to translate into national targets reflecting starting points:
In order to meet the targets, the Commission proposes a Europe 2020 agenda consisting of a series of flagship initiatives. Implementing these initiatives is a shared priority, and action will be required at all levels: EU-level organisations, Member States, local and regional authorities.
- Innovation union - re-focussing R&D and innovation policy on major challenges, while closing the gap between science and market to turn inventions into products. As an example, the Community Patent could save companies € 289 million each year.
- Youth on the move - enhancing the quality and international attractiveness of Europe's higher education system by promoting student and young professional mobility. As a concrete action, vacancies in all Member States should be more accessible through out Europe and professional qualifications and experience properly recognised.
- A digital agenda for Europe - delivering sustainable economic and social benefits from a Digital Single Market based on ultra fast internet. All Europeans should have access to high speed internet by 2013.
- Resource-efficient Europe - supporting the shift towards a resource efficient and low-carbon economy. Europe should stick to its 2020 targets in terms of energy production, efficiency and consumption. This would result in €60 billion less in oil and gas imports by 2020.
- An industrial policy for green growth – helping the EU's industrial base to be competitive in the post-crisis world, promoting entrepreneurship and developing new skills. This would create millions of new jobs ;
- An agenda for new skills and jobs – creating the conditions for modernising labour markets, with a view to raising employment levels and ensuring the sustainability of our social models, while baby-boomers retire ; and
- European platform against poverty - ensuring economic, social and territorial cohesion by helping the poor and socially excluded and enabling them to play an active part in society.
EuroNews video on reverse manufacturing: "Making ship breaking a safer craft"
Every day, hundreds of workers dismantle large vessels at Aliağa, Turkey, in the heart of ancient Aeolia. Ships are pulled ashore and cut, piece by piece, over the concrete floor – to prevent any leftover fuel and toxic waste from polluting the ground or spilling into water. Piles of sorted scrap metal are sent to melting plants that provide up to 3 percent of Turkey’s gross steel production.
Dimitris Ayvatoğlu owns a shipyard in Aliaga. He explains his trade: “Eventually ships grow older and they need to be disposed of, and the right way to dispose of them is actually to recycle them. There’s a lot of steel onboard the ships – they are made of steel primarily, but there also are other reusable and recyclable materials.”
Worldwide, between 200 and 600 large ships are dismantled every year. Amid concerns about the human and environmental impact of this industry, the EU is funding a research project aimed to make shipbreaking safer and greener. It’s called DIVEST (Dismantling of Vessels with Enhanced Safety and Technology) and it looks into every social, technical, economic and environmental aspect of shipbreaking. Project coordinator Jean-Christophe Saint-Genies spoke of the scheme’s merits: “What’s unique about our project is the holistic approach to it; the whole integrated approach based on actual studies carried out by the shipbreaking community or even by public bodies. It’s also based on real case studies and analysis done within the industry on different aspects and dimensions of the practice of dismantling,” he said. Despite international efforts to establish common standards for ship dismantling, current methods and conditions differ significantly from one country to another.
Giant offshore grid to link up north-western Europe
Nine north-western EU countries plus Norway are planning a giant underwater energy grid in the North Sea linked to wind farms, tidal power stations and hydroelectric plants. Thousands of kilometers of high-tech energy cables are set to be laid on the seabed of the North Sea in the coming ten years. The cables would link existing and new windmills off the German and British coasts with Belgian and Danish tidal power stations and Norwegian hydroelectric plants. The € 30 billion project would compensate for the irregular nature of renewable energy and provide a steady flow to the countries involved. Germany, UK, France, Denmark, Sweden, the Netherlands, Belgium, Ireland, Luxembourg and Norway are behind the project. Their respective energy ministers aim to sign a binding agreement by the end of 2010. The project is mainly going to be funded by energy firms, which will be drawn into the negotiations. The EU hopes to generate a fifth of its electricity needs from renewable energy sources by 2020, a move which requires new modern energy grids, capable of absorbing the fluctuations of wind and solar energy.
EU to provide 45,000 micro-loans to unemployed and small entrepreneurs
On 8 March 2010 EU Employment and Social Affairs Ministers agreed on a new facility to provide loans to people who have lost their jobs and want to start or further develop their own small business. The European Microfinance Facility will have a starting budget of € 100 million. The initiative is part of EU's response to the crisis and is especially targeted at people who cannot normally obtain credit because of the economic crisis and the current lack of credit supply.
Those helped under the initiative will also be able to benefit from mentoring, training and coaching as well as assistance in preparing a business plan, in close cooperation with the existing European Social Fund. The initial budget of € 100 million is expected to leverage € 500 million of credit in cooperation with international financial institutions such as the EIB Group. This could result in around 45,000 loans over a period of up to eight years. In addition, the possibility for the same people to benefit from interest rate rebates through the European Social Fund will make it easier for them to start their new business.
Micro-credit in this Facility means loans under €25,000. It is tailored to micro-enterprises, employing fewer than 10 people (91% of all European businesses), and unemployed or inactive people who want to go into self-employment but do not have access to traditional banking services. 99% of start-ups in Europe are micro or small enterprises and one third of these are launched by people who are unemployed. The Facility will be operational from June 2010.