European IMS Newsletter

Issue No. 39, March 2012

In this issue

Upcoming Calls & Events

Intensive Training on Entrepreneurship in Photonics
05 - 14 March 2012 , Vrije Universiteit Brussels, Belgium

AMT Manufacturing Technology Forum - Topics such as, e.g. Sustainable Manufacturing, Innovative Technologies and the Future of Additive Materials Manufacturing, Innovation within Defense Manufacturing and much more will be discussed
7-8 March 2012 , Orlando, Florida

Technology and market perspective for future Value Added Materials, workshop organised by the European Commission, Directorate General for Research and Innovation - This one-day workshop will provide an overview and perspective of the commercial possibilities for value-added and value-adding materials. It will also explore the various technical and economic scenarios linked to the potential development of such materials.
14 March 2012 , Brussels, Belgium

Fraunhofer Direct Digital Manufacturing Conference 2012 - The event will bring together researchers, educators and practitioners from around the world and fosters an atmosphere conducive to developing new ideas and refining already existing research developments
14-15 March 2012 , Berlin, Germany

Growing the Extended Enterprise: Integrating SMEs in smart Digital supply chains - The one and a half day event will bring together more than 200 automotive players from across Europe to present concrete business cases on how auto-gration improved the functioning of the automotive supply chain and aftermarket, how it helped smaller dynamic businesses to link to larger industry players and participate in global supply chains.
15-16 March 2012 , Stuttgart, Germany

Photonics21 Annual Meeting 2012
27 - 28 March 2012 , Brussels, Belgium

14th International Conference on Mathematical/Analytical Modelling and Computer Simulation (UKSim2012)
28 - 30 March 2012 , Cambridge University, UK

IMS Horizon Workshop on manufacturing strategy, Chalmers University of Technology - The IMS Horizon Workshop is an event in order to develop competences and to educate beneficiaries and members from industry and research on new global approaches to manufacturing strategy.
11-13 April 2012 , Gothenburg, Sweden

HANNOVER MESSE 2012: Technology Cooperation Days on Energy Efficient Factories and Industrial Production - It will take place in parallel to the HANNOVER MESSE 2012, the world's leading showcase for new industrial technologies, materials and product ideas. It is the ideal place to obtain latest industrial know-how.
24-26 April 2012 , Hannover, Germany

AKL´12 - International Laser Technology Conference - Over 70 experts from research and industry will bring up to date on the current trends in laser technology
9-11 May 2012 , Aachen, Germany

18th International ICE Conference on Engineering, Technology and Innovation - The central topic will be "Innovation by Collaboration and Entrepreneurial Partnerships
18 – 20 June 2012 , Munich, Germany

Industrial Technologies Conference - Three days of insightful plenaries and conference sessions, revealing the impact of industrial technologies and promoting solutions to improve the environment for innovation in Europe
19-21 June 2012 , Aarhus, Denmark

15th International Conference on Machine Design and Production (UMTIK-2012) - The 15th International Conference on Machine Design and Production 2012 aims to constitute a forum of prominent academics and professionals from all over the world to discuss the latest advancements, emerging technologies and systems in design and manufacturing of machines, manufacturing systems and technologies.
19-22 June 2012 , Pamukkale, Denizli, Turkey

The 9th International Conference on Wearable Micro and Nano Technologies for Personalized Health (pHealth)
26-28 June 2012 , Porto, Portugal

Collaborative Enterprises 2012 - Collaborative Development and Engineering Driving Innovation, WMSCI 2012 - The symposium will be organized in the context of the 16th World-Multi Conference on Systemics, Cybernetics and Informatics: WMSCI 2012.
17-20 July 2012 , Orlando, Florida, USA

About IMS

The Intelligent Manufacturing Systems (IMS) initiative encourages the formation of international research consortia to address 21st century manufacturing technologies and systems to benefit humanity. IMS members currently include the EU and Norway, Mexico, Korea, Switzerland and the United States of America. In Europe IMS is supported by the 7th Framework Programme’s (FP7) Cooperation Themes ICT and NMP.

For further information about IMS, please visit IMS on CORDIS or IMS International .


Marta Bulik Dear Reader,

Welcome back in 2012! We have started the New Year with a lot of energy and exciting plans for the whole year. As promised last time, we follow with an interview about the IMS programme, this time with Dan Nagy, Managing Director of IMS.

Exciting events are approaching! We invite you to visit the European Commission ICT for Factories of the Future Stand, at CEBIT 2012 between 6-10 March in Hannover, Germany. Why it is so important for us? ICT is a vital element for keeping Europe's factories "smart". So do not miss the opportunity to see the projects that are contributing to this goal, and will present the results of their work.

We are also very happy with our US colleagues that Professor Thomas R. Kurfess, an IMS delegate, has been appointed to White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.

What else in the loop? Manufacturing is getting greener and more sustainable so you will find information about the new Blue Competence Machine Tools Initiative and EU policies on a sustainable bioeconomy for greater and more sustainable use of renewable resources.

We have as well important advice for European entrepreneurs: Enterprises must boost innovation as global competition becomes stronger!

I wish you a pleasant reading.

Marta Bulik , European Commission

Top Story

Interview with Dan Nagy, Managing Director of IMS. The interview was taken at the Manufuture Conference in Wroclaw, Poland.

Dan Nagy Marta: Dan, why participation in such conference as Manufuture is important for IMS?

Dan: There is always an international dimension to whatever you do in manufacturing. The value chains are global even for SMEs and so when you're talking especially in the area of sustainable manufacturing, sustainable and green technologies, these are technologies that are differentiating for a company. If SMEs or any other company do research, developing new intellectual property which will not help their business sell more products, why should they do such research on their own? If the expenses are shared and the value chain expands beyond the borders it becomes an international cooperation. And IMS helps facilitate such international cooperation.

M: During the Manufuture Conference in Wroclaw the challenges and the future of manufacturing have been discussed. I would like to know what is the biggest challenge for European manufacturing nowadays and in the near future in your opinion?

D: The biggest challenge for the near future is of course the economy. The economy is forcing everything. It is difficult for manufacturing if there is no consumer demand. I think that a stronger and a healthy Euro is probably the biggest challenge for any sector in Europe including manufacturing. The other challenge I see is definitely the green technology and the efficient use of resources in manufacturing.

M: Coming back to IMS, I would like to ask you what are the three greatest achievements of IMS so far? How is IMS progressing in the regions like US, EU, Korea, Mexico, and Switzerland?

D: IMS had a lot of achievements over its history. We have been in operation for 17 years now and we have done well with over 600 million US dollars spent in research. If you use four to one return investment it gives over a couple of million dollars in value. When you look at how that money is distributed, you can see that these research dollars were shared over multiple companies and research institutions. A lot of people have been involved in the share in this great return on investment. Recently we have started a new manufacturing technology program where the network between researchers and research projects is built. There is a lot of overlapping research that goes on between the projects, so the idea is that different stakeholder could come together and share those work packages that overlap. It will help them to be more efficient in their work and save money for more important things. Finally, the World Manufacturing Forum is a new event series that we have started last year. Another Forum is planed for October 2012 in Stuttgart. This is an event where we really want to raise the industry issues to policy makers so that we can create an environment for important and necessary cooperation.

M: I would like to know what makes your job interesting and how does it happen to be so cosmopolitan?

D: What makes my job interesting are events like this. We speak at the number of different conferences and meetings. It is very challenging to meet a lot of different people, to see different perspectives on research and the future of manufacturing. If it comes to the 'cosmopolitan' aspect of my life, you have to remember that I do a lot of travelling but these are business trips. I have some friends saying that I am so lucky with what I am doing but the fact I come to different places to work, but when the event is over I have to leave again. We are going to a lot of interesting places but there we are working the same as everyone else.

M: But you are also changing the country you live in according to the region that chairs IMS?

D: Yes, this is interesting. Now I'm living in Switzerland. The big advantage of living in IMS regions is that it allows understanding the regions' perspective on industry, the way they approach research. Approach to R&D is different in different parts of the world. We live in a collaborative environment so we have to know how each region collaborates, what their processes are, what kind of information they need and how the information and collaboration we provide can be used by them.

M: Thank you very much for your time.

Latest News

EU's ICT for Factories of the Future during CEBIT 2012

This year, five EU funded research projects will have a booth on ICT for the Factories of the Future. The visitors will have the opportunity to watch via video presentations how ICT devices can be used by factory workers to make their daily work more efficient. In addition, during the event, software companies will showcase tools and solutions for industrial learning and training, based on advanced e-learning concepts, serious games, virtual reality, augmented reality and artificial intelligence.

The information on "Vision for Manufacturing 2.0" will be available at the stand.

Why it is important to attend? One simple answer - ICT is a vital element for keeping Europe's factories "smart" and for ensuring that the EU's strong manufacturing base remains competitive at global level. Digital technologies can facilitate efficient design and development of new products and equally importantly, they bring intelligence to the shop floor. The Factories of the Future initiative, part of the EU European Economic Recovery Plan, aims to help EU manufacturing enterprises to improve the technological base of manufacturing across a broad range of sectors.

Find out more

IMS delegate appointed to White House Office of Science and Technology policy

Dr. Thomas R. Kurfess, Clemson’s BMW manufacturing endowed chair and delegate to the IMS International Steering Committee, was appointed advanced manufacturing assistant director. He began Feb. 21 and will spend the next 12 months working for the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.

For more information, please visit:

The European Machine Tool Industry drives sustainability into the heart of manufacturing. 'Blue Competence' Initiative launched in Brussels

The European Machine Tool industry, represented by CECIMO - the European Machine Tool Builders Association, launched its European initiative on sustainability: the Blue Competence Machine Tools Initiative. The initiative aims to trigger a mindset shift in the machine tool industry and beyond, underlying the biggest challenge for the industry: building its competitiveness on ecological performance and adding to traditional elements of competitiveness such as precision, speed or reliability, a new core element: sustainability.

Martin Kapp, President of CECIMO, stated: “This landmark initiative underlines the willingness of European machine tool builders to make a leap forward towards a better and greener manufacturing perspective. Production technology and equipment supplied by the machine tool industry is the key enabler of resource efficient processes in all other manufacturing industries. Now, our manufacturers are taking on a firm commitment to align, in a holistic approach, their products, processes and business models with sustainability principles.”

Find out more

IMS project Automation Competency Model Network is looking for EU partners

The IMS project Automation Competency Model Network (ACMN) is ramping up its efforts to distribute the results of their work to educational and training organizations around the globe to better provide the manufacturing community with properly trained automation workers. The Automation Federation in collaboration with the Employment and Training Administration of the U.S. Department of Labor developed the Automation Competency Model. Automation industry leaders and ETA staff worked together to develop this comprehensive competency model for careers in automation with the intent of aiding and increasing the number of individuals pursuing careers in this vital profession. The Automation Competency Model clearly describes what a person needs to know and be able to do in order to successfully perform the tasks required in automation careers. The Automation Competency Model is made up of nine tiers: personal effectiveness competencies, academic competencies, workplace competencies, industry-wide technical competencies, automation technical competencies, occupation-specific knowledge areas, occupation-specific technical competencies, occupation-specific requirements, and management competencies.

The ACMN IMS project welcomes new partners and is deliberately seeking EU participation. If you are interested in incorporating their model into your curriculum, please contact Michael Marlowe (

Description of the IMS project

Learn more about the Automation Competency Model

Microsemi joins EU actuator project to reduce aircraft weight

The aim of the three year Actuation 2015 project is to reduce aircraft weight as well as cut actuator cost. The project will develop and validate a common set of standardised, modular and scalable EMA resources for all actuators (flight control, high lift, main landing gear, door and thrust reverser) in all types of aircraft. Microsemi's contribution to the program includes participating in the development of a specification and subsequent design, manufacture and test of a standardized power module which comprehends important trade-offs associated with the choice of semiconductors, materials, component configurations, circuit topologies and mass production manufacturing technologies.

For more information visit:

Social Media in the manufacturing world - Can it help to boost sales?

While social media is increasing in the B2B reality, manufacturing is slow in adopting this reality. According the recent Forrester Report, most of the B2B companies use social media in their daily work, but only 30 percent of global manufacturers said that they would increase their social media spending in 2012. While social media adoption is still in the early stage in the manufacturing industry, it will only grow in importance and can help manufacturers improve brand visibility to win more business.

To read more, please visit:

US in the Loop

2013 Budget Request for National Institute of Standards and Technology Targets Advanced Manufacturing, Critical Science and Technology Programs

The President’s fiscal year 2013 budget for the Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) submitted to Congress on 13 February proposes an appropriations funding level of $857 million. More than half of the proposed increased funding would be focused on advanced manufacturing research both at NIST laboratories and through a new industry-led consortia program.

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Manufacturing highlighted among others as priority area for US competitiveness and Innovative Capacity

The U.S. Department of Commerce issued a new report highlighting key policy priorities to sustain and promote American innovation and economic competitiveness. The report, The Competitiveness and Innovative Capacity of the United States, examines the role of federal investments in research, education and infrastructure in driving the US economic competitiveness, business expansion and job creation. Regarding the manufacturing, the document is: "(…) Outlining a series of steps, the Obama administration has taken to support American manufacturing, including rescuing the U.S. auto industry, the recent creation of the White House Office of Manufacturing Policy and formation of the Advanced Manufacturing Partnership as well as initiatives such as the Materials Genome Initiative and the National Digital Engineering and Manufacturing Consortium".

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News according to the latest US Science and Engineering Indicators Report

Global value-added by ICT industries more than doubled from $1.2 trillion in 1995 to $2.8 trillion in 2010

Information and communications technology (ICT) constitutes one of the global economy's most important industries. In fact, global value-added by ICT industries more than doubled from $1.2 trillion in 1995 to $2.8 trillion in 2010, and today the ICT industry accounts for 6 percent of global GDP. ICT industries also account for a similar share of employment; for example, in 2010, ICT industries employed 5.8 percent of workers in OECD economies, a 13 percent increase over the 5.1 percent they employed in 1995.

KTI industries have been a major and growing part of the global economy

Global value added of knowledge- and technology-intensive (KTI) industries, consisting of five knowledge-intensive (KI) service and five high-technology (HT) manufacturing industries, totalled $18.2 trillion in 2010. This represents 30% of estimated world gross domestic product (GDP) in 2010, compared with a 27% share in 1995. The U.S. economy had the highest concentration of KTI industries among major economies (40% of U.S. GDP). The KTI concentrations for the European Union (EU) and Japan were 32% and 30%, respectively. Major developing economies have lower KTI shares than developed economies. China's KTI industries created 20% of GDP in 2010 compared to 17% in 1995. The KTI shares in Brazil, India, and Russia were similar to China's.

Rising KTI shares in most countries have coincided with growth in productivity

Labour productivity growth in the United States and other developed countries slowed from 1.9% in the 1990s to 1.3% from 2000 to 2008, coinciding with slackening growth in their per capita GDP. Labour productivity growth in developing countries accelerated from 1.4% in the 1990s to 4.9% from 2000 to 2008, led by China, India, and Russia. China's labor productivity grew at a 10% annual average with its per capita GDP increasing from 8% to 20% of U.S. per capita GDP.

Source: US National Science Board, Science and Engineering Indicators 2012

EU Policy

Harmonised standards which provide presumption of conformity for Personal Protective Equipment products.

A new consolidated list of references of harmonised standards under the Personal Protective Equipment directive was published in the EU Official Journal. These European standards provide solutions for compliance and presumption of conformity with relevant essential requirements of the Personal Protective Equipment directive.

However, the use of harmonised standards remains voluntary and manufacturers can choose whether or not to follow a harmonised standard to manufacture their products. Economic operators may thus go for any other technical solution but they have the obligation to prove that their products are in conformity with the mandatory legal requirements.

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Enterprise must boost innovation as global competition becomes stronger

According to the Innovation Union Scoreboard 2011 the EU still maintains a clear lead in terms of innovation performance over the emerging economies of China, Brazil, India, Russia, and South Africa. However the EU Innovation performance growth is slowing down. The EU is not closing the persistent gap with global innovation leaders like US, Japan and South Korea. The largest gap for the EU27 remains in terms of private sector innovation.

European Commission Vice-President Antonio Tajani, Commissioner for Industry and Entrepreneurship said: "This year’s results are a clear warning that more efforts to boost innovation are needed. If we want to close the gap with our main economic partners and to overcome the current crisis, innovation deserves all our attention. In particular I count on enterprises as they have proven to be the key to success in innovation. But successful start ups in other parts of the world show that some lessons are still need to be learnt in Europe.”

Find out more

Full Report Innovation Union Scoreboard

Security Research options for a possible Demonstration Project to secure Europe’s supply chains

Directorate General for Enterprise and Industry held the latest in its series of Security Research workshops on 31 January to consult with stakeholders on a complex, multi-faceted subject: supply chain security. The one-day event drew in more than 200 participants from across Europe to review how a large Demonstration Project could address the security aspects of supply chains.

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Protecting European enterprises and workers from unsafe products

The machinery sector is one of Europe's largest and most competitive industries, covering a wide range of products. In the face of the global economic crisis, where price competition from low-cost producers is immense, Europe's competitive advantage of world-class knowledge, skills and safety must be protected through effective and efficient market surveillance. Taking this into account, the European Commission organised a conference on market surveillance and machinery, which was held in Brussels on 24 November 2011. The conference, which brought together representatives from industry, unions, academia and the EU institutions, focused on the importance of market surveillance for industrial products. Market surveillance, which aims to make sure the provisions of European legislation are enforced across the EU, is a vitally important tool in ensuring a level playing field.

The conference concluded with the launch of a Common Industry Platform for Market Surveillance, accessible online at . This platform contains valuable information to help market surveillance authorities in their daily work. Representatives from the industry associations present also signed a common manifesto, listing ten key actions for an effective market surveillance system.

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European Commission proposes strategy for sustainable bioeconomy in Europe

The European Commission has adopted a strategy to shift Europe's economy towards greater and more sustainable use of renewable resources.

Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science Máire Geoghegan-Quinn said: "Europe needs to make the transition to a post-petroleum economy. Greater use of renewable resources is no longer just an option, it is a necessity. We must drive the transition from a fossil-based to a bio-based society with research and innovation as the motor. This is good for our environment, our food and energy security, and for Europe's competitiveness for the future".

The Commission's strategy and action plan, "Innovating for Sustainable Growth: a Bioeconomy for Europe”, outlines a coherent, cross-sectoral and inter-disciplinary approach to the issue. The goal is a more innovative and low-emissions economy, reconciling demands for sustainable agriculture and fisheries, food security, and the sustainable use of renewable biological resources for industrial purposes, while ensuring biodiversity and environmental protection.

For more information visit:

Interesting Projects

ActionPlanT – a project of the Private-Public Partnership “Factories of the Future”

The ActionPlanT project is co-funded by the European Commission under the Private-Public Partnership (PPP) "Factories of the Future" within the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) . ActionPlanT has developed a vision on the short, medium, and long term role of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) in the European manufacturing industry. The project started in June 2010 and will end in May 2012.

Two key activities of ActionPlanT are:

  • Establishing a vision for the role of ICT in manufacturing of the future, in cooperation with the European Commission. ActionPlanT also liaises with EFFRA, the Factories of the Future Research Association, as a key industry representing body. ActionPlanT activities include the development of a roadmap to prioritize most promising topics for the next Framework Programme for Research and Innovation (‘Horizon 2020’, covering the period 2014-2020).
  • Developing and validating a concept for industrial learning, extensively piloted via Industrial Learning Pilot Events (ILPEs) and workshops amongst stakeholders in industry, academia, and the European technology platforms alike. The related activities include the development of an IL model and methodology, their testing and evaluation through the organization of ILPEs and workshops, and the dissemination of the validated results to reach a wider audience among European manufacturing workers

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The ULCOS project: cleaner route to steel production

With 48 partners from 15 countries, the ULCOS project has mounted a major effort to help the steel industry find innovative solutions for reducing its CO2 emissions. It intends to develop the concept for a breakthrough process technology producing steel from iron ore with CO2 emissions cut by half or more compared with those of today's state-of-the-art blast furnaces.

The ultimate objective is to build a pilot plant to demonstrate the potential of the method, thus promoting preservation of the ecosystem in relation to steelmaking.

A number of technologies are currently being examined. The most sustainable will be chosen post-Kyoto for the first half of the 21st century.

This ambitious and strategic project is closely linked to the Framework programme which provides funding of €20 million for a separate part of ULCOS.

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