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A digital 'plug and produce' online equipment platform for manufacturing (IA)


(a) design and build the digital platform that brings together suppliers and users in a transparent and efficient way; and (b) populate it with adequate product information. This will constitute a set of pilot implementations intended to sell ‘plug and produce’ industrial equipment and services to customers globally. The platform should therefore facilitate B2B transactions and host associated services in the form of digital product models allowing users to simulate (e.g. digitally test) the capabilities of the equipment on offer and its compliance to standards. This will ultimately boost product quality, transparency and usability based on Return on Experience The digital platform should enable all of the following:

  • Transparency of product features, capabilities, resource use, associated add-on services and price;
  • Customer feedback, real-time use feedback (anonymised as needed) and associated options;
  • Scalability with respect to technological development and manufacturing application domains;
  • Information about standards and regulatory compliance (e.g. the facilitation of re- and de-manufacturing) as well as security requirements.

Social Sciences and Humanities (SSH) elements should cover issues such as business model/ownership economics and adequate administration. Work should cover in particular user interface aspects to encourage active customer feedback.

Activities under (b) include the incorporation of suppliers or users of the equipment pilots and/or developers of additional applications and services where appropriate. Beneficiaries may provide support to third parties as described in part K of the General Annexes of the Work Programme. The support to third parties can only be provided in the form of lump sums. The respective options of Article 15.1 and Article 15.3 of the Model Grant Agreement will be applied.

Each consortium will define the selection process of the third parties for which financial support will be granted. The typical amount per party shall be in the order of EUR 50 000 to 100 000, as these parties are responsible for achieving the objective of activities under (b).[[In line with Article 23(7) of the Rules for Participation the amounts referred to in Article 137(1) of the Financial Regulation may be exceeded where it is necessary to achieve the objectives of an action.]] Around one third of the EU funding requested by the proposal shall be allocated to the purpose of financial support to third parties.[[It is recommended to also use established networks reaching out to SMEs like the Enterprise Europe Network and the NCP network for calls publications and awareness raising towards SMEs.]]

Proposals submitted under this topic should include actions designed to facilitate cooperation with other projects; to enhance user involvement; and to ensure the accessibility and reusability of data produced in the course of the project.

Activities should start at TRL 5 and achieve TRL 7 at the end of the project.

This topic is part of the lump sum funding pilot scheme[[Commission Decision on the adoption of a lump sum pilot model grant agreement for multi-beneficiaries Innovation actions and Research and Innovation actions under Horizon 2020.]]. Funding for grants awarded under this topic will take the form of a fixed lump sum of EUR 7.5 million.

One of Europe’s strengths in manufacturing is its abundance of SME equipment manufacturers with the capability to offer world-class products of highest quality and precision. A further strength is the large number of actors having off-the-shelf prototypes ready for experimentation and for market uptake. To increase their visibility towards global users of equipment and to further support digitisation of manufacturing, industrial online platforms needs to be developed and set up for use on the market.

  • Deliver a B2B online platform covering at least one key industrial equipment domain and mobilising actors across Europe;
  • Demonstrate the full capability of the platform in one dedicated industrial domain, including associated product services (e.g. digital models enabling functional simulation) and including the services from all third parties selected in line with the conditions set out in Part K of the General Annex;
  • Showcase the platform’s scalability capability (towards all relevant industrial domains) via a reference architecture;
  • Deliver a credible business plan that ensures long-term deployment and profitability, as well as scalability beyond the initial public financing phase;
  • Demonstrate industry-wide support through an inclusive governance structure;
  • Increase market opportunities for the users of the platforms, including SMEs.