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Industry 4.0 for SMEs - Smart Manufacturing and Logistics for SMEs in an X-to-order and Mass Customization Environment

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - SME 4.0 (Industry 4.0 for SMEs - Smart Manufacturing and Logistics for SMEs in an X-to-order and Mass Customization Environment)

Reporting period: 2017-01-01 to 2018-12-31

Industry 4.0 – also known as the 4th Industrial Revolution – is one of the biggest challenges for European Industry. After mechanization, electrification and automation, the fourth Industrial Revolution is focusing on the introduction of advanced technologies connecting products, machines, people and production systems in order to realize the smart factory of the future. Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are the backbone of Europe's economy. They represent 99% of all businesses in the EU. In the past years, they have created around 85% of new jobs and provided two-thirds of the total private sector employment in the EU. The European Commission considers SMEs therefore as key to ensuring economic growth, innovation, job creation, and social integration in the EU (source: The project SME 4.0 is important for society due to its expected impact for speeding up the implementation of Industry 4.0 in SMEs and thus to increase productivity and competitiveness of European SMEs. Despite the high potential of Industry 4.0 in SMEs, the main limitation currently lies in a lack of specific and concrete models for its implementation and application in small and medium-sized enterprises. Thus, the research project aims at closing and overcoming this gap through the creation of an international and interdisciplinary research network.

The three main objectives of the project are:

1. Identifying the needs and enablers for Industry 4.0 applications and implementation in SME Manufacturing and Logistics
What are actual known concepts and technologies of Industry 4.0?
What are the main opportunities/risks for the use of these concepts in SMEs?
How suitable are the different concepts for application in SMEs (assessment of SME suitability)?
What are SME-specific functional requirements for the adaptation of the most promising concepts and technologies?

2. Creating SME-specific concepts and strategies for smart and intelligent SME Manufacturing and Logistics
What are possible forms or migration levels for realizing smart and intelligent Manufacturing Systems for X-to-order and Mass Customization Production?
How can Automation, Advanced Manufacturing Technologies, ICT and CPS improve productivity in SME Manufacturing and Logistics?
What are suitable models for smart and lean supply chains in SME Logistics?

3. Developing specific organization and management models for smart SMEs
What are innovative and promising new business models for smart SMEs?
What are optimal implementation strategies for the introduction of Industry 4.0 in SMEs?
What are ideal organizational models for smart SMEs or SME networks?
In the first 2 years of the project the following activities were performed:
• Organisation of a Kick-Off meeting in February at Bolzano (Italy)
• Elaboration of a standardized methodology for the conduction of SME Workshops
• Organisation of a SME Workshop in Bolzano, Leoben, Kosice, Chiang Mai and Worcester in 2017
• Secondments of researchers in order to organize the workshops, to analyze the workshop results and to work on specific topics in the three defined research fields (Smart Manufacturing, Smart Logistics and Organization and Management models)
• Organisation of the mid-term meeting in May 2018 in Leoben (Austria)
• Identification of the main existing Industry 4.0 technologies by a systematic literature review and study of their potential and suitability for SMEs by an expert and enterprise survey
• Development of an Industry 4.0 assessment tool for SMEs
• Planning of the third Annual meeting 2019 in Chiang Mai

In the first 2 years of the project, the following results and deliverables in communication and project marketing were achieved:
• Elaboration of a corporate identity including logo, project video, poster and website
• Radio Interview at RAI Sender Bolzano on January 27 2017
• Elaboration of 2 videos summarizing the midterm meeting in Leoben
• More than 20 press releases in print and digital media
• Social media posts on facebook, LinkedIn and ResearchGate
• Several presentations of the project in seminars, workshops and company visits (see news on the project website)
In the first 2 years of the project the following scientific results were achieved:
• 15 scientific works published in Journals, conference papers and book chapters
• 16 scientific works accepted for publication in Journals, conference papers and book chapters
• 4 scientific works submitted and currently under review
• 1 poster presentation at an international conference
• 1 Best Track Paper Award at IEOM 2018
• 1 Outstanding Paper Award at IEEM 2018
• 1 Special Session in the Chiang Mai Journal of Natural Science related to Industry 4.0 for SMEs
In the first 2 years of the project a wide range of dissemination activities were achieved (over 60 published as news on the SME 4.0 website). In the following list some of the most important activities are summarized:
• Conduction of a seminar on Construction 4.0 and modern Supply Chain Management in Engineer-to-Order companies in Chiang Mai
• Conduction of SME Workshops in Italy, Austria, Slovakia, USA and Thailand with ~50 SMEs
• Participation to FAIM 2017 – International Conference on Flexible Automation and Intelligent Manufacturing
• Participation to ICAD 2017 and 2018 – International Conference on Axiomatic Design
• Participation to IEOM 2018 – International Conference on Industrial Engineering and Operations Management
• Participation to IEEM 2018 – International Conference on Industrial Engineering and Engineering Management
• Participation to EUROMA 2018 – Conference of the European Operations Management Association
• Participation to TE 2018 – International Conference on Transdisciplinary Engineering
• Organisation of an Axiomatic Design Summer School in Bolzano and an Axiomatic Design short course in Worcester
• Organisation of 2 international phd workshops in Chiang Mai
• Visits and Industry 4.0 assessments in SME companies
In the first 2 years of the project (2017-2018) the focus was given on the analysis of Industry 4.0 concepts and the assessment of their suitability for SMEs. The research team elaborated a comprehensive catalogue of Industry 4.0 concepts retrieved in scientific literature. These Industry 4.0 concepts were then evaluated for their suitability and applicability in SMEs. Further, an assessment tool has been elaborated in order to allow SMEs to assess their level of implementation of Industry 4.0.
The following 2 years of the project (2019-2020) are dedicated to a synthesis and the elaboration of actions and recommendations for SMEs how to implement Industry 4.0 in a systematic way. Based on the results of the analysis in the first two years the research team concentrates its effort on the development of SME specific and concrete solutions for implementing Industry 4.0.

The impact of this project initiative in relation to the European Community including socio-economic impact is manifold:
• Ensure the transfer of Industry 4.0 to SMEs through adapted template models
• Maintain and develop the competitive level of European SMEs
• Accelerate the transition of Industry 4.0 from research to practice
• Maintain the prosperity of the European population by securing jobs
• Development and career progress of European experts and qualified young scientists in SME-research for Industry 4.0.
Project poster at Kick-Off Meeting
Lab visit Free University of Bolzano
SME Workshop Bolzano 2017
Participation at IEEM 2018 conference
Radio Interview in RAI Sender Bolzano - 27.01.2017
Prof. Dominik Matt at MIT
SME Workshop Kosice 2017
Interactive SME workshop results
Kick-Off Meeting February 2017 at Bolzano (Italy)
Visit of Fraunhofer Italia in Bolzano
Company visit with Alonggot Limcharoen in Bolzano
Kick-Off Meeting February 2017 at Bolzano (Italy)
Patrick Dallasega at Chiang Mai University
Midterm meeting Leoben 2018
Industry 4.0 Conference organized by Chiang Mai University