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Global-leading smart manufacturing through digital platforms, cross-cutting features and skilled workforce

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - ConnectedFactories 2 (Global-leading smart manufacturing through digital platforms, cross-cutting features and skilled workforce)

Reporting period: 2021-06-01 to 2022-11-30

ConnectedFactories 2 focuses on:

(1) Common understanding of key enablers and cross-cutting factors for the development and deployment of digital technologies and digital platforms for manufacturing
(2) Deepening pathways by taking into account legacy systems, industrial requirements and challenges
(3) Situating inspiring research and industrial state-of-the-art cases, key enablers and cross-cutting factors along these pathways
(4) Matching of skills transfer offering with skills demand across Europe
(5) Engaging with the research and industrial actors in both European and local fora or ecosystems, bringing together manufacturing companies, technology and component suppliers, etc.
(6) Broad awareness about the pathways, key enablers and cross-cutting factors, and about inspiring cases for SMEs
(7) Stimulate visibility and impact of Digital Platform projects, in particular:
ZDMP - Zero Defect Manufacturing Platform
QU4LITY - Digital Reality in Zero Defect Manufacturing
eFactory - European Connected Factory Platform for Agile Manufacturing
SHOP4CF - Smart Human Oriented Platform for Connected Factories
DigiPrime - Digital Platform for Circular Economy in Cross-sectorial Sustainable Value Networks
KYKLOS 4.0 - An Advanced Circular and Agile Manufacturing Ecosystem based on rapid reconfigurable manufacturing process and individualized consumer preferences
The main results of the ConnectedFactories 2 CSA until mid-term include:

Supporting a common and structured understanding: Update of the structured insight in key enablers and cross cutting issues in particular focussing on skills, business models, standards and cybersecurity; update and enhancement of the structured wiki of the EFFRA Innovation portal accordingly

Identifying pathways to the industrial take-up of digital technologies and digital platforms: Development of the new pathways to support the transition to Data Based and Circular Economy in manufacturing; starting the development of a pathway for Artificial Intelligence in manufacturing; further analysis of the previously developed pathways.

Situating inspiring research and industrial state-of-the-art cases on these pathways: Through the launch and population of the ‘Digital Transformation Cases Catalogue’, a set of inspiring cases from European Innovation Actions (incl. DMP cluster projects) and from national and regional initiatives have been identified and described on the EFFRA Innovation portal

Stimulating the matching of skills transfer offering with skills demand across Europe: Extensive study of the future skills requirements when transforming to digital and circular manufacturing.

Engaging with the research and industrial actors : Despite the constraints imposed by the pandemic, the strong and well-functioning CF2 consortium has succeeded in engaging a broad network of industrial and research actors from all over Europe via online workshops on European and national level.

Increase collaboration and synergy between Industrial Platform projects: Facilitating webinars and workshops in strong co-operation with the DT-ICT-07-2018-2019 projects. Also other relevant projects and initiatives were brought into the clustering activities.

Generating a broad awareness: With help of the consortium and its networks and thorough EFFRA, awareness creation has been successful; meetings, discussions, working groups and information sharing using digital channels has been very active.

By the end of the project, ConnectedFactories has created a lively community and a rich variety of results. The results, incuding the deliverables and the presentations from the final event, are published on the project web site .
The expected impacts of the ConnectedFactories 2 CSA (CF2) respond to overall EC goals/policy and aims of the work programme in terms of (1) Enhancing leadership in platforms by supporting the development of a competitive offer of next generation manufacturing platforms (2) Stimulating stronger pan-European collaboration across initiatives and (3) Supporting the de-fragmentation of local, national, and European efforts. In particular, CF2 contributes to the forward-looking vision of EC on how the Commission help to accelerate digital transformation in traditional industries. CF2 also helps to broaden the view from digital and manufacturing aspects towards human factors and business models, in particular circular economy.

The CSA impacts the European manufacturing sector by (1) stimulating collaboration and building trust and confidence amongst all stakeholders (especially SMEs), (2) supporting industrial consensus and fostering the dialogue between suppliers and end-users (3) connecting to national manufacturing and digitalisation initiatives and (4) delivering practical tools (pathways with steps forward, analysis results and stimulating case examples) to support SMEs (5) highlighting SME-focused approaches and best practices (6) organising events with companies (7) enhancing the uptake of results developed by the relevant IAs in industry (8) link industry and standardisation bodies and identify gaps in standards for I4.0. Stakeholders’ needs have been assessed (in national and regional workshops and various other meetings and studies) and updated: potentially influencing the future focus of actions (innovation strategies, actions and funding, DIH services etc.). Report on Foresights and Recommendations of Digital Manufacturing Platforms for a Digital Europe.

The public and structured knowledge base developed in the ConnectedFacotories CSAs, serve as an information sharing system about technologies, best practices and inspiring cases. Connections to national and regional manufacturing and digitalisation initiatives (incl. DIHs) have been established through the 19 CF2 consortium partners in 14 member states. A common understanding (in the consortium and in broader networks) of e.g. data based business and circular economy transition, future technology and skills needs in manufacturing industries has been shaped. Insights from the CF2 have inspired and made available for several initiatives, in particular for EFFRA visions and Made In Europe PPP planning but also other partnerships (KDT) and DIHs (I4MS, SAE).

Through the DMP cluster (Digital Manufacturing Platform IA projects) thematic groups and various meetings (DMP cluster, bilateral, and broader network meetings) that CF2 has provided, the IA’s have stronger communication and more consistent understanding of the challenges. EFFRA portal and its updates offers visibility to the IA’s results

During the project span, the ConnectedFactories has achieved its objectives to create a community, structured understanding and practical tools around digital platforms in manufacturing. The impact of the project will be multiplied through the EFFRA activities and the innovation portal which play an important role in the dissemination of the results even after project end.