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Advanced Manufacturing as the engine of new businesses

Advanced Manufacturing as the engine of new businesses

IK4-IDEKO is taking part in a European Project that seeks to optimise the technology transfer of advanced manufacturing projects to the market

The industrial sector represents around 16% of European GDP and continues to be a key factor for innovation, productivity, growth and job creation as it employs more than 30 million people. In this context, the European Union has positioned Advanced Manufacturing among its strategic commitments in the R&D&I field, with initiatives such as Factories of the Future (FoF) which aim to achieve high performance, environmentally friendly and socially sustainable industries with a high technological profile.

Although the Factory of the Future projects achieve optimal results from the attaining of technological objectives perspective, the European Commission considers that they are below expectations as regards the manufacturing industry's assimilation of advances obtained, and it considers it key that project results have a real impact that generates sustainable growth, competitiveness, diversification and creates new jobs.

To respond to this challenge, the Basque technology centre IK4-IDEKO is taking part in the European project FOCUS, the purpose of which is to drive the association and collaboration of entities specialising in Advanced Manufacture to carry out initiatives together that will allow the exploitation to be optimised and enable efficient technology transfer to the business sector and the market. Eleven international partners and five sector clusters are participating in the initiative.

The first assessments of the exploitable results derived from the projects financed by the EC show that the consortiums that are developing the projects apply the achievements obtained. However, it is still difficult to identify actors outside the projects that have benefited from the results of this research.
To redress this situation, the FOCUS project seeks to tackle the weak points detected in the process of exploitation and technology transfer to the market, such as the absence of an organised route sheet, which would transfer the project results to the business sector, or the lack of dissemination of achievements obtained.

A new methodology

IK4-IDEKO's contribution to this project is to provide the methodology that will contribute to improving the dissemination and exploitation of the R&D&I results obtained during the project, as well as the study and viability of new business models.

At the same time, IK4-IDEKO will be responsible for driving the Zero Defects Manufacturing cluster, one of the 5 represented in FOCUS. IK4-IDEKO's work will consist of identifying the baseline of the technologies developed under this manufacturing paradigm and carrying out a series of interviews with experts. Throughout the project, the cluster leader must carry out technological surveillance of the possible advances that are being made in the study area. Thanks to IK4-IDEKO and its INTELSUITE initiative, the consortium can count on a software professional to carry out the technological surveillance.

The initiative, which officially started last 26 February, will provide proactive support for broadcasting project results and will underline the importance of dissemination actions. The intention is to communicate the results to industry by means of news bulletins, communication media and social networks, and work in corporation with organisations such as the European Factories of the Future  Research Association (EFFRA).

The partners involved in Focus are: NTNU (Norway), the University of Sheffield (United Kingdom), Delcam (United Kingdom), IK4-IDEKO (Spain), TECNALIA (Spain), Centro Ricerche Fiat (Italy), Philips Consumer lifestyle (Netherlands), Universidad Católica de Lovaina (Belgium), UNIPD (Italy), Fraunhofer IWU (Germany) and the Politecnico di Milano (Italy).

Furthermore, among the clusters taking part in the project are the already mentioned Zero Defect Manufacturing (4ZDM), Clean Factories, Robotics, High Precision Manufacturing (High Micro) and Maintenance and Support, actors that will provide experience and practices for defining methodologies that will improve industrial exploitation and implementation of FoF project results.