Digital Agenda for Europe
A Europe 2020 Initiative

Smart Manufacturing

Europe's competiveness depends on its capacity to deliver high-quality innovative products, and at low cost. The innovative part of these products often originates from advances in ICT.
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ICT-based solutions applied across the manufacturing process chain help to make manufacturing efficient. Both elements in combination allow for a more personalized, diversified and mass-produced product portfolio and flexible reaction to market changes.

Manufacturing is a major consumer of natural resources and energy. Resources are increasingly extracted through recycling, for which ICT technologies such as RFIDs (Radio Frequency Identification) and robotics are key enablers. The production process uses more and more digital innovations such as data capturing, planning and control, modelling and simulation, cloud computing and big data analysis.

Automation processes are designed and controlled by engineers, so a highly skilled workforce becomes a pre-condition for the success of these innovation processes. Investments in common platforms or modeling techniques have to be part of a longer term strategy, which aims to create the economies of scale Europe needs to remain competitive.

Today's manufacturing industries are concentrated along value chains in a smaller number of regions in Europe. Since less developed regions have little opportunity to participate in value creation, ICT allows the creation of 'virtual' value chains independently from geographical location, bringing in skilled labour from other regions, at lower cost.

The European strategy on smart specialization aims to strengthen the competitive advantages of EU regions in terms of ICT skills, R&D capability, industrial output and infrastructures while linking up similar strategies at regional & national levels, and offering incentives for growth and differentiation.

Last updated on 04/03/2015


Eldad Louw's picture
Eldad LOUW
While manufacturing is still one of the most important pillars of the European economy, contributing billions in GDP and providing millions of jobs, European manufacturers are facing increasing pressure on every level, especially from emerging markets like Asia. To stay competitive on a global level and ahead of other competitors European manufacturers have to produce the highest-quality products at the lowest possible cost;
Marta Anna Bulik's picture
Marta Anna BULIK
What is behind the words of Smart Factory and why is it lately so important and one of the top priority within the European policy? Only, on a global level, competitive European manufacturing industry can bring us to a stable European economy. There are currently several R&D projects supported by the EU 7th Framework programme, showing a big success in the research in order to support the development and innovation of the new enabling technologies for the EU manufacturing sector.
Max Lemke's picture
Commission is contributing € 77 million from its Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) to an innovation initiative for the manufacturing sector aiming at strengthening the competitiveness of European high-tech small and medium size enterprises
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