Industrial technologies and processes, the
key to growth
New Independent States (NIS) and Central Eastern
European Countries (CEEC) have huge scientific potential in many
fields of research such as engineering, physics, space applications
and applied mathematics. However, their research programmes need
strengthening in terms of industrial competitiveness, and must
address the needs of economies currently undergoing radical transformation.
With this in mind, INCO has three key objectives:
- to develop sustainable, clean technologies that are environmentally
more sensitive than previous production methods;
- to improve co-operation between science and industry, especially
with small and medium-sized enterprises;
- to produce strategies for crossing the divide between scientific
results and practical application in industry.
The whole process can be seen as a way to 'sharpen
up' industrial practices and to make production more efficient.
This is vital now that these economies are more outward looking
and have to catch up and compete with more advanced science and
technology sectors worldwide. Innovation must feed through from
research programmes to industry and INCO is helping with projects
that offer industry added value.
Precision pays dividends
Machine-tool industries in Eastern Europe
are currently working towards conformity with EU standards and
norms. To do this, certification is required and this is given
only after measurements are carried out with very accurate pieces
of equipment called laser interferometers. Unfortunately, this
equipment is very expensive. An INCO-Copernicus project has provided
an alternative by developing its own low-cost, compact interferometer.
The prototype has been successfully evaluated and production will
take place using three SME project partners from Poland, Belarus
Adding efficiency to industry
Businesses can gain a competitive advantage
in production by using Flexible Manufacturing Systems (FMS). Unfortunately,
many companies based in Eastern Europe cannot afford FMS or do
not have the technical expertise to master its complex software
requirements.Researchers from Belarus, Russia and France worked
together on an INTAS project to create an alternative FMS design
that delivers local solutions using a global perspective. The
project is not confined to the drawing board - specific applications
have been developed including Belarus Robomax software, used to
design robotic welding lines for the Russian automotive industry.